Series of Dreams
Workshop taught with Stefan Maier for the DEX workshop at the INDA, International Program in Design and Architecture of the Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
"Wasn’t thinking of anything specific
Like in a dream, when someone wakes up and screams
Nothing too very scientific
Just thinking of a series of dreams
Thinking of a series of dreams
Where the time and the tempo fly
And there’s no exit in any direction
‘Cept the one that you can’t see with your eyes"
Bob Dylan, Series of Dreams
1 Workshop’s objectives and Conceptual Framework.
Common-sense: technology and humanistic notion (form and symbolism, for instance) are opposed notions. Here we find technology: progress, innovation and science. There we have form and symbolism. In-between, an opposition. Such opposition may be looked at in many ways. Usually, the ones working in one of these two directions look at the other suspiciously. The first one is accused of being positivistic, scientist and ideological; the second one is blamed to be anti-modern, nostalgic or - at best - anachronistic. This workshop’s aim was to challenge such a dichotomy, asking students to design an object and elements for a world in which myths, legends, dreams and technologies coexist, accepting the fact that human culture comprehends mythical and archetypal instances next to new possibilities given by technologies, new languages and tools.
Students have be asked to design all-together a lamp for dreamers. First, each part has been designed by accumulating different objects, producing a fragmentary, imperfect and possibly incomplete result, but all the more interesting because of this reason. Then, these parts have been infused in multiple forms and languages as to produce a sort of collage of fantasies and dreams.
Students have been asked to work on their designs following three steps. Step 01: Definition of a Dream - composition: the choice of symbols, shapes and figures to be used in order to produce a “meaning”. These entities have been downloaded and kitbashed and assembled in order to represent a dream, or a nightmare, in order to be 3d printied. Step 02: Abstraction. In this phase, the composition has be abstracted and rationalized via laser-cutting technologies, in order to create the dreamy landscapes of the dreams. The result of the together aims to be a sort of assemblage/surrealist play. Step 03: Collage. Inside this dreamy landscape, students have allocated old lamps in order to be reused, re-texturized with collage technique and literally immersed in the world of dreams.
A library of digital elements, developed from pre-existing, digitally modelled (with Blender) or scanned objects has be elaborated. Deriving from this library, components have been composed to a 3-dimensional collage, after a series of tutorial about the traditional additive workflow, and lectures about the topic of additive composition. Once the composition has been defined. Additionally, differing levels of details and resolution, obtained by using different fabrication techniques (laser-cutting, CNC milling, 3D printing and hand-crafting), have increased the level of affordance and perception.
Beside a conceptual and theoretical agenda, the intention of the workshop was to combine both digital and analogue craftsmanship and to spoil their limitations. Students have worked separately, then in groups of two and finally all together on interlocking parts with different levels of abstraction. In the initial phase, students were asked to develop an asset library: an archive of selected digital assets (digitally modelled as well as 3D scanned objects), which allowed each individual to contribute, modify and share objects within the collaborative library, which therefore evolved and expanded constantly. Each of these selected objects may have had an underpinning meaning. Bringing them with each other meant to compose narratives; the result was a (sometimes weird and dream-like) collage of symbolic forms. Furthermore, it discusses how a single object relates to others, and how these parts create a whole. And to even spoil this idea: these individual compositions were then again implemented as single assets, which have been used in relation with other compositions. This process, in a way, defines the collage of collages. Each fabrication process has its specific limitations: A 3D print is depending on the right usage of material in combination with the suitable combination of heating and cooling; the final resolution is heavily defined by the height of the individual layers. While working with a laser-cutter, this is set by the thickness of material used for cutting. These restrictions can also be seen as potentials and taken for granted, by including them into design process: different fabrication methods and differing parameter settings in the fabrication process can create varying levels of resolutions, which guide the user’s affordance and may result in a higher or lower degree of abstraction. With this in mind, we examined the potentials of CNC Milling, Laser Cutting and 3D Printing as well as texture painting and integrate them as part of the design process. The final outcome combined all those fabrication methods into one whole, which consists of different interlocking parts, with differing levels of resolution and abstraction, all together in one composition.