Project Description

Project Detail


Every human being is composed of a set of elements, some visible and other invisible ones, that contributes to define its specific identity. Over the centuries, science explored all these aspects, constantly overcoming the boundaries of what was previously considered invisible and unknown, for example our body. The discovery of  DNA structure, generated a form/image capable of describing our organism operations. A new representation of man, a “biological portrait”.  A perpetual discovery of this kind of images contributed to redefine our identity. Every time these new representations emerge they show the existence of connections between them: mathematical rules, evolution of biological forms, transmission of culture, representations of archetypes and the unconscious. Today, thanks to digital technology, we are able to visualize our virtual activities, our network, therefore, our “virtual impact ”, that is the ability to influence the real world through the virtual world. For this reason, we have a new image to describe, a new aspect of the contemporary man which is the concept of the SO.MA project. 

GENE/DNA – Anatomy

The gene is the fundamental hereditary unit of every living organisms. Inside our genes are contained information about the aspect of the all parts of our organism and his behaviour. It represents the biological description of the human being.

MEME – Culture

The evolutionist R. Dawkin in 1976 guessed that information and culture (as melodies, tales, building methods, etc.) are transmitted over time from one mind to the others following the biological laws that rule the evolution of living organism. The meme is an entity made of information and represents the same thing the gene is for genetics.

MANDALA – Unconscious

Mandala in Sanskrit means “magic circle”. According to some cultures his contemplation is able to instil calm and inner peace.  The psychoanalyst C. G. Jung used to make his patients draw it during his sessions. It represented the “collective unconscious”, the set of shapes handed down by all populations and cultures from time immemorial.

SO.MA. – Connections

  1. MA is a name created to indicate the artistic representations that today we can obtain from our social and virtual activities. The term uses the firsts letters of “SOcial MApping” and at the same time recalls the Greek root “soma” that means “body”, in order to generate continuous intertwines of meaning between our corporal and virtual identities.

Thanks to social networks, our relationships today have a digital dimension that is often even wider, and evolves faster, than the real one. Data concerning our connections are easily available to all of us and can generate beautiful visualization that graphically shows how the network is organized and internally interconnected. The whole set of snap-shots of the time evolution of a digital network has a fascinating similarity with in-vitro growth of biological organisms like molds, that SO.M.A wants to tell though an original three dimensional picture tailored for every different user. Digital artistic visualizations become tangible tanks to 3D print technology and are collected inside Petri dishes to be an updateable design installation for the house.

  1. Network download: The web platform allows to easily order your SO.M.A in three steps. Log with your Facebook account to download a .gdf file containing your network information.
  2. Chose viz: Chose what kind of visualization do you prefer between “Force Atlas”, “Fruchterman Reingold” and “Yifan Hu” and the range of colours.
  3. Upload: Upload the .gdf file just downloaded
  4. Send it to Fablab: the nearest Fablab receives your order and realizes the visualization requested throw the open source software Gephi.
  5. Algorithmic 3D modelling: The vectorial visualization is inputted into a Grasshopper algorithm to be immediately transformed in a virtual 3D model.
  6. 3D Print: the 3D model is printed with a Makerbot/Ultimaker, or any equivalent rapid prototyping machine.
  7. Petri dish: The 3D printed network is put inside the Petri dish and becomes your SO.MA.
  8. Shipment: SO.M.A is sent form the Fablab directly to your house
  9. Delivery: You can immediately add your last SO.M.A to your collection.


Lorenzo Massimiano

Andrea Galli

Elnaz Ghazi