Ka Lun Chan: Pinocchio’s Thumb

Ka Lun Chan: Pinocchio’s Thumb

by Ka Lun Chan. MFA D+T Candidate. Year 1: Spring 2015.


Seeing glitch as an unexpected bug in my personal life event(s).

2015-03-08 21.20.11


Pinocchio’s Thumb is a sculpture illustrating the glitch (unexpected events) in my relationship for the REFRAG:Glitch festival.
It all started with a recent picture with my ex-boyfriend’s thumb in his ex-girlfriend’s instagram where I realised he is cheating on me.
With my own thumbs and fingers tapping my phone and laptop, I revealed more and more glitches in this relationship.

Thumb plays an important role in Pinocchio’s Thumb because it is the origin that triggered the realisation of the glitch in this relationship. It is also a mediation to different sources which leads to an expose to more glitches in our relationship.
Thumb itself has a lot of meanings which ironically contrasted to Pinocchio’s Thumb.
One would stamp the fingerprint of their thumbs as a promise, commitment and identification. One would thumbs up to praise or encourage one another.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 13.43.44

The design of Pinocchio’s Thumb is a time lapse of my ex-boyfriend’s thumb where it gradually went off track (where in a Chinese saying as cheating as well). Similar to how Pinocchio’s nose would grow longer when he lies, his thumb was extending as time goes on and literally lying every second…  I also added my own thumb and fingers to illustrate as time runs, I reveal more glitches in our relationship.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 13.45.50


After a Rhino5 introduction tutorial with David Pergier, I tried to explore more about 3D sculpting with Rhino5.
Initially I was trying to use the technique and tools I learnt from Dave to create a finger that has the exact same features as my ex-boyfriend. Due to the complexity in creating a finger from scratch, I took Dave’s advice and sourced 3D thumb model.
With the help from Johan da Silveira from l’ENSCI and my friend Aaron Lehr, I learnt more technique and tools to sculpt thumbs and fingers.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 23.25.19 copy

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One technical glitch comes from the 3D printing part with MakerBot, it went off track, wasn’t printing properly and just printed the base of Pinocchio’s Thumb.

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Please keep checking for any update :)))


Update on Apr 11 ’15

I have tried to 3D print once the MakerBot was fixed at school. However there were so technical glitch and somehow the middle point wasn’t printed nicely, it seems like it is missing something half way through, but I will still let it keep printing.

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Update on Apr 12 ’15

What a big surprise when I left the MakerBot printing Pinocchio’s Thumb overnight!

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I actually like how glitchy it got. We have a Chinese metaphor of hair as source of vexation, worry or frustration. Looking at how much tangled hair Pinocchio’s Thumb surprisingly got, it reminds me of the tangled relationship and the frustrations and struggles I had whenever my ex-boyfriend sounded suspicious when we were still together (the fact that he was already cheating).

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So I then started another printing, to see if it would have a similar result or a clean version of Pinocchio’s Thumb.

Update on Apr 14 ’15 

2015-04-14 17.27.20I did a second printing and it printed better, but still it got a glitch on printing a few layers like the first one. Ivan, the director of technology at Parsons Paris suggested that it might be the change of room temperature when someone tries to open other door at the MakerBot printing room.

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However, I still like the first printing because it carries more symbolic meaning and added layers to my project.
Hence I decided to spray paint it in white – that love was supposed to be innocent and love, but the white paint is just an optical illusion, the core (pink) inside is the true colour and couldn’t be concealed even with layers and layers of innocent paint.

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Update on Apr 23 ’15

Thank you so much Debra Thimmesch for such a well written article aboutPinocchio’s Thumb on 3dprint.com. I am so tempted to steal her words to put them in my portfolio!