Team: Salvador Cortez / Cheng Lu / Avra Tomara / Nikita Troufanov
Instructor: Peter Testa
Robot Lab Coordinator: Jake Newsum
an· i· so· tro· py : the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions.
Anisotropic Formations is a proto-architectural exploration of anisotropic aesthetics and structures through vector based 3d printing. Taking inspiration from 3d printed fashion, composite sail manufacturing and experimental application of 6-axis robotics, the project takes the anisotropic approach as both an aesthetic and a fabrication logic. Anisotropic geometry is vector-based and is directionally dependent. Combinations of these vectors result in rich surface and 3d qualities of varied densities, hierarchies and multi-directional layering.
There was an imperative to pursue this design research in a post-digital platform, stepping out from the Euclidean flatness of the computer screen onto the non-Euclidean platform of the physical. Plastic extrusion provided direct access to vector geometry in physical space, enriching it with material agency. Flexibility of the scaffold allowed for multiple configurations and other possibilities. The project was realized through a series of iterations that subjected the design agenda to a series of different machining workspaces and digital-to-physical workflows. From Cartesian workspace of a conventional 3d printer to spherical workspace of multi-axis collaborative robotics and from vector based workflows of 3d modeling to motion based work flows of animation.
Christiaan Zwanikken’s installations are like an interactive Wunderkammer and include configurations of shrieking, clapping and ticking curiosities generated by machinery, as if in a futuristic zoo. His new work, Exoskeletal, pays homage to the Mayan legend of the ‘Animal Spirit’, known as Nagual, where a human being through sacred rite has the power to turn him/herself into an animal by way of shapeshifting.
The Exoskeletal is a robotic, body-extension suit consisting of a real boar skull which has been reanimated with animatronics mounted at one end, and an adjustable mechanical harness at the other end. The Exoskeletal becomes anthropomorphic as it is worn, extending the human body through mechanical prosthesis, pointing to the evolution of the human species.
As a form of hybridisation, a performer demonstrates how it is to be incorporated into a human-animal-machine with an extra mechanical limb. Instead of being the operator of a machine, the performer not only interacts with the work but becomes it; automated and extended. Like a Nagual, entering into a journey of metamorphosis, passing through the phases from human, to animal, to machine, and back to human.
The Exoskeletal functions as one operational system where, the human body and the animal robot are in a state of symbiosis, a harmonising of the technological and the natural.
Zwanikken has recently exhibited at American Museum of Natural History, New York and at the most recent edition of ISEA.
"As for the suspicion I express that human beings are robots, are machines: (...) I tend to think of human beings as huge, rubbery test tubes, too, with chemical reactions seething inside." - Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Breakfast of Champions
Machinarivm (2010). Commercial vided for FIAT group - Stop motion animation - photography by Filippo Gallino. Music by Thomas Newman