Art from code - Generator.x
Generator.x is a conference and exhibition examining the current role of software and generative strategies in art and design. [Read more...]
Archive for July, 2007
Kenji Hirata: Misaho (Endless) / Fretless Bass Solo

Kenji Hirata: Misaho (painting) / Fretless Bass Solo (CNC-milled object)

For the exhibition Project to Surface five artists were invited to translate their visual work into three-dimensional objects through digital fabrication. Collaborating with architects from SHoP and specialists from Associated Fabrication, the works were conceptualized in 2D and modelled in 3D for production using a 3-axis CNC milling machine. The result: Five unique visions of 2D becoming 3D.

David Diao, KAWS and Matzu-MTP all created objects using forms from their visual practice. Diao created a model of a streamlined vintage trailer, while KAWS’ piece is a school chair with a monster mouth and eyes. Matzu-MTP’s giant toy bird was made to look like it has been assembled from a plastic modelling kit.

Leah Raintree: Bloomfield

Leah Raintree: Sketch on paper (detail) / Bloomfield (CNC-milled panel, detail)

Of the five artists, Kenji Hirata and Leah Raintree come closest to their normal 2D work. Hirata’s colorful 2D forms here become a layered bas-relief in stark black and white, reminiscent of forms from Art Deco. His work becomes strangely imposing in this 3D incarnation, an interesting contrast to the friendly dream-like quality of his paintings.

Raintree started out with sketches of intricate flower-like shapes, which were then sliced into 3D layers and extruded into a topological landscape that spreads over four panels. The CNC process was used to draw the lines of the sketch into the surface, recreating the graphic complexity of the sketches as surface detail.

Except for David Diao’s trailer, all the works in the show were produced in Corian, a so-called solid surface material. Corian is well-suited for CNC milling, and gives a solid feel to the objects while also providing a consistency of look and feel. Presumably, there was a conscious decision not to add graphic treatments to the objects after the CNC process. Such treatments could have served to bring the pieces closer in line with the artists’ other work, but in their absence the viewer is forced to consider the objects purely as 3D form.

Interestingly, the material qualities of Corian also reinforce the artificial nature of the works. Not quite plastic and not quite stone, the objects remain other and unapproachable, their smooth whiteness implying that they might be prototypes or scientific reproductions. Rather than making the work feel sterile, this quality adds tension and mystery. This is perhaps the greatest success of the project.

Named after a modelling function in the 3D software Rhinoceros, Project to Surface is the brainchild of architect Ben Krone and curator team Dream So Much. It is currently on display in a temporary gallery at m127, a new development by SHoP Architects.

See the Project to Surface web site for more details. See Flickr for more images.

Update: The erratica blog has another write-up of the show with more pictures.


Currently on display at the Espeis gallery in Williamsburg, Tropism is a collaboration between New York product design studio Commonwealth and generative artist Joshua Davis. Inspired by the endless variations of form in the plant world, they have worked together to create a series of computer-designed vases imprinted with generative graphics.

For his images, Joshua Davis first created a library of elements by sampling shapes from an old book on floral mechanics. He then recombined these into complex organic compositions using a generative algorithm. A selection of the resulting images were either printed or output digitally as ceramic paint transfers, ready for application to the physical objects.

Influenced by the perforated ceramics of Edmond Lachenal, Commonwealth used Maya to produce a curved and perforated model using surface subdivision. A stereolithographic (SLA) 3D print of the model was then output to create a mould for casting. The finished vases were produced by Boehm Porcelain, with Davis’ images being applied to the the vases during the firing process.

Tropism: Commonwealth vs. Joshua Davis

Joshua Davis w/ Zoe Coombes & David Francisco Boira of Commonwealth / Prints

The final result is a series of one-off objects that are at once high-tech and organic. Their smooth curves and unconventional form signal their origin in digital processes, but the tactility of the porcelain counteracts any sense of sterile techno-fetishism. Davis’ organic forms creep and crawl over the surface of the vases, reenforcing the link to natural processes.

The vases are available in a limited run of 21, each featuring a unique motif by Joshua Davis. The large-scale prints on paper shown in the exhibition are also for sale. Contact Maxalot for information about available works.

The "Vs." series is curated by Max Akkerman and Lotje Sodderland of Barcelona gallery Maxalot. The series has so far featured Commonwealth collaborations with Kenzo Minami and Michael C. Place of Build. Upcoming is an exhibiton of Commonwealth vs. Matt Pyke of Universal Everything.

Relevant links


Berlin-based sister festivals Transmediale and Club Transmediale 2008 have just posted their call for entries:

transmediale.08 Conspire … & club transmediale.08 Unpredictable
Together, transmediale and club transmediale invite the submission of works and projects for the festival 2008. Submissions for both festivals participate in the transmediale Award 2008, for which an international jury will award prizes totalling ca. 10 000 EUR. Abstracts and papers for a proposed Vilém Flusser Theory Award are also being invited. [...]

Deadline: 7 September 2008
URL: Transmediale 2008 Call for Entries

Transmediale will be back at its old venue, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, with a new director replacing Andreas Broeckmann. It will be interesting to see what new direction (if any) the festival takes as a result of the change.

Meanwhile, we are hoping to do a new Generator.x symposium in collaboration with Club Transmediale 2008, but it’s a little too early to confirm. If it happens details will be posted here. Cross your fingers…