A course on postdigital design and fabrication. Students were introduced to a holistic design method and control of construction andinterraction of the construction.
A chronicle of how an academic course became more extrovert, by means of open source design and participating in a series of expositions, making it a knowledge producing activity.
Author: Anna Rizou, Eirini Vouliouri
University / Institution : National Technical University of Athens | School of Architecture
9th Semester Elective Course
Academic Years 2013-14 & 2014-15
// Deleuze + Guattari on Tinguely
In Tinguely, the art of real distinction is obtained by means of a kind of uncoupling used as a method of recurrence. A machine brings into play several simultaneous structures which it pervades. The first structure includes at least one element that is not operational in relation to it, but only in relation to a second structure. It is this interplay, which Tinguely presents as being essentially joyful, that ensures the process of deterritorialization of the machine, as well as the position of the mechanic as the most deterritorialized part of the machine.”
Deleuze & Guattari, “Anti-Oedipus”, p. 476
With a theoretical background borrowed from Jean Tinguely, a Swiss artist known for his kinetic art or sculptural machines, which he himself called metamechanics, meaning the concept of a machine that could produce its own artwork.
// general context
The course intended to familiarise the students with concepts, examples and tools that show how the processing of information and the parameter of interaction are introduced in design and construction, redetermining the landscape of architectural synthesis. Emphasis was also laid on a current shift in the digital era, where the notion of digital is set beyong the context of ‘immaterial’ (immaterial communication, physical reality enhancement etc) and revisits the ‘physical’ as one of its integral constituents.
// course desription
Through a series of lectures, students were intitially introduced to the concepts and practice of interaction design and digital fabrcation. The lectures included an analysis of current architectural issues that result from the connection of design and fabrication with digital archives, in the context of a design-fabrication continuum.
Furthermore, by learning and using open-source software and hardware (grasshoppper, arduino and processing platforms), knowledge was produced, in a bottom-up manner. Hands-on experience not only enriched the students’ skills and their frame of working, but also led to a variation of results, fully accessible by the next generations to come.
The aim of the exercise was to make each participant go through all the stages of the design process, starting with the conception of an idea and continuing with its elaboration and development through digital design tools. Subsequently, the respective list of materials (pieces of code, electronics, hardware) was created so that the project could be actually fabricated. It all ended up with the fabrication of several Tinguely projects, constructed mainly through laser cutters, computer numerically controlled machines (CNC machines), arduino, sensors and actuators.
Loops in this bi-directional process in all design stages shall prove that digitally controlled materiality should be taken into consideration from the very first stages of design.
Students were called to design an interactive structure inspired by the work of Jean Tinguely, analysing the concept of metamechanics (term coined by Tinguely to characterise his self-referential machines) and moving forward to the contemporary suggested concept of postdigital and the construction of interactive applications.
The use of sensorial systems, activated by the Arduino platform, in collaboration with parametric design programs was given in the course’s design brief.
The most innovative step made in the evolution of the course, has been the direct transition from the design concept to the final, 1:1 scale fully functioning product.
Avoiding the architectural tool of the scaled-down model, from the very first prototype to the final construction, all aspects of the design had to work in full scale. Therefore each step had to lead to an evolution, a redetermination rather than a series of transformations.
>> Adhocracy Exhibition @Onassis Cultural Centre, April 29th – July 5th 2015
Exhibition of Tinguely v.01 projects, as part of the FAB Athens entry
>> Presentation + Exhibitions of the projects within the NTUA School of Architecture
v.01: June 4th + June 10th, 2014
v.02: May 14th, 2015
// Course Title:
Digital Design and Manufacturing
“From Metamechanics To Postdigital – Homage to Tinguely”
Invited Teaching Assistants:
Aimilia Karamouzi, Charalampos Triantos, Eirini Vouliouri, Katerina Bali, Giorgos Adamopoulos
Associate Teaching Team: Panagiotis Vasilatos, Athina Stavridou, Matthaios Papavasileiou
Invited Teaching Assistants:
Charalampos Triantos, Eirini Vouliouri, Katerina Bali, Giorgos Adamopoulos