From “terrorist threat” to work of art, the world’s first 3D-printed gun is bought by London’s V&A museum.
After outcry over the hazards over the manufacturing of the world’s first 3D-printed gun but also about the availability of blueprints for the guns online, London’s Victoria and Albert museum of art and designed has decided to purchase the two printed guns made by Texan law student Cody Wilson. The guns will be a part of the museum’s Design Festival. Purchased through the Design Fund to Benefit the V&A, the purchase strays far away from the pieces of furniture the fund has been used for in the past.
Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, released the blueprints for the Liberator gun online. The US government then forced Wilson to remove the blueprints from the internet. The gun has sparked debate over manufacturing technologies and internet sharing. Senator Chuck Schumer called Wilson a “terrorist,” and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence described Wilson as a “hardcore insurrectionist.”
The V&A purchased the guns because of the intense debate. “Ugly and sinister objects demand the museum’s attention just as much as beautiful and beneficial ones do,” Kieran Long, the V&A’s senior curator of contemporary architecture wrote in a column. “Museums should be topical, responding quickly to world events when they touch our areas of expertise.”
Wilson was pleased to see the V&A treat the gun as an “incendiary political symbol.” “I don’t see it as an art project, but it has an artistic sensibility about it,” Wilson told Forbes. “It’s kind of demonstration, proof of the direction of our technical future.”