Kerfed Plywood Stack

Generative Art & Digital Fabrication

My studies at Wesleyan University included two courses that focused on the intersections between design and new design technologies. These courses diverged in their physicality—Generative Art concentrated on software as an artistic medium, while Digital Fabrication explored how to use software to create novel physical forms.

I first delved into Digital Fabrication and began experimenting with laser cutters and 3D printers. My final project (pictured above and below) played directly into the theme of using software to bend reality. Literally, I used digital patterns to laser cut plywood such as to make it flexible (a process called kerfing). These pieces held their shape through glue and tension, evoked the sinusoidal forms of sound waves and could stack to form a sound barrier, albeit one meant to shape sound and not block it entirely.

Kerfed Plywood

In the realm of Generative Art, I developed tools using the Processing language for creating art. One resulting software allowed users to move stacked squares across a three-dimensional volume and create unique compositions. Each square had randomly generated attributes including velocity, drag, shape, width, and color. Finally, the user could manipulate the camera to capture various perspectives.

Processing - Export 1Processing - Export 2Processing - Export 3

Software is only useful if it is user-friendly. I implemented a menu interface that provided the user with instructions, as well as adjustable bounds for controlling the generation algorithm. Still, the user would never have complete control—the randomness factor was an integrable part of making the tool fun.

Processing - GUIProcessing - GridProcessing - Default Generation

Another exploration in software was with Rhino 3D and parametric modeling. Using the Grasshopper visual language, I created a structure that generated forms much like circus tents. The structure would originate from an input of data, in this case a JPEG file, and then generate a tarp with supportive beams of varying width, as well as light sources to boot.

Grasshopper - OverviewGrasshopper - Light RenderGrasshopper - Dark Render