Athena's Lament

Stefan Skripak

“Athena's Lament” is a light art sculpture that critiques the continually defended colonialist art collections of major western museums by visualizing the way in which an art objects aura leeches from it while being forcibly kept from its country of origin.


This piece is a 15x15in wall-mounted replica of a section of the frieze from the upper section of the Parthenon building in Athens Greece. It is currently being held in the British Museum collection despite the dubious means of its acquisition and continued requests by the Greek government for its return. The model file itself was made available by the British Museum, but with certain restrictions. By taking this model and then algorithmically glitching it, I have attempted to represent the way in which this object’s captivity (both physically and within the British Museum’s digital oversight) has corrupted it and allowed the incredible works aura and spirit to leech out. The glitch pattern comes specifically from clusters of 3D pixels which each represent the passing of one week since the object was first removed from Greece in 1812. To further represent the soul of this work and its significance to Greek history and culture, the light emanating from the glitched cracks is generated by a low-resolution video of the Greek landscape.


Designing for Digital Fabrication, Light as a Medium of Art: Ways of Seeing Now