University of Oklahoma
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During the spring of 2017 I curated an exhibition of work produced by the students in my digital fabrication and studio courses, as well as artifacts that I made as part of my research activities. The exhibition outlined the pedagogy that is incorporated into my courses, which emphasizes the process of making. Experimentation through the act of making can give materials a prominent role as active agents within the design process. In the work featured in this exhibition, form is the direct result of material properties. In this paradigm, it is understood that materials, and their methods for manipulation, authorize certain form-making actions and prevent others. Form is emergent, and driven by rules that are authored by the material itself.
These artifacts were made with techniques ranging from traditional hand tools to advanced methods of digital fabrication. However, distinctions between “digital” and “manual” become blurred, and dichotomies between software tools and physical tools disappear.
While maker culture focuses heavily on process, this exhibition also emphasizes the final artifact. Using the computer as a design tool can bring expectations of accuracy that conflict with physical reality, and error inherent in human craftwork. These objects celebrate the struggle for quality craftsmanship, which still exists within the digital realm.