Incom ist die Kommunikations-Plattform der Muthesius Kunsthochschule

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Postdigital Materiality – Lecture Series, Nov. 2017

nur für Incom-Mitglieder

Since the development of early CAD applications such as sketchpad in the 1960s, digital and analogue design seemed to be strictly separated. Cognitive processes of planning and drawing were located in the studio and limited to the computer screen, whereas the material production of models and prototypes was located in the workshop. But during the last decade, a wide range of techniques of digital production, especially 3D-printing, became available for both designers and consumers. These techniques caused a »material turn« in digital design.

In 3D-printing, the formerly separate spheres of digital and analogue design form a »new materiality« that merges digital and analogue (see Antoine Picon (2004): Architecture and the virtual. Towards a new materiality). This new materiality changes manufacturing and it questions the modernist paradigms of industrial design. We can now make plastic products without investment in tooling. 3D-printing allows ad hoc production of non-serial products, it enables us to realize unseen shapes of high geometric complexity. Users can now participate in design by printing their own things. We can change each product from time to time. In 3D-printing, there are no finite products and no hierarchical design processes.

In industrial design (but also in art and media) the new technologies form a new typology of artifacts as well as new methods and practices. Leaving behind the old paradigms of industrial design, these artifacts, practices and methods reflect the context, the formal possibilities and the material conditions of digital production. They also refer to the larger context of a discussion around the »postdigital« (see: Felix Stalder (2016): Kultur der Digitalität).

Whereas the buzzword 3D-printing dominates the discussion around postdigital phenomena in design, the new materiality cannot solely be reduced to this technique. More general questions regarding the epistemological and methodological aspects of design processes as well as the question of democracy and participation are raised. In particular we should not underestimate the innovative potentials of makers, craftsmen and engineers involved in the 3D-printing community. Their specific knowledge and their skills need to be considered when thinking about the new, postdigital design process.

  1. 11.: Material knowledge: Susanne Bruijnzeels, BigRep Berlin
  2. 11.: Participation and democracy: Malte Bergmann, Design Research Lab Berlin 22.11.: Post Internet Art / Postdigital: Ellen Wagner, HfG Offenbach
  3. 11.: Epistemology of digital technology in design: Moritz Greiner-Petter, IXDM Basel




Wintersemester 2017 / 2018