You know how your brain gets attuned to looking for whatever you’re interested in, focusing on, paying attention to at the time. I’ve been collecting awareness about artists who are creating objects, materials, buildings, and facades that defy a static existence. The Stone Age is long gone. I might belong to The Bronze Age, since I feel more ease with metals than micro-controllers at this point, but it’s too staunchly stationary and solid for me without the inclusion of elements suggesting life, if not actually alive.
Movement combines with responsive materials to redirect our present relationships with climate, energy, other species, and our own cultural humanity.
Doris Sung works with bimetals that react to temperature appearing as though they are living leaves following the light. Her architectural piece, Bloom, aspires to redefine how our living spaces function in the age of “finite” resources and infinite ideas.
Elaine Ng Yan Ling’s latest series of smart textiles reflects the changing seasons. “As nature takes its course, Wooden Skin and Macro Wooden Velcro shift shape and colour to create an organic responsive environment. Layers of veneer are combined with fabric, reactive dyes and reflective surfaces to create objects that adapt to fluctuations in light, temperature and humidity. This new series, CLIMATOLOGY, is inspired by nature’s invisible energy and how materials can adapt to be more resilient and relevant.”
Jennifer Darmour of electricfoxy offers current trends in wearable technology and product design. When I saw the little 3D printed wearable planters with tiny succulents, I paused because “aaw, cute,” and for awhile I was making escargrows out of shells from Helix Aspersa snails that I collected to eat from the garden. The small calcified spirals were perfect for creating succulent planters, too. And they were created by a living 3D garden mollusk printing out earthy minerals over a number of years.
Which makes me think about 3D printing and how it’s a blind spot, or a stepping stone? in our technological trip to democratic making. The usual plastics are not somehow becoming better for the environment just because the possibilities for incredible forms are seductive, yet there are 3D printers for cement, ceramics, biodegradable plastics, and whatever other living tissues for making bones, kidneys, and hearts, so hopefully the innovation is leading to something that collapses our love affair with circuit boards and non-biodegradables into a full circle, self-composting realized potential.
With 4D printing touting self-assembly, I imagine that I cannot imagine how the organic, synthetic, bio-mimetic engineered fusion will wrap around to chase it’s tail and channel this open loop of transformative creativity.
Skylar Tibbits introduces the self-assembling 4th dimension at TED LongBeach
Will the positive and negative feedback of less labor is more better somehow find a sum greater than its parts? Will the sum be less than the mean average of what the world can contain to sustain? These last questions don’t make any sense, but it FEELS like they mean something on our interconnected, technological space odyssey.
We live in the age of Smart Materials. I’m vividly curious about how we will continue to interface with data, programming, biology, and building to express the fibers of our mental, physical, and emotional galaxies. How close are we to Living Sea Sculptures that self-assemble in seawater?