Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences’ Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital exhibition featured works from over 60 artists. It focuses on the place and impact of digital technology in the design and production of objects (MAAS, 2017). Experiencing the exhibition firsthand there were a number of artworks that gained my attention. These included ‘Who This Am’ 2014, ‘Self Portrait/ Five Part’ 2009 and ‘Faces used for Paranorman’ 2012. These works use different materials but are all created through the same technology that is 3D printing.

As I walked into the exhibition the first piece that I noticed was called ‘Who This Am’ by Kijin Park. The installation was a pallet stacked with bundles of A4 paper and a single cup placed on top. As I took a closer look I found there was binary code printed on the sheets of paper and that the cup was made out of a plastic material. I also noticed there was a speaker at the top of the piece playing sounds of a 3D printer. Reading the artwork’s description, I would never have guessed that 60 871 pages consisting of code would be needed to make one small plastic cup. The impact of the work was emphasised through its scale, something definitely needed to be experienced in person.

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‘Self Portrait/ Five Part’ was created by the American artist Chuck Close in 2009. It consisted of three large jacquard tapestries hung upon the exhibition’s wall. The work was developed through a digital instruction set called a weave file translating the image into data that is read and then woven by an electronic Jacquard loom. The work is a great example of how we can turn something such as a photograph into a materialistic artwork. It shows a different side to technology and something that truly captivated me.

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Lastly, the work that gained my interest more than any other was ‘Faces used for Paranorman’. This piece was created by Laika and also used 3D printing technology. At first it didn’t grab my attention because in the other two artworks scale was a massive factor. The larger something is the quicker my eye focuses on. However, experiencing ‘Faces used for Paranorman’ close up I could see the tiny detail that went into it all. The work took the traditional technique of stop motion animation and combined it with 21st century technology. The 2012 movie, Paranorman, used a total of 40 000 face parts to achieve the illusion of movement. This is called ‘replacement animation’ and uses slightly different parts for each puppet involved. This artwork is probably the most significant and relevant to my own field of practice- editing and filmmaking. It will most likely be the subject in which I focus on in my second assessment.

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Reference:

MAAS, 2017, ‘Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital’, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, viewed 29th March 2017
<https://maas.museum/event/out-of-hand-materialising-the-digital/>

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