Using digital modelling, I carved an image of my face into a scan of the head of the Colossus of Constantine, a 30 metre high statue of Constantine the Great, emperor of Rome from AD 306 – 337. This composite was printed with a 3D printer, moulded in silicone and cast in sugar. The recutting of the emperor’s face into mine refers to the use of spolia during his reign, a repurposing of architectural elements to create new constructions, notably in the Arch of Constantine. Not only a way to save resources, but also a political statement: material taken from the “good emperors” of the past links the new user with their “strength, virtue and martial accomplishments.”
Quotes describing the use of spolia are central elements in the reading performance Sweet (2020). The sugar head, seating and an oak-optic replica of the lectern used in the initial performance were installed in the Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, for a second rendition in 2022.