What Does Virtual Pottery Say About Our World?

What Does Virtual Pottery Say About Our World?

Digital craft creation moves a once artisanal product into mediation via the virtual world.

Lisa Baldini
  • 13 april 2011

Paul Virilio’s Aesthetic of Disappearance teaches us that humanity is moving towards experiencing the world through the mediation of a screen. What does this mean?

Pottery has a history of being some of the first utilitarian objects of human society, But, in the age of cloud computing, the act of physically making objects increasingly disappears. Enter L’Artisan Electronique, a project that moves one of the oldest artisanal processes into the virtual space:

Unfold created -aside from the ceramic printer- a virtual pottery wheel in collaboration with Tim Knapen. This pottery wheel gives visitors a chance to ‘turn’ their own forms. At regular intervals, a selection of these designs is printed in clay and exhibited in the space. In L’Artisan Electronique, pottery, one of the oldest artisanal techniques for making utilitarian objects, is combined with new digital techniques. The virtual pottery wheel was realsied by means of a 3D-scanner and digital design software. However, the installation still clearly refers to the artisanal process of working in clay. The printing process imitates the traditional technique used by ceramicists, in which the form is built up by stacking coils of clay.

Taking Virilio’s substantiation that the screen will be mightier than all objects, we can read L’Artisan Electronique as further supporting comfort with virtual user experience’s dominance over the offline world.

L’Artisan Electronique is an installation commissioned by Z33 Art Centre for the exhibition Design by Performance and developed in collaboration with Tim Knapen and the RepRap community.


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