New Making

Embedding Festival Data With Digital Making

New Making

Data Driven Souvenir

What is a Souvenir?

A souvenir is a memento which is kept as a reminder of certain places, experiences or people. The owner usually has a strong emotional connection to the object and it allows the owner to cherish valuable memories long after it has happened.

I began this project by first conducting second hand research and mapping out relationships between stakeholders at the Edinburgh Festivals. This provided me with a holistic view on the festivals so that I could narrow down on my topic.

Souvenir Idea

From personal experience during the Edinburgh Fringe, I found it difficult to find reliable show reviews. Hence, I felt that through creating a souvenir which uses review data provided by visitors, It will not only make their experience more memorable, but also provide a larger sample of reviews for all audiences.

I then did research on personalised souvenirs. I came across this paper which explores the effects of the visitor’s experience by incorporated an interactive souvenir making activity at the end of the experience. This paper explained that by creating a personal and interactive souvenir, the visitors experience was made more memorable and cherished.

Therefore, I aimed to incorporate this research into my own project.

This souvenir requires the audience to interact with it and input their personal reviews to the shows which they have watched. The show ratings are then mapped to a geographical model of Edinburgh to create a unique souvenir. This creates distinct local ties with Edinbugh’s geographical features such as Arthur’s Seat and The Edinburgh Castle, and creates a bond between Edinburgh and the visitor’s personal experiences.

This flow chart demonstrates how the product could be integrated into a system which can make festivals more personal and memorable as well as helping improve Edinburgh Festivals with the gathered data.

To go along with the data collection, I created an app where the audience can input their data. The app will then generate a mockup of their model.

Making Process

I first 3D printed the data segment as well as the geographical height map. Next, I created a silicone mould of the 3D print. I then moved onto casting resin into the moulds and sanded the edges to create neat corners using increasingly high grit sand paper.

I then moved onto using the CNC routers to create the souvenir out of wood. The aim of this was to create a variety of textures and explore alternative digital manufacturing techniques.

The souvenir was created in CAD and then processed with EASEL to allow the G-code data to be read by the CNC. The machine was calibrated and allowed to cut. After the pieces were cut, they were sanded and stained in order to protect it as well as bringing out the grain of the wood.

Final Product

Finally, I assembled the two haves with copper rods and completed the souvenirs.

New Making

Exploring Dialogues using Material Flexibility

In my task to explore hybrid materials, I decided to focus on making use of acrylic and string. My task explored the creation of hybrid materials whilst incorporate flexibility into a material which is normally rigid and fragile. I then built upon my previous sewing experiences and use sewing as a joining method to explore and experiment with.

I chose to work with acrylic due to its natural rigidity, and its ability to create contrast through laser cutting which incorporates flexibility into an otherwise brittle material. With laser cutting, I created living hinges which allows for a large variety of movement based on the selected cuts. Using the laser cutter also allowed me to create the necessary holes used for sewing which would normally be created by a leather punch.

I then began experimenting with combining the materials in unique and interesting ways which create intriguing dialogues between the duality of movement and constraints. I the first range of pieces which I produced had a limited the range of movement and the complexity was low. Hence I moved on to create pieces which incorporated more dynamic movement through a larger number of combined components. 

It proved to be a tricky process to sew the pieces together as the hinges had a natural tendency to lay flat, whereas I was attempting to restrict their movement by forcing them into odd shapes. It took many attempts of trial and error to create the desired stitching within the pieces, whilst ensuring that I do no exert too much pressure on the hinges.

I also created pieces which captured the movement of the hybrid materials and allow the user to understand the material’s flexibility simply through the material’s static shape. Therefore, I created this structure which is sewn to an acrylic base with a living hinge top piece which highlights the multi-directional flexibility of the hinges without requiring physical touch.

The exploration of Hybrid Materials over the past 6 weeks have been filled with my own almost child-like enthusiasm when I was able to interact with materials in ways I could not imagine. It has provided me with valuable experiences in research, brainstorming as well as hands on prototyping. Although the results of my Hybrid Materials do not currently have any real-life applications, the number of possibilities for further exploration seem endless and certainly could have real life applications in the near future.