See/ Lab Craft: Digital adventures in contemporary craft/ 2 May to 1 July 2012
Lab Craft features 26 makers who combine the hand, mind and eye, technical mastery of tools and materials and aesthetic sensibility, with cutting-edge digital technologies such as rapid prototyping, laser cutting, laser scanning and digital printing. It explores the use of technology as an extension to the capabilities of the human hand.
The exhibition is curated by design commentator Max Fraser, in partnership with the Crafts Council, and designed by maker Tomoko Azumi. It includes work by some of the most experimental names in craft and design including; Tord Boontje, Michael Eden, Gareth Neal, Timorous Beasties and Nina Tolstrup, with many showing new work. It features textiles, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, glass, lighting and much more.
Two commissioned films will accompany the exhibition; one exploring process, showing footage of work being produced using a range of the new technologies and the other will be a series of talking heads with the exhibited makers and key figures in the field of digital making.
Today we live in a Digital Age; a time when technological advancements are presenting craft practitioners with liberating opportunities. A new visual language is emerging. A language which involves manipulating, distorting and exploiting the parameters of digital software and fabrication tools. These tools enable the production of objects that move beyond the limitations of the hand. Imagine objects three-dimensionally printed from a bed of nylon powder; shapes appearing to seamlessly morph and merge with each other; materials etched and cut by computer-controlled lasers and milling machines; movements and sound waves captured and translated into physical objects by sensors and scanners; and new forms randomly self-generated by computer software.
Lab Craft presents the imagined as real objects. As the human touch is considered a pivotal anchor in the definition of craft, is this made redundant amid the adoption of digital tools? Does digital perfection allow space for the great charm of mistakes? Far be it from spelling the end of craft as we know it, Lab Craft presents an exciting extension to the maker’s toolbox by showcasing a variety of items that utilise digital technologies, wholly or in part, in pursuit of pioneering new outcomes.
Max Fraser is a design commentator, working across media including books, magazines, exhibitions, video, and events to broaden the conversation and expand perceptions around contemporary design. He is the editor and publisher of LONDON DESIGN GUIDE.
The makers featured in Lab Craft are; 1234lab, Gary Allson, Assa Asshuach, Tomoko Azumi, Tord Boontje, Melanie Bowles, Philippa Brock, Committee, Shelley Doolan, Michael Eden, Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, Jo Hayes Ward, Tavs Jorgensen, Chae Yong Kim, Lazerian, Lynne Maclachlan, Geoffrey Mann, Justin Marshall, Drummond Masterton, Gareth Neal, Daniel O’Riordan, Jo Pierce, Ismini Samanidou, Timorous Beasties, Nina Tolstrup and Daniel Widrig.
Metropolitan Works at London Metropolitan University is the graphic sponsors for Lab Craft.
Lab Craft Curator Max Fraser has written an essay that runs alongside the exhibition and is available to download below.
You can find out more about Lab Craft where you can also contribute your thoughts on the exhibition at the website www.labcraft.org.uk.