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Jonathan Monaghan, Animator

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Photography: Fatima Qassim
Report: Rana Ghuloom

On Wednesday the 25th of October 2011, the American Studies Center was visited by Jonathan Monaghan. Mr. Brad Niemann, the head of Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy introduced Monaghan. As a child Monaghan had always been fond of video games which drew him to his current profession. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in computer graphics from the New York Institute of Technology and then went on to receive his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Maryland. Both the Hirshorn Museum in Washington D.C and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam have screened Monaghan’s animations. Monaghan is also the artist in residence at MakerBot Industries.

In his visit to the American Studies Center, Monaghan presented the “Maker-Bot”, a fascinating 3-D printer. This printer allows people to design their own items at home and simply print, i.e. manufacture, them. The Maker-Bot is also very affordable; it is light weight and can be placed on a desk. Monaghan explained that with the Industrial Revolution and the rise of assembly line production, consumer products lost their originality and personal touch. This 3-D printer is therefore a revolutionary idea which allows consumers to be both consumer and producer, as it allows them to design their own products and make them at home, instead of going to the store to purchase a ready-made product.

Although most 3-D printers cost a great deal of money, the Maker-Bot is very affordable, explained Monaghan. Around 10,000 3-D items are also all available online to download for free through the Thingiverse website. The Maker-Bot serves as a tool for animators and artists that allows them to develop and extend their skills. This tool empowers individuals to do things through technology without requiring much money; it is certainly where the manufacturing industry seems to be heading.

The Maker-Bot can be to produce for many kinds of projects. Monaghan showed a video of how after scanning the head of Stephen Colbert, the famous American satirist and comedian, and printing it using the Maker-Bot, the makers were successful of sending it about 80,000 feet into space!

Monaghan designed the letters “ASC” using the 3-D software and then printed them with the Maker-Bot on the spot for the students to keep. He concluded his presentation by answering questions about the various practical applications available to users of the Maker-bot.

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