The Generator.x 2.0 workshop is now well underway, with participants starting to get to grips with the laser cutter and CNC mill. To give an idea of what we’re working on we’ve set up a project blog as well a Flickr group specifically for the workshop. Expect to see some early results in the next few days.
The first evening of public presentations saw plenty of Berliners turning up in numbers to hear some very interesting talks. Boris Müller gave an introduction to thinking computationally about design issues, exemplified by his series of projects for Poetry on the Road. A high point was his response to criticism of the 2006 edition, which used poems as datasets to create intricate graphs:
“Creating beutiful [sic] images to impress people is relatively easy, while making visualizations to explore, enable profound insights, and see the invisible, is extremely harder and requires a lot more devotion than this.” – Enrico Bertini
Besides the questionable truthfulness of the notion that creating beautiful images is easy, this criticism misses the point. The intention of Boris’ piece was never to “enable profound insights”, but to provide a visual context for the poetry festival. While his beautiful graphs do in fact constitute decodable data, that fact is all but incidental to their real function: To be visual poetry.
Satoru Sugihara presented his computational design work for Morphosis, in particular the Phare Tower in Paris. A 300 meter high skyscraper scheduled to be completed by 2012, Phare Tower will dwarf the nearby Arche de La Défense. Sugihara worked on optimizing the building’s window grid using physical models, taking both cost of construction and energy efficiency into account. The “skin” of the building includes metal plates placed at computed locations and angles, in order to reflect sunshine as well as produce a signature facade pattern.
Last presenter out was Eno Henze [DE], a generative artist whose ambivalence towards the use of computers only serves to give his work a greater depth. While his high-end interaction design for Meso is impressive, his work with spatialized computer drawings like Wirklichkeitsschaum and The Human Factor show a conceptual depth combined with a great attention to formal composition.
The second round of presentations tomorrow Monday should be a worthy followup, featuring Aram Bartholl, Tim Schork, David Dessens and Skylar Tibbits.