At Ventura Lambrate in Milan we caught up with the directional art space/design lab Z33 with a preview of The Machine, a most intriguing exhibition opening June at C-Mine in Genk, Belgium.
The exhibition is called The Machine as it looks at the work of upcoming designers who are creating their own, new, industrial revolution- turning raw materials into products, but using the latest technologies and equipment, such as 3D scanners, drawing programmes and printers. These new ‘industrialists’ are very different from their 19th century counterparts however, as their production methods are often more akin to carftsmanship and ‘offer an alternative not only to mass production and consumption, but also to a sustainable economy.’
The three designers currently on show in Milan are all 2011 Design Academy Eindhoven graduates – Thomas Maincent and Thomas Vailly, both from France, plus Joong Han Lee from Korea.
Thomas Vailly’s The Metabolic Factory ‘carries on the tradition of Dutch Vanitas paintings, made as a reminder of man’s fragile condition and transient existence. Thomas uses human hair as a raw material, an idea that many find repulsive. Vailly is rational about it. Mixed with glycerine and sodium sulphite, the hair melts into a type of bioplastic resembling leather. By crafting this controversial material into a modern still life including a cup, jug, mirror and lamp, Vailly invites us to reflect on the natural process of deterioration. Just as the body will decompose, so materials made from the body will also do so.’
Haptic Intelligentsia by Joong Han Lee ‘is a human 3D printing machine that allows the user to tactually perceive the virtual object and to directly transform it into the physical. The user can freely move the extruding gun, which is attached to a haptic interface. When the tip of the gun is moved into a surface region of the virtual object, the interface generates forces under computer control, allowing the user to feel and touch the surface of the object.’
‘Without looking at the computer screen, the only way to visualize the virtual object is to pull the trigger and extrude the material along the feedback surface. The results are always unique and different, depending on how each user responds to the machine’s guidance. The sense of touch is no longer present in our current screen-based interface.’
Spiderfarm by Thomas Maincent is a bio-factory using Madagascar silk spiders. ‘Their silk is a magnificent golden colour and is five times stronger than steel of the same thickness, while also remaining elastic, making it a highly attractive raw material. This bio-factory would mimic the natural setting in which the spiders live in the wild; supplying them with everything they need to allow humans to harvest their silk. So far, such industrial-scale harvesting has never been accomplished, partly owing to the cannibalistic nature of the spiders.’
Image credits: Thomas Maincent, Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven, Art Direction: Petra Janssen, photography: Vincent van Gurp; Haptic Intelligentsia ©Joong Han Lee
The Machine runs June 03 to October 10 2012 at C-Mine, Genk.