These form studies embody tensions between seed geometry within a regular grid and the influence of the “natural force” of subdivision surface smoothing. In this case, random selection marks some faces of the tubular seed primitive for extrusion and invagination—a process that blows the form open and creates a double-walled vessel. Smoothing then curves and contracts the polygonal skin, drastically increasing the ratio of enclosed volume per surface area (a common adaptation of living organisms), giving the object a biomorphic appearance. And yet, the ghost of Descartes is a persistent one…despite the uncanny mesentreric folds, evidence of the grid is everywhere…3D printing pushes these digital forms into corporeal reality, across that other Cartesian boundary, in a process that seems hard to name: “realization,” “objectification,” “reification” are all freighted and creaky with other concepts. Whatever we call it, I feel what is most significant about digital fabrication technologies, particularly these early ones with their crude nature and idiosyncratic artifacts, is that they allow us to see how the digital is fundamentally different than the physical, how the model (always previously a purposeful abstraction) can swell to be richer and deeper than the thing it purports to represent—how the map can cover the territory.
cylinder #5 (from the containment studies series) was shown at Art2Make at the Center for Book and Paper Gallery at Columbia College in Chicago. The exhibition was curated by Carrie Ida Edinger. Online catalog available at v1b3.