Saturday, May 10, 2014

readymake: bronze 3D prints

This project stems from the work that I posted that involved Scott Kildall and Bryan Cera's Readymake project. I very much wanted to take the project one step further. Scott wrote the following description about what he is doing:

"Readymake: Duchamp Chess Set is a 3D-printed chess set generated from an archival photograph of Marcel Duchamp’s own custom and hand-carved game. His original physical set no longer exists. We have resurrected the lost artifact by digitally recreating it, and then making the 3D files available for anyone to print.

Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s readymade — an ordinary manufactured object that the artist selected and modified for exhibition — the readymake brings the concept of the appropriated object to the realm of the internet, exploring the web’s potential to re-frame information and data, and their reciprocal relationships to matter and ideas. Readymakestransform photographs of objects lost in time into shared 3D digital spaces to provide new forms and meanings.

While 3D digital models are a relatively new commodity, the possibilities for digital fabrication have been rapidly proliferating. Digital relics in the form of images and archival photographs are abundant, and offer a means to rework the value of the art object, making them a perfect starting point for this experiment.

Most importantly, a readymake does not exist solely as a virtual object. Every readymake that is downloaded and produced will see subtle inconsistencies in computer numerical controlled manufacturing – along with the varying 3D printing technologies, variants of specific printer designs, and unique combinations of software and hardware commonly used in ubiquitous DIY digital fabrication systems – always yielding unique results.

Duchamp said in the 1960s, about his readymade creations, “I’m not at all sure that the concept of the readymade isn’t the most important single idea to come out of my work.” Today, in an age of digital fabrication and open source design, the boundaries between concept and object continue to blur. We invite other thinkers and makers to join our exploration of conceptual-material formations — to discover and create with our readymakes, and contribute their own."

I very much want to explore the role traditional Craft plays in our society and in a world that is dominated by rapidly changing technologies. Most of the processes and materials that are used to produce objects no matter how old the process or material, have at one time been the latest technology. My premise is, that there is some confusion about how emerging technologies alone will revolutionize our world. Rather I see that it is the fusion of current technology with traditional material and processes and the people who know how to harness these things that will garner innovation and new ways of thinking. Therefore an in-depth knowledge of a specific skill set and material is essential to be able to draw relationships and to be able to ask "what if" when trying to take advantage of new technologies' potential for change. The material qualities and finishing options associated with traditional materials bring a level of sophistication that are unmatched, not to mention the ability that one has to alter and change the resulting object through the hands on manipulation of material and process, when methods of making are combined.

The craftsperson,artist, or designer who fully understands process and has an material understanding has a redefined role in society due to the rise in Maker culture and the decline of "applied" disciplines or tracts within architecture, engineering, and health sciences. Technology is allowing people from around the world to collaborate in ways never imagined before and it is breaking down barriers created between disciplines. Information can be shared freely and rapidly improved upon. The craftsman's abilities to problem solve and address the needs of others through making has never been of as much value to society as it is now.

In my attempt to "discover and create" (as Scott writes), I decided to combine traditional sand casting with the idea of the Readymake. Several of the vintage lathes that I utilize for the creation of work were created at a time when sand casting was the top choice as a means of mass production. The form that those mass produced machines took was a result of the process used to produce them. What we see as "streamlined design" is actually the result of the concept of "draft" and the requirement to be able to pull the original wood patterns from the cope and drag without disturbing the packed sand cavity that molten metal would be poured into. The process of sand casting is rather immediate even in comparison to 3D printing (once the original pattern is made). Over the years I have seen several wood patterns that have become left over relics or artifacts from our industrial roots. I sought to use the Readymake as a pattern for sand casting that would then allow me to experiment with material and surface finish as well as a way to create multiples of each piece. Over the next few post I will document this process and it is my hope that this investigation will start to clarify a few of the points that I make above.


Have Blue said...

I've been working on my own readymake set, but after seeing this I'm not sure if I have the will to continue - marvelous work! I hope you cast a full set as it will undoubtedly be unique.

Frankie Flood said...

Oh come on! You have to finish!!!!

I have some of these duplicated but the casting the number of pawns needed will test my will to continue. Starting to cast in aluminum for the other half of the set will hopefully keep me motivated.

Bryan Cera said...

Frankie, you have no clue how happy this makes me!!!

Frankie Flood said...

Ha, ha! Glad to hear +Bryan Cera!