In the final week of Rhizome's Community Fundraising Campaign, we profile seven artists hand-picked by Rhizome to generously contribute artworks, ensuring you receive compelling thank you gifts at every donation level. Give now to receive one of these works.
Matthew Plummer-Fernandez is a London-based artist who combines scanning, 3D printing, and computational approaches to make remixed art objects. His 3D printed works expose the limitations of the technology and the glitches that occur when translating real objects into digital ones.
In his Digital Natives series, Plummer-Fernandez samples everyday household items, remixes them using his own software, and then 3D prints them using a z-corp printer with a color resin, in order to blur the line between the real and the digital. Once functional objects are rendered useless, but beautiful, in their new algorithmically abstracted forms. Laura Davidson reviews Plummer-Fernandez's work for Rhizome, noting he takes: "...a more creative approach to engineering... His work proposes new ways in how we discuss the process of making a crafted object. Algorithms and their parameters become a tool to be mastered in the same way a lathe or a chisel would be... The results are almost alchemic and magical."
For Rhizome's Community Fundraiser, Plummer-Fernadez has donated two limited edition pieces from the Digital Natives series, available at the $1,000 level. The designs were based on a scan of a typical yellow ceramic jug and transformed using the artist's software. These unique table sculptures will be printed in the color of your choice.
Images courtesy of the artist
You will also become a member of the Rhizome Council, a leadership council for significant supporters that brings you closer to Rhizome. As a member, you will be invited to special Council-only events including intimate studio visits with entrepreneurs and artists in ...
Around the corner from stacks of baby shoes, counterfeit Gucci wallets, and spangled iPhone cases, I got burned copies of Jean Cocteau's Orpheus trilogy at an outdoor market in Mexico City.
A Sunday afternoon in Roma Norte, I was drinking coffee with new friends. The city was new to me and I had only arrived late the night before. We jumped in a cab and directed the driver to a market a little way outside the center of town.
Miguel said he was going to pick up a copy of Pigsty there. I was confused at first, assuming it had to be something other than the 1969 Italian film, but indeed that was the one he meant. Seemed an implausible feat to find a physical copy of any Passolini movie, let alone a more obscure selection, anywhere without paying for shipping and waiting at least a week. But I didn't say anything then.
"He's not going to find the Passolini film here," Manuel said, as we were wandering through Tepito's labyrinth of tents. It was mostly pirated goods: branded tennis shoes, video games, and handbags; but with some intention to the ordering of the inventory. Suppliers tended to specialize in certain items, one might carry only knock-offs of a single particular designer label, another sold only anime DVDs. Tepito sometimes functions as a wholesaler for vendors who operate smaller streetside sales. We walked through the section that was largely physical media for sale— Blue-ray, DVD, and CDs with covers varying from identical to the original to very handmade-looking inkjet prints. I was told that sometimes you could see vendors burning these disks in the back of the tents.
One of the tents had a sign out front, "Cine de Arte." Inside a dozen densely packed shelves included classic art house fare like 400 Blows, Breathless, Paris Texas, and L'eclisse. Each with a cover made of ordinary printer paper inside a flimsy plastic sleeve...
Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, Digital Natives (2012)
“The internet changed the world in the 1990s, the world is about to change again,” read much of the promotional literature for the recent 3D Printshow in London. The commercial exhibitors might have benefited from a far more modest tag line, but the art work exhibited, separate from the main trade section of the show, gave much new to think about regarding the the relationship between technology and craft.
Frederik de Wilde, M1ne IIII (2012)
I was immediately intrigued by the two sculptural objects on display by Frederik de Wilde. The cobalt chrome models had been printed from data gathered from Belgian coal mines. They presented themselves as futuristic objects with a link to Europe's industrial heritage. The representations of the coal mines came to the 3D Printshow as seemingly abstract objects but, were actually formed by a much more political process. It had been a laborious process for de Wilde to get access to the data. He remarked that being granted permission to use a data source as an artist is almost an art form in itself. The Belgian government are protective over the information as the mines contain elements of interest to multinationals and other nations. De Wilde was not permitted in the work to reveal the location of the mines and had to abstract the forms so that interested parties could not gain commercial advantage. The custodians of the data had a large say in what the outcome of the piece would be. This is an intriguing collaborative process if it can be considered as such. The models of the coal mines had been stacked inside each other to create fragile vessels, that also further abstracted the context of the data. The production values of both objects were also noteworthy. I ...
Meet Defense Distributed, home of the Wiki Weapon — "A collaborative project to create freely available plans for 3D printable guns." They've just been granted $20,000 in funding from an angel investor. As outlined in an explanatory Youtube video, Defense Dist.'s goal is not to arm the populace, but to liberate information. As explained in their video, if the instructions for 3D printed gun are seeded online, then "any bullet becomes a weapon."
It's good that open-source information is Defense Distributed's major goal, because Stratsys, the company that makes the 3D printer used by Defense Dist., seized the printer from Cody Wilson. Producing a whole weapon, claimed Stratsys, would break laws against home weapons manufacturing. In July, Extreme Tech reported on a user named HaveBlue from the AR-15 forum. HaveBlue used a mid-90s era Stratasys brand 3D printer to make the body of a .22-caliber pistol. HaveBlue's creation utilized a commercial chamber fused with a 3D-printed body. Said HaveBlue: "It's had over 200 rounds of .22 through it so far and runs great!" HaveBlue went on to remind readers that manufacturers have been using 3D printing for modeling and design purposes for a while. His gun was simply the first with 3D printed plastic parts to be tested by someone at home.
HaveBlue's 3D printed gun.
Anab Jain of Superflux told the magazine Dezeen that Defense Dist. is a symptom of the transforming dynamic between consumers and manufacturers: “The old rules and regulations about who is the designer, who is the manufacturer and who is the distributor change when people have the tools and opportunities to become the designer, manufacturer and distributor themselves."
It's all too easy to imagine a future where rebels or criminals rely on 3D printing to produce weapons ...
A weird commotion outside wakes you up. You peer out the window to see the source of the music and revelry. A group of college kids from the engineering school are smashing all of their furniture in the street. The next day while walking the dog, you see them again. They’re sweeping up the pieces of broken housewares, and shoveling it into bags. The next day, it looks like they’re moving in again as they carry brand new designer furniture into their house. They do this every month or so.
You are shopping in Ikea, looking for a new end table, and perhaps a rug. Suddenly, uniformed security guards appear, and surround a young woman. She is escorted from the store, uneventfully. “Pocket scanner”, you hear an employee tell an inquiring couple.
With delighted expectation, your son unwraps his birthday gift. Awe is quickly replaced by disappointment. “Isn’t that the one you wanted?” you ask confused, certain that it was the new action figure, ordered directly from the TV show web site. “Yeah, it’s the one,” he says cautiously, not looking you in the eyes. “I just forgot that all the accessories would be un-modded on the store version.”
3D printed objects, or “physibles” are an incredible example of the mundane aspects of future-weird. They are glitchy-as-fuck, but their shapeshifting effect on our cultural space will inhabit the same metaphysics of street graffiti--appreciated by only a few, truly understood by even less.
A physible is simple. Download a file with information about the shape of an object, or components parts of an object. Use a 3D printing machine that squirts molten plastic, metal or other material to pour you that object, without needing a mold. Or, send the file to a company who will do that for you. These machines simplify the process of fabbing an object, by using a single machine to create parts of nearly anything. Previously, specific injection molds had to be created for each piece, or a welder had to attach pieces by reading a diagram. Now the machine can build the entire piece in one run, with basically zero set-up investment. The investment to produce a single object is nearly nothing--all it takes is the design, and one of these universal printing machines.
This technical evolution is interesting, but the real revolution will be in the changing distribution of fabrication shops that this production shift will create. Fabrication has been sourced wherever the set-up requirements are cheapest, with the run production runs made as large as possible. But the technology behind physibles will make short-run fabrication, anywhere, much more preferable. It will eventually be cheaper for a person to fab one object at home, than to buy one of five hundred thousand made in one place and shipped across the world. Physibles will decentralize the Pearl River, and bring China home.
But the technology of physibles doesn’t mean much to the consumer. Not any more than the encoding of a MP3 file, or the precise stitch pattern of a handbag. It means something to the person who actually fabs the object, but as a consumer, you’ll get your things wherever is cheapest and easiest, just like always. You’ll still order things online. Rather than coming from China, perhaps a Chinese company will outsource the design to a fab shop down the street that will hand deliver it to your door. The means of production continue to mean nothing to the end-user: commodity cost is king. Most people want their stuff to just be stuff, and don’t care about how it works. Consider the frustration people experience trying to get a PDF to print correctly on a flat sheet of paper. These folks will be filling their cabinets, entertaining their children, and brushing their teeth with physibles every day of their lives without knowing how the object came into existence, or what that means for global distribution networks.
Most people. On the other hand, there will be a new set of object hackers, who will be spending all their free time online, discussing the precise interior dimension ratios of the new set of Target glassware ....
The Pirate Bay just announced a new file type available on the site: "physibles," digital files for 3D printing. It expects in 20 years you'll be downloading sneakers. In the meantime there are lawn darts and plastic toys:
We're always trying to foresee the future a bit here at TPB. One of the things that we really know is that we as a society will always share. Digital communication has made that a lot easier and will continue to do so. And after the internets evolutionized data to go from analog to digital, it's time for the next step.
Today most data is born digitally. It's not about the transition from analog to digital anymore. We don't talk about how to rip anything without losing quality since we make perfect 1 to 1 digital copies of things. Music, movies, books, all come from the digital sphere. But we're physical people and we need objects to touch sometimes as well!
We believe that the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form. It will be physical objects. Or as we decided to call them: Physibles. Data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical. We believe that things like three dimensional printers, scanners and such are just the first step. We believe that in the nearby future you will print your spare sparts for your vehicles. You will download your sneakers within 20 years.
The benefit to society is huge. No more shipping huge amount of products around the world. No more shipping the broken products back. No more child labour. We'll be able to print food for hungry people. We'll be able to share not only a recipe, but the full meal. We'll be able ...
Showcasing the endless possibilities of the Thing-O-Matic, the New Museum MakerBot Challenge is open to the entire creative community. Embodying the New Museum’s mission of “New Art, New Ideas,” this interactive and experiential Challenge aims to push the concept of the “derivative,” by improving on or personalizing established design conventions. From the banal toothbrush to complex bicycle gears, how can 3D printing help to develop the world around us?
The winning design will be printed on a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic on display in the New Museum Store's window. The winning designer will receive a New Museum Deluxe membership ($400 value), a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic® Kit ($1299 value), and a special invitation to the New Museum MakerBot Challenge launch party.
Five runner-ups will have their designs printed by MakerBot and sent to them.
HOW TO ENTER
1. If you are not already registered, sign up for an account at Thingiverse.com
2. Upload your 3D files, and tag them with NewMuseumChallenge by October 31, 2011
3. In the description, write a statement about your design. What is the design a derivative of? How does it improve on or challenge existing design conventions?
1. Designs may be one single part or multiple parts that are each smaller than 4 x 4 x 4 ¾ in (100 x 100 x 120 mm) and printable on a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic.
2. Different parts can be made in white, yellow, orange, red, UV reactive red, UV reactive nuclear green, camping green, blue, black, and glow-in-the-dark.
3. The design may require multiple builds, however no more than three builds are allowed.
WHO'S IN THE JURY?
A team from MakerBot, Rhizome, and the New Museum will select the final designs. The jurors are looking for designs that utilize the unique ability of 3D printing to personalize and improve on the world around us.