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"material research" Category


I see your true colours, that’s why I love you


Sunday, May 28, 2017

As soon as I walked to the exhibition, I was faced with two ‘fountains’ if you can call them so. Lex Pott [x], a Dutch designer, a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, uses UV-light and acidic water to explore the “inner colour’ of materials. First fountain is made out of copper, an element that has a green colour when found in nature,however the colour that I saw was orange due to the outer catalysts that accelerate the change of color. Same thing was happening to the fountain on my left that was made out of brass.

 

True colour dome, 2017
The Preservationist

Although I was never a big fan of Chemistry, the project that dealt with exploration of inner, unseen colours really attracted my attention. The two objects themselves are a marvelous visual as well as inspiring method of working. His project has a very close and even straight-forward connection to the Subject – Patina. By oxidizing the metal, the designer creates a thin layer that variously forms on the surface.  Colouring different kinds of metals requires accurate recipes. Pott’s project demonstrates the results of a research on metals and their true colours. By doing such, he reduces the material to its very essence.

 

True colour
The Resplendent

While losing electrons, it seems that the material opens up to the artist and the viewer giving an impression of acquirement of ancient wisdom that was hidden underneath the green surface. I believe that the viewer and the artist have a similar feeling of control evoked by the impression of nature opening its secrets to the human kind.

 

Lex Pott, True colors Dome / True colors Cone. exh.cat.no.4A/B

Roots and Branches


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Go on Wikipedia and start a research for something, it can be the most common thing or notion you think about. Then, start clicking on the first link you see, in the sentence that defines what you are searching for. Again and again. If you arrive on a webpage where you have been before, just click on the next link, so not the first but the second one and see where you will end up. Here is my example :

London

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> capital city

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> municipality
> urban area
> human settlement
> geography
> science
> knowledge
> awareness
> perception
> sensory nervous system
> nervous system
> eumatazoa
> clade
> organism
> biology
> natural science
> natural phenomena
> phenomenon
> experience
> philosophy

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So, this brings us to a crucial point. It shows how important arborescence (which means in French from the trunk to the branches) is in a research process. By starting from a very specific subject, you can end up on something you don’t expect to see, something really independent from your first research. By a system of hierarchy, websites choose for you what you should see, in order to make your research larger and more relevant. The concepts presented through the pages are of course connected, because terms are presented to define the notion you are looking for. That is by the way essential for every website : to give a hierarchy. But how? On what logic?

If you follow the previous example on Wikipedia, you can try how many times you want, you will normally end up on the Wikipedia page related to philosophy.

By placing some hyperlinks, you can give an orientation on an internet reasearch. In that sense, links are super efficient tools. Just have a look to what is offered on an everyday internet journey.

But more widely, from the easiest thing, you can always go to something larger in terms of meaning : groups of living species, geographical regions, etc. By defining something, you need an element with a bigger concept to categorize it. Then, is philosophy the final notion, the highest point to reach?

It is basically more than just a simple category in which we can put everything like a cellar where you come to take an old box once a year to remember your sweet childhood.

 

A dopamine delivery service

By spending time by scrolling down, letting my eyes wandering a bit on the DesignBlog, and repeating the same process previously experienced, I found that article by Olya Troitskaya about a concept that defines pretty well this process. It is called “cyberflânerie”. Have a look at it here.

flâneur (word which comes from the french verb flâner) is according to Baudelaire, quoted by Olya Troitskaya, “a person who walks the city in order to experience it”.

By experiencing a part of the internet content in a certain order, you expect something to get, a crucial information, or just an everyday surprise, your dopamine doses maybe. At least some satisfaction.

Play at this (not)serious game, make this fantastic tool a hijacked object, follow the lines, think about this endless journey, how you move through this digital space in terms of pictures and map, with a starting point and an unreachable end.

Alien Matter


Monday, May 1, 2017


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Strandbeest‘ by Theo Jansen

Large sculptures made out of plastic PVC tubes, able to move on their own. An animal like mechanisms that does not need food, but just the power of wind.
Theo Jansen, a genius that fusions art and engineering, is busy since 1990 with his project called Strandbeests (Beach animals): a new life form on earth, yet unknown for humankind.

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A life form looking at another form of life : What it means to be alive.
I always wonder why is it so exciting for me to watch the Strandbeests moving? Perhaps because I can not define at what I am looking at, is it real?
How to define it?
When I look up the word alive in the dictionary, I came across the meaning existing.

But wait, everything has an existence in space and time, so how can you recognize a life form? People may think, the fact that something is not animating is a reason of a non-life form, somehow no definition feels right to me. There is much more to living than having a heartbeat. There is much more to life than breathing and the blood flowing through your veins. You might be living, but are you alive?
What if matter has a life on its own, able to learn, teach and to stretch its ‘lifespan’ beyond humankind? An alien matter that absorbs intelligence and reaches capacities that go far beyond our own.

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Inspired, I went to Delft at Theo J. exhibition with the hope I could come across his path and there we go: I was able to talk to him. Unfortunately our meeting was so spontaneous,  that I just got a few minutes. Nevertheless it felt like a miracle, he ended our conversation with the sentence man should get rid of its ego, then he will be able to see the real qualities in life.

I got fascinated by his way of being, how modest and grounded he was when we met. He is not an artist but rather a happy victim of his work which is pure functional. The tubes are the ones making the process beautiful.

As miraculous life is, I decided to adopt a Strandbeest myself, the Animarus Ordis Parvus. First It needed to be born so I assembled 117 plastic pieces together. About an hour, the evolution was finished and I had my own beast at home.

During the process something weird happened to me, something I can not explain. It was like a virus in my head : the beast’s rubber feet.

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I got inspired to work with Silicone. Why Silicone and not something else? Something that remains a mystery. What happened to me, at this moment? Perhaps it started to communicate with humans, perhaps it chose me.

Silicone is a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen and other elements.It is generally liquid or flexible and the rubber like plastic has useful proprieties. From medicine to personal care items.

Sometimes there is a confusion between Silicon and Silicone. Silicon is a naturally occurring chemical, a key element in bricks, cement or glass. It is the second most abundant element in our earth crust, after oxygen. Whereas Silicone is a chemical substance that derives from Silicon.

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Silicone often stands as a tool for the use of something else. Maybe it is living, maybe I should threat it as a oneself.

Exploring the matter

I started experimenting and researching on the structure, and I tried to find out some processing and proprieties of the material. I adapt myself to the matter, a constantly evolving process between human and material.

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There are different kinds of Silicone and they all have different proprieties from each other. From sticky to stinky.
The Silicone from the hardware shop has never a clear structure, it is really hard to manipulate while it’s liquid. Impossible to work without mask, it almost intoxicates you.

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The splintered structure could almost be found in nature.

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Birth of Silicone

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Silicone organ

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colour absorption
I experiment with different kinds of tools such as a pencil, a marker, watercolours , acrylic, ink.

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One ting that was completely new for me is that, Silicone can print.
This technique just works with Silicone from the hardware shop, because it is so sticky.
It absorbs the ink while drying and the text or image will appear reflected.

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 At the end, it is hard to discover something mind blowing in such a small period of time. Theo Jansen is still researching on the same material since 1990 and he thinks that there is a long path to be done.

In a constant flow of doing and learning, there were plenty of disappointments on the way. But on the few occasions that things worked out, being connected to matter is such an enriching experience.

 

Composing Chaos


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Composing the chaotic mind

  meeting Hendrik Kerstens

 

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Sound file: music: Dimitri Shostakovich Piano Concerto no.2, Andante

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Meeting people in an age of the internet and social media seems not romantic at all, which I can assure you it isn’t. When we got the assignment to meet a person we admired and make out of this experience a design object, I made a list of artists I considered as being interesting and admirable. Starting with the first name, I did not get any response and waited for a week. I tried another artist but also he gave me a radio silence. Choosing another artist seemed just as interesting and I send another email.
But having to present my progress in the project and having no responses yet, made me feel a little isolated from the world. ‘The inner monologue’ took its place in my mind.
Thinking about this brought me to the feeling that I wanted to make an isolated space which resulted in a mock-up of a room, made out of four wooden walls isolated with foam. The idea was  that a person would be able to stand inside of the isolated space and was able to listen to my spoken inner monologue without the outside world being able to hear it. Of course for me this was not the best idea and I was far from content…

 

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inside my box I got a vision….

Then something great happened. In my inbox appeared an email from the management of Hendrik Kerstens. I have been intrigued by Hendriks work from quite a young age. Interested by the pure combination of modern vision and classic interpretation of the composition of the portrets he has made.

He wanted to meet me. I got into a back and forth communication with his assistant by mail, which resulted after rescheduling and answering questions into a date. Hendrik invited me to his photo studio in Amsterdam.
When I came there at an afternoon he let me in. I was struck by his big black glasses with the kind eyes and the clean and sharp looking white studio with black furniture and equipment.
The room was filled with the sound of classical music which comforted me and everything was organized and clean. We started talking, I asked him questions and he told me a lot of inspiring things. When I asked him about his clean, organized studio, he told me that this was necessary for his chaotic mind to run free. So his surroundings would not interfere with the creative processes in his mind. He said that the process of making a picture was as composing a piece of music. This process he also addressed as sometimes hard to let go when it’s finished and ready to leave the studio. He quoted:

“Art is never finished, but only abandoned.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Hendrik Kerstens surprised me with his enormous power of persistence in his new ideas and projects. He spoke of his desire to bring sculpture and photography together, which he is currently experimenting with. And a future project where he wants to create a close connection between painting and photography. In his vision, one I would want to live by, everything you can imagine is possible.
Hendrik gave me advice in the end and I gave him a print of a pinhole picture that I had made which he accepted with a smile. When he let me out, I felt light and encouraged.

My conclusion after this meeting was that I had to rethink my idea of the isolated space in total, I had been to quick to give in and this good experience deserved a good outcome.
Thinking about my experience the subjects of ‘composing’ and the ‘chaotic mind’ kept running in my mind. Letting this be, I started developing an interest in the material epoxy and especially in its clearness after molding. I made several try outs by molding the epoxy in different plastic, glass or porcelain cups and Tupperwares. The idea was to take the chaotic aspect and function away from the object and create by molding a simplification of the shape.
After drying the objects, some were easy to come out and some I had to break out, some had air bubbles or even cracks which for me became interesting aspect in the idea of a ‘crack in the mind’.

 

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Interested by the molds of the epoxy as well I made molds of clay, to create a connection between the mold and the epoxy. The epoxy in the clay mold gave a watery effect, even after drying it seemed liquid and shiny but would not come out of the clay mold. I disposed two epoxy objects from their clay molds and this created a look which reminded me of the glass smoothened by the sea.

 

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For my last experiment with my epoxy objects, my interest was captured by making an epoxy mold for an epoxy object. My expectations were by filling a bigger Tupperware with epoxy and hanging the already dried epoxy object in it, that after drying I was able to take the object out again and this would leave me with an epoxy mold. But it didn’t, the epoxy object and the fresh epoxy
into the Tupperware had melted together in one totally new object. The ‘melting together of ones thoughts’ created its own existence.

 

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Looking at my experiments resulting in a collection of epoxy objects, a simplification of chaotic objects, the thought arose that I wanted to recompose or rearrange the different objects, creating ‘the recomposing of the chaotic mind’. Therefore creating a grid in which every space had the same measurements (except a special one) so the objects could be recomposed in any position.
My doubt was with the material of the grid: metal or plastic sheets. But fate took this decision from me when I was not able to work in the metal workshop for it was closed and so it became plastic.
The plastic sheets I glued together, creating a clear construction. In retrospect I was satisfied with my decision to use plastic, because of the subtlety, clearness and connection with the epoxy objects itself.

 

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In the end, recomposing a chaotic mind is creating something clarifying. I’m not sure if I would address my final outcome of the design project as ‘clarifying’ rather than ‘clear’. In my opinion I made a composition, in which every object is a ‘clearer’ form of itself.

 

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