Entropy Prototype Testing

November 2nd, 2015 By logan

The biggest thing that I took away from my original proposal presentation was that my project naturally focuses on the process, rather than the end result. That being said, I also knew that I had to modify my original plans for the project. Originally I had thought about using only porcelain clay, and several different coloring techniques. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it served no purpose to show two ways of doing the same thing, and therefore removed the shaving cream portion of my study. It didn’t add anything, and limited the materials I could use. Now that I am only using the nail polish technique I ca n use any clay that I have access to and it doesn’t have to be fired. The only caveat to this is that the dipping has to be done quickly, because un-fired clay, as I learned today, can be made malleable again if exposed to water too long. This means that while firing is not mandatory, I may decide to do it to prolong the life of the object and not risk it falling apart during the dipping process.

Fortunately I know for a fact that my concept will work, and now I have to focus on the execution. There is no doubt that Processing can create randomized lines, nail polish will form a film on top of water, and the polish will adhere to clay when dipped into the water. With the “how” determined, now I need to focus on the “why”. Why do I want everything to be randomized? What purpose does it serve? What does it say about the correlation between craftsmanship and design? While these questions may seem rhetorical, they are in fact relevant to the process.

Several of the papers we have read this semester dealt with the ideas of craft and process, using specific examples in the paper but applying the ideas to the industry as a whole. Tim Ingold’s paper, for example, started out with the quote from Paul Klee of “Form-giving is life” and “Form is the end, death”. This idea of creation being the primary goal, with the end form being an almost unnecessary by-product, is the crux of my project. If the end result looks interesting, then that’s just an added bonus. If it looks terrible and ends up in the garbage can, that’s also totally alright. The core tenant of my project is the idea that creating is more important than creation. This is something that a lot of people could learn from, because I know that a lot of 3D modelers start out with concept sketches and get too focused on making it look exactly like it, as opposed to letting it organically change through the modeling process.

A supplementary idea in my project is that of computer-guided art. In most art that takes place at least partially on the computer, the user is trying to be as careful and precise as they can, and telling the computer explicitly what to do and how to do it. This project turns that idea on its head, where the computer is telling the user what to do. Granted, the user (in this case me) has to write the program, but this is why the program is randomized. It removes the largest portion of control that I have over what is generated. Instead of the crafter, which would be my usual role, I am instead the manufacturer, being told what the crafter wants and trying to do it as closely as I can to their specifications. This metaphor falls apart slightly upon scrutiny, since I am setting the factors that the computer can choose from, but that’s what manufacturing companies do. They say “These are the materials we have for you to choose from” and the crafter has to make the decision at that point. So the loss of control makes the project take on a life of its own, with the computer being the production lead.

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