Make It Memorable

Light installation at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

‘Make it memorable’ is a collaborative art installation where people come to share their memories of the festival placing concealing them in tubes within the installation.

The data is used in a way that gives people complete control of what they wish to share whilst remaining anonymous among other contributions.

It shows how data can become something beautiful and inclusive, allowing for people to connect their stories and experiences together as one. The installation then becomes a memorable souvenir within its own right.

At night, the installation comes alive; a correlation between colour with positive or negative emotions and experiences. Individuals will be asked to choose a colour to illuminate their tube which best represents their written response. This turns the installation into a live physical data representation of the participants individual experience of the festival.

In the duration, a time-lapse will be generated to show the progression of people adding to the installation, which can be sent to every participant if they wish to keep the souvenir digitally. The installation can be dismantled and reassembled, whilst also reusing the tubes in a bid for slowing consumption and reducing waste.

The project we have been given is how data can be used to inform the purpose of a souvenir. My research led me to look at ways of how a souvenir can become more than a object, focusing on the overall experience that remains when visiting the Edinburgh Festivals. A souvenir is:

“something you buy or keep to help you remember a holiday or special event

Fleshing out ideas of how to represent a souvenir

One issue of this project is how to represent data in a non-invasive manner keeping people in control of what they share. Could a souvenir be represented through art installation using dynamic responses such as light to represent the data? I abstracted the meaning to redefine the words ‘data and souvenir’.

Development of the tube used to conceal the memory data

I designed a tube in Fusion360, with  ~110 mm length and ~35 mm diameter, to accommodate a scroll of paper but small enough to have thousands of these tubes attached to the installation.

The tubes would be clear acrylic or toughened glass with a simple engraved design on the outter part. This added an aesthetic and also acts as a grip.

The tube consists of two separated chambers, the lower chamber conceals the LED light, leaving the upper chamber for the paper. Two lids seal both chambers.

I then 3D printed the tube, which didn’t work as planned. The bottom chamber cracked as there wasn’t a complete void extrusion in the lower half, I drilled a hole in to see if it worked. Due to the chemical components of the piece, its flexibility meant that a precise hole could not be created, which the crack appeared. The upper part of the lids also were too thin (1mm) which made them break.

I fixed the void extrusion and the thickness of the lids with more success on the second print.

It’s also worth noting the tubes were clouded on the inside and so toughened glass would be a more suitable material for transparency.

I wanted something such as tubes that people can place their memories and experiences into. This required a sculptural body in which the tubes can be inserted. This would be constructed from aluminium mesh with supports for the tubes welded in place. The height of the installation would be 2100 mm (standard door height) allowing taller people to reach the top whilst walking freely underneath.

Once each person has written their memory, they are prompted to choose a colour that represents their shared memory via LED lights.
A map of Edinburgh using the Royal Botanic Gardens as the location of the installation

After much deliberation, it was suggested that the Royal Botanic Gardens would be a prime location for the installation. There needed to be a secure location that would help divert people away from the city centre whilst still remaining central to the city.

The Royal Botanic Gardens. Image sourced from online

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, also allows for people to submerge themselves within nature, a welcome respite from the hubbub of crowds in the city centre. The Gardens lock up at night, keeping the installation away from theft and vandalism- a concern that if the installation were in an open square, its fate would follow.

Installation at night
Final Prototype of tube

Thank you for reading.


Tensions with old and new…

(Final artifact)

For this project, we looked at how 3D fabrication and traditional craft methods could be combined to purpose a new and experimental materiality from it.

Initial thoughts and ideas…

(image 1) CNC cut Half-lapped Dovetail Joint in scrap wood

I decided to explore the theme of having a traditional craft, and then experimenting with how that could then be 3D printed using a variety of machines. I Found Japanese joinery of particular interest as it takes a great amount of skill and craftsmanship to create the intricate details and precision that is required for buildings or other structures. There is also an aesthetic as much as there is a function, there needs to be strength but equally a small amount of flexibility for the joints to move should there ever be an earthquake.

(image 2) Half-lapped Dovetail Joint – 3D printed

The images, show my attempt at using both CNC and 3D printing to create a half-lapped dove tail joint. I wanted to explore how two modern technologies through the method of traditional craft could combine together as one joint. I used Fusion 360 for the modelling and had no issues, until it came to the CNC machine. The CNC is limited to how much it can cut away due to its X, Y axis and round drill bits. This creates curves (radius depending on size of drill bit) and so it meant I could not fuse the two processes as one without there being some small curves.

(image 3) Curves can been seen in the corners
(image 4) Fusion 360 japanese joinery ready for 3D printing

Since realising the CNC machine is limited for what I wanted to try and achieve, I decided to experiment with some more complex forms to then 3D print.

(image 5) finished cross joint

I decided from here to avert my attention elsewhere as I felt slightly limited with my ambitions and the limitations CNC for woodcutting presented.

(image 6) Plasma Metal cutting stainless steel and 3D printing combined

As I adverted my attention away from Japanese Joinery, I started to look at how metal can be worked, and what is often considered possible in terms of size and scale on such an industrial piece of machinery.

I decided to further experiment with this juxtaposition of intricate pieces (joinery) and how that can be assembled in new ways whilst operating with robust machinery such as the Plasma cutter. I used AutoCad for the shapes and then proceeded to use the CNC plasma cutter.

Initially, my first experiments failed and fell through the gaps from the force. Still, I wanted to see how small and fine the detail could be until I achieved my goal (see image 6). however, I was still limited with fixing the pieces together as I had initially plasma cut the central circle piece out of stainless steel. There were no grooves for the pieces to slot into and so I commenced my ideas of how to hold the two together as follows:

  • weaving thread around each metal piece
  • gluing
  • sawing
  • soldering

None of these worked for a variety of reasons- the weaving was not strong and the pieces did not stay in place, gluing metal, even with super glue serves no purpose, sawing sort of worked…however it was extremely inaccurate, solder does not stick to steel as it turns out.

One other exploration I wanted to develop was how things can be joined but without the help of welding or combining two things together as one.

As sawing was my best option, I then thought about how other printing methods may just so happen to be extremely useful. As the steel is only 1mm thick, it meant that in order to create a slot, the other material also needed to be 1mm thick.

(image 7) TinkerCAD 3D printed disks

By using the 3D printer I did not need to create an infill due to the thinness of the steel structure being 1mm thick.

Final artifacts

(image 8)

Once I was successful with slotting the pieces into the 3D printed disk, I could then explore materiality and further investigate methods of weaving whilst using natural materials seen in image 8. A mix of wool roven was twisted and woven in and out of the metal piece then I secured the wool with hemp thread, which is a tough thread unlike twine that I used earlier on in the combining process. I used a back stitch technique that not only secures the wool but also creates linear lines up the sides, defining the structure.

(image 9) delicate ultra fine handmade paper

Still keeping the structure, I still wanted to investigate the relationship of how something robust and strong such as metal, can be interlaced with a material as delicate as fine handmade paper. It was difficult to pierce the paper with a needle but managed to successfully thread it through the small holes are the ends.

For me these two final artifacts are extremely valuable to my broadening of how traditional craft and modern 3D fabrication techniques can be combined to create something new.