[ISEA2011] Paper: James B. Charlton & Olaf Diegel – Digitaterial Gestures: Action Driven Stererolithography


Attempting to reconcile a digital sensiblity with suclptural materiality steeped in the modenist legacy of “truth to materials” we can conceive of a form that is generated outward from its central core. At the center of which, the artist’s body is acknowledged as the performative instrument for production in a manner akin to action art of the 1960s and 70s in which “sculpture is recontextualised within an action” (McEvilley. 99).

This paper explores the theoretical and technical implications of the MORST funded interdisciplinary collaboration between artist James Charlton and engineers Olaf Deigle and Sarat Singamneni to produce a close to real time 3D printer. Integrating motion capture software with real time 3D printing the colaboration is realising a system through which the perfromative gestures of the artist are taransalated into concerete form.

The prototype system capable of produceing 1m2 forms is significant in that it effectively allows the artist to work hands-on with the mateirial digital, providing a sense of materiality central to other sculptural processes and eliminating the latency of conventianal 3D modeling that estranges the artist’s action and material output.

Effectively this allows the artist/perfromer to “draw” a digital/material sculpture. The resulting non-representational forms should be seen as manifestations of the artist’s actions over time. Organic in their appearance, they hold the expressive intent of gesture mediated by technology that renders an embodiment of the artist, freed by technology from the constraints of physical materials.

Central to this project is not simply the the development of a system capable of integrating of several contributory technologies – (4 axis CNC technology, FDM deposition, and CAD software)  but development of a system to capable of curved layer deposition. Conventional rapid prototyping technologies print in flat layers necessitating that two materials be printed to resolve overhanging features. The curved layer deposition process also demands a fast setting thermoplastic print medium that sets almost as soon as it exits the heated deposition head.

The paper, co-presented by Charlton and Diegel will adress both the conceptual framwork and technical resolution of the process as well as discussing approaches to collaborative methodology taken. CONVERSATION WITH STONES live performance sampler

  • James B. Charlton‘s practice is clearly located in the context of sculptural practice he engages a range of physical, digital and performative approaches in an exploration into the nature of the artefact as a field of activity in which the viewer is implicated.  Solo exhibitions include “Be My Mirror” (2011),“TradeAir” (2009), “dForm” (2008),“Constructing Purgatory (2006), “Saunders” (2001), “Why So Quite Child”(2000), Whiteware Ecstasy (1995) and Snow Ball Fantasy (1996). His work has also been featured in curated group exhibitions throughout New Zealand including the Vodafone Digital Art Awards (2005), Interior Horizons (Te Tuhi, 2001) Art Now (MONZ, 1994), Sharp and Shiny (Govett Brewster, 1997). Having immigrated to New Zealand from the UK in 1973, James Charlton gained his BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts in 1982. As a Fulbright recipient he completed his MFA at the State University of New York at Albany in 1986. Remaining in the United States for a further four years, he exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions throughout the USA, and was represented by Akin Gallery in Boston and John Gibson Gallery in New York. During this time he lectured in sculpture at the University of New Hampshire, Monserrat College of Art and the State University of New York at Albany. Returning to New Zealand in 1991, Charlton became one of the founding members of the ASA School of Art Visual Arts Degree, and was subsequently appointed Curriculum Leader of Sculpture in the Visual Art Programme at Auckland University of Technology. In 2008 he left to take up the position of Programme Leader for the newly established Bachelor of Creative Technologies at AUT University  where he lectures in Sculpture and Interactive Media. Current role: Acting Director for Interdisciplinary Unit at AUT University. idot.net.nz
  • Olaf Diegel

Full text (PDF) p. 402-408