One of the projects at the Computational Fabrication Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology involves analyzing faces and recreating them on a computer. Faces are challenging because we are sensitive to the minute details on a face, and algorithms can only do so much. The CFG managed to develop algorithms to analyze and reproduce human appearances in real-time. They use this technology to make advances in cosmetics, movies, computer vision, and even virtual reality.
This is fascinating to me because human face details are so intricate and complex. All of my projects have been very simple so I can’t imagine how they managed to develop an algorithm to track and recreate faces in real-time.
Marius Watz is an new media artist using generative software processes. I found his work is very interesting because he is using visual algorithms not only for fabricate installation art, but animation and sound-responsive performances. It is very interesting that those open sauce languages provide new form of arts to new media artist like Marius. I’m not sure how he generate images with algorithm since I have a very little knowledge about programming, I know one thing that he creates all images with numbers with generative code. I’m quite suprised about the fact that this random generative numbers could create such beautiful images.
You can find more amazing works from Marius on this website.
This project is part of Mediated Matter of the MIT Media Lab. It exploresthe interaction between digital fabrication and natural fabrication by mimicing the silk thread structure of a silkworm’scocoon through a Computer-Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine and then having silkworms create their own silk structures from that primary, fabricated structure. Inspired by how silkworms can create their silk structure through one continuous
line of thread, an algorithm was created to mimic the single continuous style of the natural silkworm pattern and the variation of density of the fabricated threads. 26 panels of this silk scaffold was made and put together to make a dome. Then, silkworms were put into the dome structure to fill in the gaps with their own biological silk structures.
What admired me the most about this project was how mechanically fabricated structures can work alongside biologically, naturally created structures. It demonstrates how mechanic and natural physical worlds can work together to create beautiful outcomes. Another interesting aspect about this project was how because these two drastically different worlds worked together, they created a beautiful, artistic outcome. By generating an algorithm, scientists were able to mimic the natural world.
I really enjoyed looking at Andrew Kudless’ P-series. They immediately grabbed my attention as I browsed through the options because they have some seemingly organic qualities to their form, but are definitely generated digitally. I wanted to figure out the process and the mechanism behind it. The artist first started off with exploring some “evocative” texture on his computer, generating a cloud of points that are then turned into constraints that would hold the elasticity in the fabric which he used as the cover material. For his first piece in 2006, called the P-Wall, he used plaster poured into the mould with the fabric expanding under the weight of the plaster. For the next piece in the series, he explores more of the self-organization of material under force, leaving the fabric sag, expand, and wrinkle under pressure. He also has created something named the P-ball, which is a 3D printed concrete prototype. It is super interesting how it is possible to experiment with different materials with digitally created forms.
When I was browsing on the websites given by the professor, I came across project Cumulus on Behance created by SOFTLab. This is an interactive installation that enables the light, as well as geometric shapes to change in response to the sounds in its environment. However, the changes are not constant, but rather irregular based on a series of algorithms coded through Processing, which sets up “tubes” of lightning connecting from one end to another, hence creating a mysterious cloud-shaped sculpture. The “tube” materials consist of acrylic along with 3D printed joints, as well as over 70 meters of LED lights installed within the structure.
This project intrigued me as I enjoyed its interactivity engaging with the audience. Its futuristic shape in combination with a very nature-centered concept with lightning, cloud, and sounds can be confusing but eyeopening at the same time. On the other hand, its analytic aspect of breaking down the system of sounds also adds a technological meaning to the piece. I am curious to learn about how Processing helped to generate an art piece like this, and I am excited to try out the process as well!
Manfred Mohr is a generative artist who was first making generative art in the 1960’s. He was one of the earliest adopters of this field.
“Artificia II ” is a artwork based on the book Artificia he published in 1969. The artwork itself came out in 2012. He was inspired by the rhythm of the work and felt it was complimentary to the book he wrote.
The algorithm is made up of segmented lines that cross and change directions on a 11 and 15 dimension cute. The colors are calculated based on the x-vertext. The baseline algorithm gives the artwork its rhythm. You can read more about it here.
Some works in his collection. You can view the rest here.
Escapism is a collection by Iris Van Herpen in collaboration with architect Daniel Wildrig and digital manufacturer .MGX by Materialise that encapsulates feelings of emptiness that result from escaping daily struggles via digital environments. It was one of the collections of hers that was featured at the Carnegie Museum of Art last Spring. When I went to see the exhibit, I was very interested in the intersection of fashion and digital manufacturing in her designs, as a designer who has an interest in fashion. Van Herpen’s work manifests along the borders of fashion, digital manufacturing, and product design. Many of the outfits in the collection are partially made via computational fabrication, using 3D printing. Her work realizes a combination between traditional craftsmanship and digital processes, as many pieces of her collections are 3D printed. The attached piece was made without any seams, and is completely 3D printed. For the piece above, she used an algorithm to create a a garment created of thin rumpled mesh.
For this post, I have chosen to discuss a project known as “Digital Grotesque”, specifically Grotto II, which is the second and (in my opinion) more impressive creation. The architects behind this project are Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, who worked with a fabrication team of 6 people. Their website can be found at https://digital-grotesque.com/.
Grotto II premiered in March 2017. It is 3.45 meters high, is made out of 7 tons of printed sandstone, and contains a space where people can enter and marvel at the 1.35 billion surfaces. What I most admire about this project is the sheer scale. While I’ve become somewhat accustomed to small 3D printed trinkets, the idea of a complexly decorated room created through 3D printing is still novel to me. It’s also exciting to know that people are willing to devote years of their lives to in order to fully explore the field of 3D printing.
Above: Inside the Digital Grotesque grotto. Link: https://digital-grotesque.com/architecture/
Grotto II was designed entirely by algorithms. According to the website, “a subdivision algorithm exploits the 3D printer’s full potential by creating porous, multi-layered structures with spatial depth. A single volume spawns millions of branches, growing and folding into a complex topological structure.” The algorithms do not incorporate randomness, but the creators say that the results were not necessarily foreseeable. Although the artists say that they tried to avoid referencing any existing architectural styles, their interest in architecture as a whole is clearly evident in the work.
“Silk Pavilion” by Mediated Matter / MIT Media Lab (2013)
Silk Pavilion was an architectural experiment conducted with 6,500 live silkworms. Mediated Matter led by Neri Oxman, studied productivity in nature in conjunction with computerized efficiency in fabrication. I admire how the group found an intersection across the artificial and natural, and was able to effectively apply fabrication understanding across such a large scaled dome installation. What’s also really admirable is how Oxman decided to develop custom CAD tools for the project, specifying specific thread properties of the pavilion that couldn’t have been altered elsewhere.
Using an algorithm inspired by the silkworm’s natural ability to create cocoons out of thread, the system assigns single threads across patches with varying density levels. Silkworms were then physically deployed as a real-time “3D printer”. The final form was not fully controlled by the creators, as the texture and features of the dome were difficult to predict due to the emergent behavior of the worms. Through deep understanding of silkworms as a medium, the group learned how to utilize them as a sophisticated, multi-axis printing medium.
This piece is by the Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab. I find there work to be extremely groundbreaking and extremely relevant. They play with biology and synthetic fabrication, how the synthetic and the organic can come together to augment the way we live. I think this is a crucial part of sustainable innovation.
This project in particular involves microbes attached —via a 3D printed belt— to the body. Once these microbes are exposed to sunlight, they create by products that are supposed to compliment the human body. I think synthetic symbiosis is a very poetic lens through which we can solve very real problems. The organic and the inorganic fuse to create something that helps sustain life, by replicating mechanisms of life. I think that is a very evolved, nuanced relationship.