Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Oscar Whale: surface design

Whilst I'm sure there are still many talented designers that I've not come across, I've been occupied lately by reviews and photographs of the many graduate shows that have been happening across disciplines and across the country.

Oscar Whale graduates from the LCC Surface Design degree with a fine collection of nature-inspired visuals on camping themed items. The dreamy palette of marbled prints is really interesting; as is the military vibe of those amazing bucket hats. Really want one.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

'Digital Grotesque' 3D Printed Architecture

From here

"80 million surfaces generated using 3D modeling software and mesh-based digital language have resulted in a series of 3D printed complex architectural objects by michael hansmeyer and benjamin dillenburger. entitled 'digital grotesque,' the work will culminate in a full scale printed room launching july 22nd; however, a 1:3 scale prototype premiered in the swiss art awards this week in basel, switzerland. the prototypes show a regard for both material sensitivity and the limits of technologically manipulated form-- millions of grains of sand bind together to create a new typology of sandstone and subsequently treated to be glazed and gilded. drawing from the algorithmic confines of the game of life and cell division, a set of simple geometries met with minimal parameters begets a highly involved form. the result is rich, shimmering composition ridden with impossible undercuts and a transcendental sense of the limits of technology. the term grotesque is derived from the unplanned complexities of a water-shaped grotto, itself a naturally occurring architecture long regarded for the uncanny presence of human-sized spaces in various landscapes. while hansmeyer and his lab in ETH zurich have long explored the confluence of algorithms, control systems and technology, the project works with the basic architectural idea of a room and injects an unprecedented sense of wonder into tectonics once held unchanging."

In addition, the binding together of  billions of grains of sand in 'Digital Grotesque' has much in common with the forming involved in the world's largest sand sculpture festival which has just kicked off in Blankenberge, Belgium.

Taking 3D Printed Artwork Seriously

Over the last few weeks, I've had problems coming to terms with accepting much of what is labelled '3D Printed Art' as art. There are many complicated reasons for the objections - all of which illustrate serious changes and developments in art (historical) vocabulary and terms of concept. Notions of objecthood, craft and skill, along with originality and replication all seem to be questioned by the introduction of a creative application of this new industrial production technology; it is interesting but scary at the same time.
In an attempt to get to grips with these complex changes, I'm going to look at and try to think about different 3D print 'artists' and their work from an art historical perspective - if possible. I'm going to try and makes links between this new, ambitious area of creative production and the kind of work I feel familiar with and comfortable discussing. In this way, I hope not only to discover and appreciate a group of art-makers that are new to me, but to somehow manage to work them into my own art-historical understanding alongside every other different creative media.

My initial problem with 3D printed 'art' is precisely that I'm not sure that it is art at all. What I mean when I say this is that the intention for making doesn't always seem to be artistic; much of the beautiful 3D printed work that I've recently come across seems to have its academic roots in either architecture or design, and for this reason, the 'sculpture' outcome often looks like an investigation of form or a prototype rather than a discrete piece of art in itself.
With this in mind, my other problem with the work is that it all falls under a stereotyped visual - that is to say that it so obviously looks 3D printed as it conforms to a very particular aesthetic. Mostly, this aesthetic is 'the organic': studies into naturally occurring structures such as coral, feathers, bones, crystals, sand dunes and other organic forms are used as the formal basis of the work - the creations of Daniel Widrig (below) are a good example.

As a result, it is hard to know what original ideas the work can possibly investigate. Suddenly, this category of artistic making seems incredibly limited: if 3D printing relies on its three dimensional form as a specific characteristic of the 'genre', how can an artist create a fully original shape?

It is clear that there are many serious problems for the artist -maker and the art historian to work through as a result of this exciting new technology.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Lauren Pelc-McArthur: Digital Painting and LC:M

These interesting applications of program and paint are by artist Lauren Pelc-McArthur. Her 'Digital Painting' series (of which there are five) seem to be occupied by juxtapositions and experience: the tactile versus the flat monitor plane; the individual versus the repetition of endless tumblr-aesthetic scrolling,; the choice and decision of the program drop-down menu. Overwhelming colour and print overload certainly make this work visually appealing - indeed, almost hyper-real.

Particular aspects of what Pelc-McArthur is doing here (in terms of design) seem to have overlapped with much of what went down at LC:M in the last few days:

Degrade (evident in the background of her 'paintings') appears to be important for the next few months of trend - which can be seen here in work by Richard James and Shaun Samson. The palette of artificial pastel hues shares much with the previously mentioned artworks.

 In addition, computer-generated, other-worldly print features were recognised throughout the shows; these examples by Katie Eary and Kay Kwok seem to offer a subtle, post-futuristic nod towards the kind of investigations made by Pelc-McArthur in her 'Digital Paintings'. (Images via WGSN tumblr)

I get really excited when I see cross-over between creative disciplines. All of the visuals mentioned here remind me of my own artistic 'tumblr-aesthetic' investigation (here and here); that certain homogenised look of something being made on a program at some point in the mid ninties - slightly trippy, artificial, hyper-real, but investigatory none the less. Interestingly - as these designers have proved - Menswear can be an ideal platform for the visual development of such ideas.

Pelc-McArthur's video work further explores these ideas in space - similar to my research investigating contemporary landscape last month:
"...about interconnectivity through technology and exploring hypothetical visualizations of these digital realms through painting, 3D animation, and collage. I am particularly interested in recreating scan glitches and digital brush strokes with oil paint." Pelc-McArthur

Hands-on Art History

Through a Scanner, Skulpturhalle is a very simple project by a man called Cosmo Wenman, who simply wants to share some of art history's most classical works.
By 3D scanning a collection of high-quality plaster cast ancient Greek and Roman sculptures and 'publishing' them online as open source data, anyone (effectively) can own a 3D print of them. This has some simple but exciting prospects for the teaching of art history in schools and museums; perhaps a three dimensional replica of a great sculptural masterpiece will allow for a greater depth of appreciation - particualrly from younger people

Whilst such a concept very clearly illustrates the effective application of 3D printing in the creative education sectors, the project (for me) highlights the question of how truly original we can be with 3D printing when its best use seems to be replication.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Se Hang Kang: The value of 'handmade'

I went to the Fine Art Degree show at uni today, which is called £383,911.73. The show was pretty extensive, but there were only a few pieces that I liked.

One of these pieces was by Se Hang Kang, who created an interesting work called Singing Stones. The theoretical background for the piece developed from a consideration of the interconnections evident within Buddist philosophy, but more simply, Kang was mostly interested in creating art that could be given away. Lined along shelves covering one end of the exhibition wall, there were easily over one hundred individually made 'sculptures' which incorporated a variety of really tangible, colourful materials: beads, marbles, plastic foliage, and sequins had all been intricately pressed into twists of an organically-formed, foam material to create a large mass of beautiful objects. The viewer was asked to take one away with them, and I was really excited to choose which one I wanted to keep. By inviting the viewer to pick one, Kang set up a situation that encouraged a real study and appreciation of her created objects - I ended up walking up and down in front of her work for about twenty minutes trying to pick my own art.

Singing Stones is a generous piece in which a lot of time was clearly invested by Kang. However, my enjoyment of the work has certainly been heightened by considering her handmade work along side a new kind of art being created by a new kind of technology: yesterday, Makerbot was sold in a deal worth an estimated $403 million, which can only illustrate the importance of 3D printed production (throughout various industries) in the future. The application of this new kind of making within the arts has already posed some deeply important questions regarding the role of the artist in the creation of their art. With this in mind, Kang's work puts into perspective the value we still attribute to a handmade, perhaps even craft-based art that can be given away and owned - and it is the worry of many people within the creative industries that this crucial aspect of 'creating' may be lost through tech such as 3D printing.

Of course, there are some beautiful examples of 3D printed artworks. Arguably, the skill required to created a CAD designed sculpture is just as technical and potentially complex as the individual creation of 'sculptures' like Kang's, however, the real question here is where we hold the value. As previously mentioned, we still love and appreciate the material, handmade artifact. But I predict a development in this kind of appreciation - a change that will hopefully happen in sync with our ever-developing creative technologies.

He's impressed


I got a 1st in my dissertation. YES!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

LOVE: Phoebe Philo

via LOVE magazine

'Irreversible Noise'

'Irreversible Noise', Inigo Wilkins, as part of the Pavilion programme
26th May, 6 - 8pm, Mexico Project Space, Leeds

Can everything be then seen as a rhythm, a pattern that is beyond our comprehension, and exists independently of our knowledge of it?
Inigo Wilkins is a transdisciplinary researcher at the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College and is addressing predictability, auditory cognition, topology and computation in relation to noise and music. He is a fellow working at Mute magazine and the Post Media Lab at L√ľneburg University.
I'm not going to try and explain the structure or separate points mentioned in the sophisticated and highly complex thesis being developed as an academic project by Inigo Wilkins. Fractality, entropy, pathological compulsion, epistemology, inference, neural functionality, patterns, consequence, action, abductive cognition, systems, aesthesis, perception, gesture and communication where all highly relevent themes; needless to say, the lecture was fascinating, if (at times, owing to terminology) a little difficult to follow.
I'm a huge supporter of transdisciplinary methods of approaching problems and concepts, and for Wilkins, such a method was perfectly applied to the concepts of both 'irreversibility' and 'noise'. Through his talk, Wilkins created an interface and access point for musicians, artists, technologists, anthropologists and philosophers to come together in an attempt to deconstruct these terms - and the resulting investigation was brilliant. It was evident that Wilkins was in the depths of his research; no question was left ambiguous, and the thorough delivery of each section of the presentation was important, allowing us to follow his carved-out line of thought. What was most impressive was Wilkins' knowledge of each of the fields of research and investigation mentioned within the discussion - the transdiciplinary academic has no choice but to specialize in multiple areas of academia in order to fully understand the concept being explored, which certainly can be challenging.
In my opinion, this approach to learning reflects changes in the systems and networks by which we now operate: digital humanities are changing the way we think and operate in the digital age. Although for many members of the audience Wilkins' approach was overwhelming, it is exciting to me that through a single investigation, connection can be made between multiple subjects.
For more information, see the links below:

LC:M summary

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dries Van Noten croc Sandals

Dat tread...

AAH e-interview

I've been featured on AAH (Association of Art Historians) as part of an e-interview project which hopes to promote contemporary art historical practice:

RCA MA 2013

Marlon Rueberg / George Tsioutsias
Moment between 0:31 and 0:38 was enjoyable.

Fabric tech: Synthetic Spider Silk

Aside from system development in the fashion industry, perhaps the next big trend is/will be the incorporation of really clever fabric - like Qmonos:

"Qmonos is a tough, lightweight artificial spider silk with mass production applications, including everything from car parts to artificial blood vessels. […] Spiber, a startup in northern Japan, is showing off a dress made from synthetic spider silk. The firm is one of several groups looking into how to make and use artificial spider silk, a task that has proven to be very challenging for scientists.The electric-blue dress was created from a material Spiber calls Qmonos (from kumonosu, or “spider web,” in Japanese). The material is extremely strong and more flexible than nylon. […] The company, a spinoff from Tokyo’s Keio University, has applied for 16 patents on its spider silk know-how. It is also teaming up with auto parts maker Kojima Industries to build a plant that can turn out about 220 pounds of the synthetic silk a month. Spiber hopes to have an initial mass production of 10 tons a year starting in 2015."

If this slightly epic intro film is anything to go by, the developers are hoping that Qmonos will be accessible to and known by all of us through a wide variety of industries. The dress looks really beautiful, too. And its 5 times stronger than steel.