Monday, 27 September 2010

Lab Craft: Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft

We went to Tent London in the Truman Brewery building, Brick Lane on Saturday. I've been really looking forward to seeing the Crafts Council's new touring show, Lab Craft: Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft which was showing here.

The work of 26 makers have been chosen, all of whom augment their craft practice with cutting-edge digital technologies such as rapid prototyping, laser cutting, laser scanning and digital printing. The show "...explores the use of technology as an extension to the capabilities of the human hand."

Amongst the exhibitors are weaver, Ismini Samanadou and designer Gary Allson. Both are also currently showing as part of Oriel Myrddin Gallery's warp+weft show, their collaborative work experiments with weave patterns and laser cutting techniques in wood.

I was intrigued by a piece by Michael Eden called Babel Vessel, made from nylon with mineral coating. The top of the piece is cut with a digital pattern which behaves like a code. By downloading an app to use with a smart phone one can photograph the pattern which in turn brings up a website about the show. The possibilities for museums and exhibitions are very exciting; a kind of real-time hyper-linking process. It also has the slightly arcane wonderment of the world of secret codes and languages - a touch of Indiana Jones! This app could be used throughout the show when the little digital icon was shown next to a piece of work.

Michael Eden - Babel Vessel 1 - seen here

I am fascinated by the aesthetic language which is emerging through these techniques; born of the processes themselves, contouring, forms and surface pattern defined by layering, cutting and printing technologies.The exhibition left me feeling really excited and energised, many questions are raised about the nature of 'craft' and the handmade in a digital world, but they are asked with eloquence and skill. Here's a link to the essay about the show written by curator, Max Fraser.

Zachary Eastwood-Bloom - Information Ate My Table - seen here

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