Throughout graduate school, I was creating intricate, complicated pieces that required so much memory to make, it was common for my screen to flash green, my computer to freeze into patterns of color and psychedelic shapes, and magical “ghost” surfaces to appear, haunting my forms with reminders of the programs inability to realize my vision. I only needed to type "M-C" the first two letters of Rhino’s creator’s name into the email field for the rest of his name to appear. I shared the chain of commands I used, a screenshot of the computer having a tantrum, and repeatedly urged him to find solutions in the next version of the program.
This is a piece that McNeel probably cries when he sees:
India Balance, 2013 by Eve Streicker
Throughout this experience, I found that just as much as I relied on science to realize my vision, the engineers behind the program relied on me to test and improve their system. With CAD and other innovative technologies, we have a chance to push science to realize our visions, simultaneously advancing creativity and science significantly.
Designers are using CAD to test the limits of production and possibilities of eliminating post-process adaptations and treatment. For example, we are now seeing fabrics and fabric like objects being produced in a single build without need for each element to be assembled. Take a look at this incredible necklace by Nervous System in the Kinematics line that was created in a single, flexible piece. -->
By creating complex geometries and interlocking parts, new materials are being invented through additive manufacturing that were never before possible.
Artists, such as Bathsheba Grossman, are creating intricate and complex art pieces that use computers for what they do best: Precision.
Using mathematical precision in her designs, Grossman twists and turns surfaces so that they undulate and build on themselves, ultimately designing sculptures that could never be made by hand. With pieces built inside of pieces, every surface turns into a möbius, three-dimensional knot of beauty. These pieces are 3d printed in steel and, if you look closely, you can see the hand of the machine in the build lines that constructed one layer at a time.
Creatives, such as Neri Oxman, are partnering very closely with scientists and engineers to create their work and push the technology forward. Oxman is a professor at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I am a huge fan of her work. She works very closely with engineers and materiologists to realize her creative visions. In an effort to create a conceptual piece that is a complex exo-skeleton that would protect its wearer, Oxman teamed up with the developers of 3D printers. Thanks to her drive to make this series, we now have 3d printers that can print in multiple materials in a single build, pushing scientists to improve technology. Her artistic voice has improved and furthered this field in innumerable ways and she continues to challenge and push scientists to adapt.
(Neri Oxman, Arachne (Autoportrait / Self Portrait) Armor / Corset; 2012, 3D Print Centre Pompidou, Paris, France)
(Neri Oxman, Carpal Skin Wrist Splint—Prototype; 2009-2010, 3D Print Museum of Science, Boston)
Here we have a conceptual piece by Oxman that aims to treat Carpal Tunnel syndrome by providing a customizable form that uses multiple materials to adjust the pressure on the individual as to maximize pain relief. Her out-of-the-box thinking is a challenge to medical professionals to try to think creatively about solutions for common problems.
Creative professionals are pushing the technology forward, challenging engineers to help them realize their creative vision and designers advance science in doing so, intricately linking innovation and creativity.