Warning! This project uses a oxygen/propane welding torch mounted to an industrial robot. Extreme caution is advised!!
I was an artist in residence for the Fall 2016 cohort at Pier 9. During my residency, I developed a Glass Fused Filament Deposition Modeling (FFDM) Process. This project merges my traditional craft training with strategies of human/machine collaboration.
Tacit knowledge of craft processes has immense potential to enhance emerging technologies. The sensibilities gained through hands-on experience provide sophisticated comprehension of material behavior, physical properties and responsiveness to environmental conditions. These insights have led me to pursue merging traditional craft proficiency with contemporary technology in an effort to expand the boundaries of material processes. I have developed additive manufacturing processes and subtractive molding processes to integrate glass-forming techniques with robotic technology. Some of my projects are here. My embodied knowledge of material processes is essential to forging innovation with collaborative human/machine fabrication.
My past efforts have demonstrated that collaborative robotic fabrication shares elements of acquired skill, similar to analogue fabrication. For complex processes, the human operator must adjust the various environmental and material parameters continually as a participant within the collaboration. These adjustments are refined with repetition, experience and accumulated skill. The feedback loop between operator, robot, tool and material is continually adjusting and adapting; observations made by the operator are nuanced, sensitive and complex. This sequence of observation, analysis, and action is tacit or embodied by its nature. As both an artist and a researcher, my objective is to develop technological systems to support the integration of embodied human knowledge: how can the nuanced behaviors of a human operator be translated to data for the purpose of designing customized hardware and software? At Pier 9, I pursued these lines of inquiry and developed novel fabrication strategies that exploit inherent physical phenomena accessed through the digital automation of process.
First, I pay attention to the physical properties of matter. I look for moments of emerging properties in material phenomena. I perform analog experimentation to observe how material behaves. Specifically, I'm looking an ability to accumulate, stack, fold, and self organize, this phenomena can then be exploited using automated processes.
Glass falling onto a moving surface creates a sequence of sewing machine patterns analogous to the phenomena of viscous threads falling onto a steadily moving belt. By changing the parameters of belt speed, height of the thread, and temperature, I am able to replicate stitching patterns with an industrial robot and a glass.
For the past few years, I've been developing a Glass Printer at the Rhode Island School of Design. This design requires a glass furnace at 2100º F to charge a printing cartridge. At Pier 9, I wanted to make a glass printer that doesn't require a furnace for its stock material. I designed a filament based glass printer.