critics: Richard SARRACH & Ajmal AQTASH.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Matthew LETA & Andrew REITZ: Blurred Lines is a Pratt Institute degree project by Andrew Reitz and Matthew Leta with critics Richard Sarrach and Ajmal Aqtash, along with frequenting guest critics Tulay Atak and Jeremy Carvalho.
We chose plastic as the material to investigate a form-generating process, due to its ability to change states with relative ease; We took advantage of plastic’s liquid state, as well as the effects caused by its cooling to a glass state.
Blurred Lines began with the independent construction of a DIY Fused Deposition Modeling 3-D Printer. We developed a script that would allow us to hack and generate G-code, a programming language used by our printer that uses a coordinate system to navigate space as well as modulate movement, speed, plastic extrusion rate, and other factors.
We modified the G-code so that material depositing would occur in midair at either slow or fast speeds, in woven or parallel patterns, spliced within or occurring at the ends of a traditionally generated 3d printed form. All of the experiments began with a pair or more of barriers or walls that were then used to support or sandwich the midair extruded plastic. This process resulted in emergent forms, or artifacts containing the qualities and behaviors of self-organization. With each new set of input patterns, in each new physical outcome, came a hierarchy of formal effects.
As plastic is extruded in midair, the gravity causes the heated material to slump to form catenaries, or inverted arches. Over the course of the depositing, the catenaries begin to form bundles and apertures that are a result of cohesion, generated by the heat that still resides within the previously deposited strands of plastic.
As each new strand is deposited, it becomes affected by the previous. Any ripple or disturbance within a strand of plastic generated from a slight temperature shift or draft in the wind effects each new strand in an offsetting behavior. Thus, one small ripple or buckle within a single strand could potentially produce an entire rift or structural fold within the entire multiple stranded form. Within this form generating process, fibers converge and fuse together to form elegantly textured volumes, to only break apart again into single strands, thus blurring the potential threshold of an architectural formation. The resulting artifacts contain the presence of phantom lines, or what we like to call “digital matter.” This loss of fidelity between the digital input and the physical output creates a material process that interrogates the means of creating and calibrating the unexpected through the line. As we see it, this is only the beginning of a multifaceted trajectory in material computation research and performative ornamentation that will require years of thought and experimentation before it can reach a clarity and resolution high enough to truly embody an architectural application.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
ML & AR: Roland Snooks; Achim Menges; Mode Lab; Tulay Atak; ETH Zurich Architecture & Digital Fabrication; ICD Stuttgart; Neri Oxman; and Greg Lynn.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
ML & AR: Reading: Sylvia Lavin, Kissing Architecture; Manuel De Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines; Farshid Moussavi, The Function of Ornament; and Roland Barthes, “Plastics”. Listening to: Aphex Twin; The Locust; Chelsea Wolfe; Kevin Drew; Younger Brother; MO; Cocorosie; This American Life; Diplo; and Bibio. Watching: Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job; Portlandia; and Dog Tooth (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos).
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
ML & AR: Che-Wei & Taylor and Duks Koschitz.