There are some seriously hightech conversations flying around the two floors of the Old Truman Brewery in London this week, where Shoreditch is playing host to the 3D Printshow.
And quite rightly, we’re in the home of the British hipster around the corner from Tech City, or Silicon Roundabout, whichever people are calling it now. Here some of the most exciting innovators, artists, and other creative people are gathering to share the very latest in the ever-merging worlds of art and technology.
So it’s strange to hear reference to the world of the 16th Century, and the marvels of Wunderkammer, the cabinet of curiosities. All becomes clear a few slides into artist, designer, and maker Silvia Weidenbach’s talk on art, jewelry, and technology.
The production processes may have changed dramatically, but many of the ideas come from the same place of creating and collecting wild and wonderful objects that make it impossible not to stop and look, and wunder. 🙂
Weidenbach’s talk is part of the Art Gallery feature at the show, and it is held at the end of a fantastic gallery of 3D printed sculptures – beautiful representations of Weidenbach’s central theme, pushing the limits of technology and creativity. “What are the barriers before the technology can’t manage any further?” she asks.
This ambition and imagination are a powerful combination, and one you might expect to come from a true veteran of the technology world. The truth is rather different though. She only started exploring the possibilities that digital solutions can offer in 2009. “I got so immersed in all of the opportunities, I couldn’t get enough,” she continued.
Weidenbach’s perspective is refreshing, constantly experimenting, and crossing the border between digital and analogue, combining hightech with traditional methods, looking to the future and the past. It is easy to get carried away with advancing technology, and forget that it is part of the physical world, not a replacement for it. Weidenbach’s comments remind us of this, even if her delight in digital Wunderkammer challenges it.
“I did a lot of experiments with materials, and focused on decompositions and deformations that developed into digital processes and techniques,” she explained. She printed the same designs using different materials to see the various effects.
Using a haptic arm as a way of sculpting in 3D, she noted, “There’s no gravity, you can view from any angle, zoom in for more detail, and turn things inside out. It’s so easy to experiment, redo things, or start from a previous point.”
Her works are bright, colorful, and complex, and certainly push the limits of general perceptions of art and jewelry. “Metal printing, and increased durability has increased the use of 3D printing in jewelry. Symmetry has long been considered proof of traditional skill because it’s very difficult, but mirroring and symmetry is easy with technology.”
It doesn’t look easy, and would definitely fit right in with the typical peculiarities of the 16th Century cabinets of curiosities.
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