Assignment 1 = 10 points (Transmaterial Interchange) Designing, 3D modeling, laser cutting, rapid prototyping and posting to your blog

Use 8 1/2 x 12 archival paper sketchbook for three sketches of a cube and abstract form (blobject) coming together. The abstract form must be able to pass through the wooden cube or be held by the wooden cube. You can etch on the cube with raster or cut into it with vector cuts. You will be using:

You will create a SVG file formt and then bring into Illustrator for export into a format that the laser cutter can read. This must be saved as Illustrator 8.

The secret of drawing. Watch how drawing can change the world.

Procedure/Protocol: do three high-quality pencil drawings in your sketchbook thinking about how you can use illustrator, 3d modeling, laser cutting and rapid prototyping on Type A printers to create a relationship between a cube and blobject.

The three sketches are to be 1) perspective view 2) top view and 3) side view of both the cube and how the blobject will enter the cube or hold onto it.

Limits. The square cube can be no more than 3 x 3 x 3 inches.

Critical questions as you imagine your design: What is the scale of the blobject?  The word is held to be a portmanteau, a contraction of “blob” and “object.” How do the materials it would be constructed of impact the work? How might form, color, and site play a role in this work? Are there potential socio/political implications of what you are doing? Does your form reference other things metaphorically? With the box being wooden and the rapid prototype being plastic what are the environmental concerns and life cycle of each object and what are the manufacturing exchanges? The assignment is inspired by the speech titled, “When Blobjects Rule the Earth,” where Science Fiction writer Bruce Sterling speculates in the future of graphic simulation that practical differences no longer exist between computer generated models and physically manufactured objects.

Process: Think outside of the box (pun intended) and imagine the next art-science-invention for your Transmaterial Interchange. Take chances and do not be afraid to ask seemingly silly questions. Will you paint your wooden box or 3d printed object? What color monofilament will you use? Will they come together in unexpected ways? Plan to hang these on monofilament for display for the construction of a class mobile.

Projects are to be sketched, modeled, laser cut, glued, rapid prototyped, constructed, photo documented, blogged about and critiqued.

Example of Cube and Blobject together

Software/machines; we will use in this project: c4D, Illustrator, Laser cutter, TypeA or Ultimaker 2 rapid prototyping system.

Mona Hatoum’s work uses sculptural form and shadow to create evocative and visceral worlds focused on drawing the viewer into emotive and intellectual worlds.

Roxy Paine

Driessen and Verstappen jointly developed a multifaceted oeuvre of software, machines, and objects. They attempt an art a spontaneous phenomenon that creates systematically. Art that is not entirely determined by the subjective choices of a human being, but instead is generated by autonomously operating processes.

Crtical issues about use of plastic ead the article here: Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin’s book Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments, and Epistemologies

Assignment 2 = 20 points (Junk Orchestra) Designing, 3D modeling, rendering, laser cutting, rapid prototyping, constructing, testing, documenting and posting to your blog and performing during the final exhibition.

Procedure/Protocol: Collect 5 junk objects of any kind from the street, trash can or at a thrift store. They must not be greasy or toxic and no larger than 3 feet in any direction. Any thing you bring from a thrift store must be cleaned, washed and disinfected before you bring it into the school for modeling. Use your calipers to measure and sketch these objects in your sketchbook as to how they will join together to make a functional sound instrument. Design connecting parts and rapid prototype with the Type A or Ultimaker + printers to allow easy joining and connections. They can be motorized or pluggable existing objects though not heating elements please unless they are disabled.

Questions to ponder: Do my chosen objects have the possibility to create rich sound or unusual sound or were they selected for other reasons such as they are all beat up or colorful?

Read, watch and be inspired by these links: under projects section

Perry Hoberman Faradays Garden

Trademark Gunderson

Eric Leonardson’s


Neil Feather

How to make a microphone from a pencil.

Additional Reading: Bart Hopkins, Gravikords, Whirlies, & Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments

Assignment 3 = 20 points (Transpecies Growth) Designing, 3D modeling,  laser cutting, rapid prototyping and stop-motion video documentation. 


Sketch your project three sketches and 3D model, print using rapid prototyping on the Type A or Ultimaker 3D printers and or the laser cutting. You can use actual objects and model from that if you like. Objects will be coated with agar a growth medium and then grown for fifteen days while you do a stop motion record with your phone of that growth. Objects should be small enough to allow you to place in a clear glass jar for the documentation or you can use blown glass or plastic vitrine though the works must be kept in a dark moist place and out of the sun. Be careful when opening objects to use a dust mask to prevent spores, viruses or other fungi from getting into your nose.

What is PLA plastic? (PLA) is a biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the United States and Canada), cassava roots, chips or starch (mostly in Asia), or sugarcane (in the rest of the world). In 2010, PLA had the second highest consumption volume of any bio plastic of the world.

Artists Examples

http://www.kenrinaldo.comBorderless Bacteria / Colonialist Cash under projects section

Suzanne Lee: Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing.

Using Fungi to grow materials  Motherboard dives head first into the R+D world surrounding the development of fungi as a viable replacement for plastic, and the people who hope it can lead to a better and more sustainable future.

Assignment 4 = 20 points  (Virtual / Real / Experiential Skins) Conceptualizing, researching, designing, 3D modeling, rendering, posting to blog and you can print and frame or build the project or integrate your models into Unity Game Engine, with first person controller.

You will begin by coming to class with five ideas and quick rough sketches for a new art installation in a major museum in Helsinki Finland called the Kiasma Museum. These ideas can fit a broad theme of interactive art, participatory art, VR, installation, material explorations, and then start to conceptualize and imagine what you will build given an unlimited budget. In discussions with the professor, you will then fully research one of those ideas to add context. You will then create three high-quality drawings of your concept for pursuit and creation of the 3D models. You are required to turn in a 200-word proposal of what you would like to accomplish with your final piece posted to your blog and later printed for the exhibition. For the drawings, you can use pencil drawings with color in your sketch book.

Consider first and foremost your audience and the user experience of your work. What do you want them to experience? What do you want them to see? What do you want them to feel? Are their multiple audiences both human and animal?

Artists to consider:

Carsten Höller disturbs his viewers’ assumptions with interactive sculptures that deliberately and playfully induce doubts and confusion. As a former scientist in evolutionary ecology and olfactory communication, Höller uses the audience as subjects of perceptual and psychological experimentation. His work sets out to study a particular concept. In the past, Höller has made series devoted to the ideas of security, children, love, hallucinations, happiness, animals, games, doubt/certainty, and a group of sculpture/vehicles that looked at different modes of travel.

Think about Amy Youngs and her creation of a shell for Hermit Crabs to inhabit:

Olafur Eliasson uses light and glass to create transformative perceptual and conceptual works:

Think about Zhang Huan and his meat suit and implied strength as well as the grotesque quality of the of the work.

Or the Spider Haus by Ken Rinaldo and the artificial plants that allow the spider to inhabit this artificial world: or the Augmented Fish Reality work that allows a fish to drive a robotic fish tank:

Or Nina Katchadorian and her mended webs, which become strange collaborations with spiders:

Think about Carsten Hoeller and his upside down goggles:

Stelarc is one example of this mode of inquiry and here is a short video of the project Extra Ear:  Stelars third hand:

James Turrell uses large scale installation and light or lack of light to change our perceptual systems. His work encloses the viewer to control and manipulate the way we receive light.

Wim Delvoye:

Ionat Zurr:

Sabrina Raaf:

Project 4 for those who have taken this course once before.

Objective: To create an object of that uses the principles of Biophilic design and is either laser cut, printed on a 3D prototyping machines or 5 renders fully lit and placed in the appropriate context for presentation during the final crit.

This is your last hurrah. You will begin by coming to class with five ideas and quick rough sketches of these and then in discussions with the professor will settle on and fully research one of those ideas to further add context. You will then create three highly detailed drawings of your concept for pursuit and creation of the 3D models. You are required to turn in a 200 word written proposal of what you would like to accomplish with your final piece and we will go over your proposals to discuss artistic and technical merits. You should bring this on a thumb drive on the due date to load on the professor’s computer. Do not email these to me.

Research must be a part of this project. i.e., what artists have informed your approach, what art/science movements etc. Be ready to discuss in class, which artists, scientists or philosophers have you researched and which have influenced you and why?

Sketches and a one-page proposal are a required part of this project once approved.

A good place start is to read this article: and to review all the links below.

Key concepts: Symbiosis, living systems, coexistence, sustainability, green living, recycling,

This project or another project curated by the professor will be presented at the end of the semester show. For your final presentation, you will be required to print one of your 3D works on a 2D printer in our lab and framed professionally by you or a service. You will be graded on this aspect of the project. Additionally, you will present your rapid prototyped project in the exhibition as a sculpture, installation or performance.

You should plan on at least one digital print minimum size 24 x 16 inches or preferably larger, as the scale is an important part of communicating your idea! Please discuss with the professor for larger printouts that can happen on our printers.

While you will be turning in one to two printouts for display in the show and 1-2 rapid prototyped works you are also required to turn in 5 rendered stills at a minimum size of 1024 x 768 at 72 DPI. Each should have a different lighting scheme and camera angle and this can be uploaded to the professor’s computer on the day of the critique to be scheduled.

Remember that if you are planning on presenting your work as a printed image to render your images at a larger resolution of 300 DPI.

Grades for this project will be assigned when students upload scans of their drawings and the five renders to the professor’s folder on his desktop in the computer lab.

Review the following links for inspiration:

Genetic Heirloom series

The Farm Fountain
Turr Van Lalen and Biotopes

The Microbial Home

Moss Table Carlos Peralta biophotovoltaics

Carnivorous domestic robots