Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms (slideshow of “gx30″ tag on Flickr)
Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms
Feb 18-26, 2012 at iMal, Brussels
The Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms workshop at iMAL, Brussels culminated last Friday in an exhibition of works created during the week. As expected there is a wide range of works and expressions, from Makerbot’ted data sculptures (Frederik Vanhoutte, Andrej Boleslavsky, Katerina Konstantopoulos + Erato Choli) to distorted 3D scanned objects (Matthew Plummer-Fernandez) and parametric paper folding (Julien Deswaef).
For a complete overview of the workshop and its results, take a look at the Flickr tag “GX30″ which currently covers over 1000 uploads. Another important resource is iMAL’s wiki site Wikimal, which includes source code and tutorials published in connection with the workshop. Some participants have also published their own source code, such as Corneel Cannaert’s release of his Processing code to directly output G-code for Makerbot control.
In conclusion: Like Generator.x 2.0 before it, Generator.x 3.0 proved that the combination of generative strategies with digital fabrication continues to be a fruitful field for creative inquiry. We have only begun to scratch the surface of what is made possible by applying parametric modeling and data-driven processes to the imagining of objects and spatial structures.
Again, we’d like to thank iMAL for the invitation to collaborate on this project, which would not have been possible without the infrastructure and know-how that iMAL provided. But most importantly we’d like to thank all the workshop participants for getting in a room together and sharing of their experience. One of the real privileges of the Generator.x workshops on digital fabrication has been to bring artists, architects and designers together to see what can be learnt by juxtaposing their various fields of knowledge.
iMAL: Yves Bernard, Yannick Antoine, Marie-Laure Delaby and Greg Alveolis.
Workshop participants: Stéphane Perraud, Corneel Cannaerts BE, Hans Verhaegen, Jan Vantomme, Bert Balcaen + Ingrid Stojnic, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Frederik Vanhoutte, Julien Deswaef, Katerina Konstantopoulos + Erato Choli, Frederik De Bleser + Lieven Menschaert, Jihyun Kim, Korea, Andrej Boleslavsky and Andreas Kahler.
Workshop coordinator: Marius Watz.
Below is a Twitter feed of tweets from Generator.x 3.0 participants. It’s perhaps a little late in the game considering that the Generator.x 3.0 workshop is on its next-to-last day, but still of interest in the runup to the exhibition which opens Friday 18:00 at iMAL, Brussels.
It’s been a full week of coding and fabricating, with some machine trouble underways but a great crew of people with interesting ideas. The Makerbots have been running constantly, with charming results. Documentation will be posted on Flickr, previews can already be found on iMAL’s photostream.
Thanks in particular to Yves, Marie-Laure and Yannick for being the excellent hosts of iMAL, and a special thanks to Greg for keeping the machines running.
Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms
Feb 18-26, 2012 at iMal, Brussels
Marius Watz: Form Studies (Makerbot)
Announcing Generator.x 3.0: From Code to Atoms, a workshop and exhibition focusing on digital fabrication and generative systems. This event is an evolution of Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen, which took place in Berlin during Club Transmediale 2008. Generator.x 3.0 is produced by iMAL in collaboration with Marius Watz.
Context: Digital fabrication drastically changes manufacturing by democratizing access to industrial tools as well as changing the way objects are produced, opening the door for the on-demand creation of bespoke objects. Combined with the “craft” of code it becomes possible to directly connect parametric software processes to an instant manufacturing workflow, turning bits into atoms and introducing a paradigm that is radically different from traditional 3D modeling.
Generative systems shift the focus from static models towards a computational logic – what Bruce Sterling calls processuality. Here objects are understood as mere instances of a family of forms, produced by a specific interaction of parameters. Such forms may be data-driven or created through interactive means, adapting to conditions coded into the system. The artist becomes a “gardener” of possible forms, harvesting desirable results in an iterative process of coding and prototyping.
Workshop format: Participants will be chosen from a call for projects, with a focus on experience combining coding practices with digital fabrication. We will have large and powerful laser cutter machine on site, as well as several low-cost 3D Printers (Makerbots). The main software tool will be Processing (http://www.processing.org), but we also welcome users of other coding tools like VVVV, PD or OpenFrameworks.
The workshop will be hands-on and geared towards producing projects ready for exhibition at the end of the project. Participants will be expected to be familiar with code and generative strategies. There will be short tutorials demonstrating certain techniques, but the main focus is on the participants’ own independent work.
Call for projects: Submit projects or concepts for consideration through the online form on the iMAL web site.
Support: Generator.x 3.0 is produced by iMAL, and is made possible by the support of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, and our sponsors Hackable-devices (Paris and Ghent) and i.materialise.
Leander Herzog – Sound object (data.matrix, Ryoji Ikeda), 2010
Laser cut plastic
The human ear perceives sound as an intangible presence, produced by vibrations travelling through a physical medium (air, water, even solids). Recorded sound is produced by measuring these vibrations for later reproduction by mechanical means. What we experience as harmony and rhythm appears to the computer as a one-dimensional number sequence.
Leander Herzog’s data sculptures perpetuate this disregard of the emotional dimension of music, looking at the sound input simply as a frozen space of random-access data. Herzog replicates this data stream by perforating plastic ribbons at intervals matching amplitude measurements, producing ornate collections of short and long loops. The result is a curious data artifact, numerically correct but completely disconnected from its own origin as sound.
This text is taken from the NODE10 catalogue, written by Eno Henze and Marius Watz and edited by Valérie-Françoise Vogt. Please read the introductory curator text for an overview of the exhibition topic.
Andy Huntington/ Drew Allan: Cylinder (”Seahorses”, “Designed”, “Market”)
Cylinder by Andy Huntington and Drew Allan is an elegant series of data sculpture based on sound analysis. A mapping of the frequency and time domains produces cylindrical forms representing the spatial characteristics of the sound input. Physical versions of the digital 3D models are then 3D printed using stereolithography.
The idea of mapping sound to space is not unfamiliar. The Cylinder project shows similar strategies to those used in the exhibition Frozen, which showed sound represented as a continous space rather than as a one-dimensional signal. However, Cylinder is from 2003, predating Frozen and making it somewhat of an early example of the data sculpture genre.
There is a tangential similarity between Huntington’s pristine objects and Booshan & Widrig’s Binaural object. But in fact the spiky geometries of both works are a result of the numeric data underlying the form. Any data set will yield inherent patterns, and in the case of digital sound two “defaults” present themselves: The waveform (a 1D graph) and the spectral map found through FFT analysis, which represents a 2D map of spectral energies in the time domain. Any translation of these numeric representations into visual form must grapple with the fact that while they may be faithful representations of the data, they rarely give a good idea of how the sound is experienced by a human listener.
The Cylinder series show a range of different waveforms, some showing an apparent orderly structure with others suggesting a noisier sound input. Titles like “Seahorse”, “Design” and “Breath” imply the source sounds used to produce the forms. Their success as aesthetic objects derive from their complexity as well as from the clean quality given by the 3D printing process.
Fischer & Maus: Reflection, Widrig & Booshan: Binaural
5 Days Off MEDIA: Frozen
Wed 2 through Sat 26 July 2008
Melkweg Mediaroom & Paradiso, Amsterdam
- Andreas Nicolas Fischer & Benjamin Maus (DE)
- Leander Herzog (CH)
- Marius Watz
- Daniel Widrig & Shajay Booshan (UK)
- Sound: Freiband / Frans de Waard (NL)
- Sound: Alexander Rishaug (NO)
Frozen (part of the 5 Days Off MEDIA festival) is an exhibition of experiments in the representation of sound in media beyond the auditory. It examines the sound signal as a virtual space, presenting possible mappings that visualize or interpret the structures contained within the soundwaves.
Frozen was proposed and commissioned by Jan Hiddink and the 5 Days Off MEDIA festival in Amsterdam, and consists exclusively of original work. It was conceived with Generator.x 2.0 as a conceptual reference (all four artists in the show were also involved in Generator.x 2.0), but with a clearly defined focus: The representation of sound as spatial structures, realized as physical objects through the use of digital fabrication technologies.
Over the past years, there has been an enormous development in the field of live-presented audio-visual performance art. Owing to digital techniques, image and sound are connected in a way that was previously unthinkable. Frozen is headed in the opposite direction. Frozen pulls the plug and presents audio art, prints, and sculptures as independent, but interconnected works of art.
In the Mediaroom at the Melkweg multi-channel sound pieces can be experienced over an advanced speaker setup, accompanied by sound in a "frozen" form: Images and sculptural objects made using sound as input. These artworks use audio analysis and custom software processes to extract meaningful data from the sound signal, creating a mapping between audio and other media. Frozen will feature digital prints as well as four "sound sculptures" created using digital fabrication technology such as rapid prototyping, CNC and laser cutting, which allow for the direct translation of a digital model into physical form.
Frozen arose in collaboration with the Norwegian artist and curator Marius Watz, whose Generator.x project investigates the implications of generative systems and computational models of creation. The recent exhibition Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen brought together artists and architects to explore the potential of this new mode of creation.
‘Audio sculptures’ will be on display by Andreas Nicolas Fischer (DE) & Benjamin Maus (DE), Leander Herzog (CH), Marius Watz (NO) and Daniel Widrig & Shajay Booshan (UK). These sculptures are based on audioworks by Freiband (Nl, Frans de Waard), and Alexander Rishaug (No).
Frozen is presented in the Melkweg Mediaroom and at Paradiso.
5 Days Off MEDIA is part of the 5 Days Off festival for electronic music from Wed 2 through July 6. 5 Days Off MEDIA presents three themes: Crosswire, Frozen and Roots. Locations: Melkweg, Paradiso, Dutch Institute for Media Art and Heineken Music Hall.
Saturday was the last day of the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition at [DAM]Berlin. The occasion was marked with an informal curator talk, followed by Q+A. The 1-month show has had a great reception, proving popular both with the Transmediale crowd and the general art viewing public. While it’s always nice to reach with a community of one’s peers, reaching “regular people” is extra satisfying.
A slightly less enjoyable task was the disassembly of the exhibition in preparation for shipping. It is always bittersweet moment to see an exhibition disassembled and stuck in the back of an old Toyota Corrolla. See the following image to get an impression of this anti-climactic view.
Thankfully, any sadness was alleviated by knowing that 24 hours after being packed into this car, the works arrived safely in Turin, Italy to be part of the SHARE Festival. Bruce Sterling is the guest curator of this year’s festival, the theme of which is “Manufacturing”. After Bruce attended to the opening of Generator.x 2.0 we started discussing the possibility of taking the show to SHARE, a plan that will come to fruition tomorrow when the exhibition re-opens in Turin.
A few of the pieces from Berlin won’t be on display in Turin, for instance Aperiodic_Vertebrae by Theverymany aka Marc Fornes and Skylar Tibbits. This ambitious installation turned out to be too complex for the show at [DAM]Berlin, and so we sadly had to display a creative deconstruction of the intricate polygon structure instead of the cantilever bridge-like form it was meant to be. But now there is the exciting news that Skylar and Marc are producing a reworked and more stable version for NODE08 in Frankfurt. We look forward to seeing documentation of it fully built.
A few pieces have been also been added, the results of a fabbing workshop at HyperWerk that followed on the heels of the Berlin workshop and featured some of the same people. Martin Fuchs has provided some intriguing polygon forms in paper and cardboard that he didn’t have time to finish in Berlin, and Leander Herzog has produced a selection of plastic branching structures that point towards an organic exploration of plastic as material.
As the project now finally winds down, we wish to express our gratitude to everybody who contributed to making Generator.x 2.0 such a great even, in particular the following:
- Club Transmediale, in particular the curators Jan Rohlf and Oliver Baurhenn who gave the project the green light and supported it wonderfully through its various phases.
- Anke Eckardt, for being an excellent producer both for the workshop and for the concert evening.
- [DAM]Berlin and Wolf Lieser, for providing the gallery space and much-needed help in turning a big mess into a presentable exhibition in the space of a single afternoon.
- The Ballhaus Naunynstrasse and its crew, for providing everything from technical support to much-needed coffee.
- Lasern and Martin Bauer, for making it possible to have a laser cutter on site, and for helping out with laser know-how.
- HyperWerk Institute for Postindustrial Design, for fabbing support and for contributing a quota of skilled students.
- The Office For Contemporary Art Norway for supporting the project financially.
- Bruce Sterling and Luca Barbeni of the SHARE Festival, for taking the show to Italy and showing it to a new audience.
Finally, we wish to thank all the participants for their enthusiasm and generous sharing of skills during the workshop. It was a pleasure to work with you. We can only hope that Generator.x 2.0 will result in new networks being formed, with interesting projects as a result.
Apologies in advance to anyone who has grown bored with the stream of posts about Generator.x 2.0, but the project isn’t quite over even though Club Transmediale ended nearly 3 weeks ago. Here are a few updates:
- At the vernissage in Berlin we had some visitors from Turin, including Bruce Sterling who is the guest curator of the Piemonte Share festival. The theme of Share this year is “manufacturing”, so discussions quickly began about the possibilities of taking the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition to Turin. As a result, Generator.x 2.0 will open in Turin March 11 as part of the Share festival.
- Regine Débatty just posted a very favorable review of the exhibition on We-make-money-not-art. She says it’s “the best show in town right now”, which is most welcome praise indeed.
- Quite a few videos from the vernissage have been posted online. Eno Henze has a good walkthrough of the exhibition, but there are also videos from MovingWeb, WatchBerlin and VernissageTV.
- Institut HyperWerk HGK FHNW was one of the partners for the Generator.x 2.0 workshop in Berlin. It now looks as though this collaboration will continue with a potential presence at the Ars Electronica festival later this year. Meanwhile, a generative fabbing workshop is currently underway at HyperWerk, with results being posted to Flickr.
Commonwealth: Testing For.
The Generator.x 2.0 event ended almost two weeks ago, and we are busy trying to catch up with other things. The project was a big success, culminating in the exhibition opening which saw maybe 200 people turn up to look at the strange objects on display. Audiences responded enthusiastically to a show about digital media that did not have a single piece running on electrical power.
While most of the works in the show literally did not exist the week before, there were a few pre-selected pieces by people like Jared Tarbell, Theverymany (Marc Fornes and Skylar Tibbits) and Commonwealth.
An experimental studio straddling the divide between architecture, industrial design and pure research, Commonwealth’s work is marked by an amazing attention to surface as well as structure. Their contribution to Generator.x 2.0 is a prototype for a series of tables. CNC milled in Corian, the two panels feature patterns optimized both for visual detail and material transparency.
The following is their own description of the project (also, see Flickr):
Through the variation of embedded cells, this project explores pattern, tactility, and transparency. The exhibited prototypes are examples of material testing used in the development of a series of tables designed by Commonwealth in 2007.
Where the cells become deeper (and reciprocally the skin spanning each cell becomes thinner,) more light is passed through to the table top surface. As the cells become less deep, the graphic effect on the table surface is darker. A three-axis mill was used to test the process against the material properties of white, semi-transparent Corian, a grainless resin composite. Through minute increments of interconnected cell variation, a graphic gradient is produced.
Flickr: Commonwealth: Generator.x 2.0
Commonwealth vs Kenzo Minami: Closer
Commonwealth’s genius lies in the ability to marry pure form with graphic treatments, to the point where visual elements can’t be separated from the form itself. An excellent example is “Closer”, their collaboration with Kenzo Minami. Their response to Minami’s explosive graphics is a darkly erotic wall tile, its alien topography engraved with omninous visual details. The sheer tactility of these objects belies their origin as digital models, successfully disconnecting them from the world of the virtual.
This evening will see the second part of the public presentations of Generator.x 2.0: Beyond the Screen. While the focus is architecture, the speakers will come at the topic from very different angles, with more focus on virtual environments and parametric form than on housing units and retail space.
Presentations are 19:00-21:00 at the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Naunynstrasse 27.
- Aram Bartholl [DE]
- Tim Schork – Mesne [DE / AUS]
- David Dessens [FR]
- Skylar Tibbits – Theverymany [US]
» Aram Bartholl [DE] trained as an architect, but has since turned his attention towards the intersection of physical and virtual space. Works such as Chat and WoW translate elements of computer culture into literal physical manifestations, enforcing their quality as cultural artifacts while challenging our acceptance of them.
» Tim Schork [DE / AUS] is an architect who explores digital tools within generative design processes, with an emphasis on fabrication and making. One half of experimental studio Mesne, Schork also lectures at RMIT University in Melbourne while pursuing PhD research that examines computational models in architecture.
» David Dessens [FR] has quickly become an inspiration within the VVVV community, known for his dynamic forms and strong graphic style. He will show his realtime performance systems at the Club Transmediale in concert with Fabian Lamar, as well as doing a VJ set.
» Skylar Tibbits [US] is one part of Theverymany, an architectural collective formed by Marc Fornes to explore “protocols of precise indetermination”. Together, they curated the recent Scriptedbypurpose exhibition, an important survey of the current trend of computational architecture. Theverymany is also taking part in the Generator.x 2.0 exhibition with Aperiodic_Vertebrae, a new installation composed of nearly 500 elements.