Lilia Ziamou

The Affective Portrait

A 3D printed sculpture that incorporates the patron's emotional response.


The goal of the Affective Portrait project is to create 3D printed sculptures that involve the patrons in the creation process and the artwork itself. Specifically, each patron’s emotional response to one of sculptures from my portfolio will be assessed and captured using a Galvanic Skin Response sensor. The patrons’ emotional response will be then incorporated into a 3D digital model of the sculpture that will be 3D printed.

The Affective Portrait project reflects my interest in an audience of one, that will allow me to create a singular experience and artwork that is unique and personal, the way a portrait is.

The Patron/Artist Collaboration: Cultural patronage / Italian Renaissance

Nelson, J. and R. Zeckhauser (2008), “The Patron’s Payoff: Conspicuous Commissions in Italian Renaissance Art”, Princeton University Press.
Bernini's Rome:

User-centric product design and development


User Scenario
A description of my process below:
1. The artwork is commissioned. Patrons select a sculpture from my portfolio and/or a studio visit.
2. I scan the sculpture selected by the patron to create a digital model.
3. A thirty-minute meeting is scheduled, during which the patron interacts with the sculpture s/he has chosen. S/he is asked to explore the form and surface of the sculpture by touching it. S/he can talk to me during the process and/or think aloud. During this process, I use a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensor that measures the patron’s emotional arousal via skin conductance. GSR is one of the key observables that correlate with affect and was chosen in this project because it captures a person's physiological arousal to a stimulus s/he is interacting with -i.e., the sculpture, and because this type of response is spontaneous and unfiltered.
4. I then work with the digital model using ZBrush, to modify its geometry, while keeping its overall form, in order to transform its surface and incorporate the data –i.e., the patron’s emotional response captured by the sensor- to further modify it. The final artwork is a 3D printed sculpture that incorporates the patron’s emotional response and the original sculpture the patron interacted with.

- Stone sculptures I hand-carved
- 3D printed sculptures made of high-performance composite powder and binder

- The process is very involving for the patron.
- The interface of the sensor does not matter. Based on user testing, I realized that the experience and especially the fact that their own data were part of the piece is all that mattered. "This would be mine" was consistently mentioned in all tests.
- Next steps: need to give more control to the owner, allow for more impact.