Posted: October 29th, 2013 | Author: aaron | Filed under: 3dprinting, art, exhibition | No Comments »
Three of Nervous System’s Hyphae lamps are currently on display at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in an exhibition called Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital. The show opened on October 16th and continues until July 6th, 2014. The three one-of-a-kind lamps were “grown” specifically for this exhibition and range in size from 18x18x28 cm to 24x24x34 cm. You can read more about our Hyphae Lamps here. Our Cell Cycle design app is also on display in an interactive section of the exhibition.
Out of Hand is the first major museum exhibition to explore the impact of various digital fabrication technologies on human creativity. The exhibition underscores the phenomenon of artists using new technologies to manifest previously intangible digital designs. At the same time, the exhibition illuminates some of the ways digital fabrication is fundamentally altering both the process and the perception of artistic creation. The complexity of many of the pieces on display and the curatorial emphasis on fabrication push questions of manufacture and material to the forefront without offering much commentary on issues of aesthetics, meaning or history.
I found that the show’s focus on final objects and their manufacture had the effect of obscuring the time-consuming, demanding, and original digital design work that went into the pieces on display. Little attention is given to how artists use programming or digital modeling, which may inadvertently lend weight to the common misconception that now, in the age of digital design, computers are doing all the hard work for us.
The Museum of Arts and Design seems well-suited to a show that is primarily focused on manufacture. I found Out of Hand to be well-curated, featuring a broad range of pieces and artists without losing focus. I think many of the pieces included in the show are challenging, evocative, and beautiful. This exhibition makes it clear that the technology used to manufacture an object necessarily guides design choices, even in the world of seemingly endless possibilities ushered in by ubiquitous 3D printing. If the medium is the message, then the message of Out of Hand is clear: humanity is transitioning from a purely physical existence to something between physical and digital that offers us new, exciting, and sometimes unsettling options for how we do everything, including how we create art.
Posted: April 3rd, 2013 | Author: aaron | Filed under: collaboration, education, events, exhibition, news | Tags: Cambridge Science Festival, education, events, exhibitions, Room 68, Science Crawl, Somerville Open Studios, xylem | No Comments »
We’re doing several fun events in the upcoming month, and we wanted to tell you about them.
3D Printing Night @Room 68 — April 4, 6-9pm
68 South St, Jamaica Plain, MA
Tomorrow night (April 4th) we’ll be at Room 68 from 6:00-9:00pm. Stores and galleries in Jamaica Plain stay open late on the first Thursday of each month, and our friends at Room 68 invited us to be involved. We love working with the Room 68 team, and we’re excited to be showing off a brand new cellular coffee table designed with our Radiolaria web app. You can also buy Nervous System lamps or jewelry and see a MakerBot 3D printer in action. Maybe we’ll make a 3D-printed cat for you!
Science Crawl @Xylem — April 18, 5-8pm
287 Third St, Cambridge, MA
On Thursday, April 18th, we’ll be hosting one of the stops on the Science Crawl, a Cambridge Science Festival event. We’re thankful to our friends at Xylem for letting us use their store. We hope you’ll come by and see the exhibition: we’re going to transform Xylem into a space where you can explore everything Nervous System. We’ll have all our new stuff on display, including tables, superhard jigsaw puzzles, and neon-colored jewelry. We’re also going to invite visitors to experiment with our interactive design tools, and Jesse and Jessica will be there to explain the math and science behind their designs. Ask them anything!
Somerville Open Studios @Nervous System — May 4-5, 12-6pm
561 Windsor St, Suite A206, Somerville, MA
In May, we’re going to be involved with Somerville Open Studios, a great event where artists all over Somerville invite people to see the spaces where they create. First, Nervous System will be featured at the Somerville Open Studios fashion show on May 1st. The fashion show starts at 7:30pm in the Center for Arts at the Armory. Then, on May 4th and 5th, the Nervous System studio will be open from noon til 6:00pm, and we’d love for you to come visit. We’ll be featuring our interactive design tools, and we plan to show some new experiments as well.
Posted: January 22nd, 2013 | Author: aaron | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
A while ago there was a pretty great XKCD which gave semi-technical descriptions of the Saturn V rocket using only the 1,000 (or “ten hundred”) most commonly written English words:
see the rest at xkcd.com
Jessica and Nathan challenged me to describe what we do at Nervous System using a similarly restricted vocabulary. I feel like I’ve had some practice lately trying to tell people what, exactly, we do here. They don’t realize that asking me about my new job is a trap… twenty minutes later their eyes are glazing over as I keep trying to make them understand how exciting generative design is. So this was good for me. You know, keeping it simple:
The name of our business is “THE BODY PARTS THAT WORK TOGETHER TO LET YOU THINK AND CONTROL EVERYTHING ELSE IN YOUR BODY.”
We use numbers and computers to make computer-world things that look like things you can find in the real world. We make things for your body, your house and your mind. Some of the things we make are quite small, and some are bigger than your head!
The things we make in the computer world would be very hard to draw or form with your hands — at the very least, it would take you a long time. But computers are faster than people, so we ask them to grow things for us. Our numbers tell them how to grow the things, and we make them grow within the lines we set.
Once the computer-world things are ready, we ask our business friends (and not-so-friends, sometimes) to turn the computer-world things into real-world things. We buy the real-world things from our business friends, and then other people buy them from us for more money. Some people buy our things in a real store, other people buy them at our computer-world store on the world-wide-computer-street. People from all over the world buy our fun things, so we keep making more.
If you want to make sure I didn’t cheat, or if you maybe just want to write something of your own using only the “ten hundred most used words,” here’s a link to The Up-Goer Five Text Editor by Theo Sanderson.