Digital Chinese Whispers

Digital Chinese whispers explores the translation of a traditional making process to digital fabrication. The experiment uses an iterative process as a device to explore the relationship between an artifact and its material. In this case, clay throwing and 3D printing were combined to create a new and exciting process. Throwing clay is one of the most hands on and skill dependent forms of making. Digital fabrication on the other hand is automated and can be completed with minimal knowledge of the process. Although ceramics are often seen to have a more premium finish than plastics, 3D printing, like all other forms of fabrication has its own characteristics which should be celebrated. Scanning and printing repeatedly allows for a form of digital evolution. Each process has its own glitches and idiosyncrasies which is then translated through iterations.

We have certain expectations of what characteristics materials will lend a form. What happens when we break it? Reproducing an artifact in another material often drastically changes the impact it has on the user.

Having a material in front of you that you can mold, change, shape, and reshape with real time and real-world feedback simply does not exist in the digital world. Similarly, the ability that digital methods have to instantly analyze and reproduce with immense accuracy is astonishing and unchallenged. Combining the two opposing methods was full of potential.

Altering parameters of scanners and printers provided a wider scope of results and gave glimpses of what may come from repeating the process multiple times. The more abstract outcomes often resulted from faster print settings and lower resolution scans as things were picked up or missed which gave the object the chance to evolve. Even the most subtle changes of texture or material between prints made you revalue the whole artifact. Furthering these experiments, I would delve deeper into the curious world of materiality and exploring the relationship between artifacts and their material.