Friday, May 27, 2011

Commentary | Create, Make, Share!

In the last three decades, the creative process has reached unparalleled heights with the advent of digital technologies. Three and multi-dimensional forms can be generated from the most intricate complex geometries to biological growth based algorithms, creating quite elaborate virtual worlds. But until recently these virtual world were bounded to the computer monitor or video projection screen. In the last decade the process of making physical object from virtual models has become increasingly affordable, allowing many designers and artists to build sculptures and design prototypes directly from a digital 3d model.
I started working with digital fabrication several years ago, initially with laser cutting and stereolithography, more recently with 3d printing, courtesy of Z Corporation. Zprinters marks a milestone in the road to affordability of technologies, which were once privilege of large commercial enterprises or academic circles.
The MakerBot 3d printer is also becoming quite widespread, mainly among artists, and promising for its affordability (priced approx. $1200) ---although lacking the level of detail and versatility with materials of the ZPrinters. MakerBot, which uses ABS plastic filament as printing material, was presented a couple of weeks ago (yes, sorry to be late in blogging as my to-do list grows at exponential rate) at the 3rd Ward in Brooklyn. The event was very well attended; artist in residence Kyle McDonald scanned heads of visitors, and the files are available to download at
Thingiverse is the other end of the spectrum of the creative process: sharing. A very strong community of digital artists, designers and “makers” in general seem to gather in several Internet based networks to exhibit their creation and sharing them with other users. The revolution seems to come to full circle, when people are using social media and other forms of Internet based networking to communicate and share their work, almost an answer to large corporation who often make the latest technologies available only at high cost.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is translating into reality, at least for the digital community?