Chad Eby, Cylinder #5 from the containment studies series
These form studies embody tensions between seed geometry within a regular grid and the influence of the “natural force” of subdivision surface smoothing. In this case, random selection marks some faces of the tubular seed primitive for extrusion and invagination—a process that blows the form open and creates a double-walled vessel. Smoothing then curves and contracts the polygonal skin, drastically increasing the ratio of enclosed volume per surface area (a common adaptation of living organisms), giving the object a biomorphic appearance. And yet, the ghost of Descartes is a persistent one…despite the uncanny mesentreric folds, evidence of the grid is everywhere…
3D printing pushes these digital forms into corporeal reality, across that other Cartesian boundary, in a process that seems hard to name: “realization,” “objectification,” “reification” are all freighted and creaky with other concepts. Whatever we call it, I feel what is most significant about digital fabrication technologies, particularly these early ones with their crude nature and idiosyncratic artifacts, is that they allow us to see how the digital is fundamentally different than the physical, how the model (always previously a purposeful abstraction) can swell to be richer and deeper than the thing it purports to represent—how the map can cover the territory.
With a background in digital art, cultural and media theory and a long-standing interest in the relationship between people and technology, Chad pursues projects involving mapping, translation, sound, digital fabrication and light. Former faculty in art and design at Florida State University and co-founder of FSU’s Facility for Arts Research, he is currently posted at the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm as a member of the Mobile Media Services Lab. His mission there is to investigate ways to connect physical and digital spaces through light and sound. Whenever possible, he likes to slip away into the Stockholm archipelago, preferably by steamboat.