MEDA202 Project synopsis | The Last Word

What is my response to Devices of Wonder?

My response to devices of wonder is going to be aptly titled, The Last Word. The piece is going to be made up of an old briefcase, inside which will house the last word. Mechanically I want to use an Arduino to power super bright LED lights that will be mounted inside of the suitcase so that it can block anyone viewing inside of the case. The idea behind this draws to the idea of the Cabinet of Curiosity, the nature of curiosity, to create a cabinet of curiosity (or in this instance a suitcase of words).

How does my work relate to media arts?

My work relates to media arts, because it engages with the theory behind Devices of Wonder. It is designed using electrical, 3D printed components and found objects. I am also engaging with the theme Cabinet of Curiosities or Wunderkrammer that was explored during this session of Media arts.

Fold-out engraving from Ferrante Imperato's Dell'Historia Naturale (Naples 1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet

Fold-out engraving from Ferrante Imperato’s Dell’historia Naturale (Naples 1599), the earliest illustration of a natural history cabinet

I chose to explore this theme as I feel that it intertwines with my relation to my degree. My practice is Typography, and I like to collect fonts, here-into lies the relation to the Wunderkrammer, a collection of objects, rarities, curiosities, and the unknown is exhibited. In our lectures it was spoken that everyday objects can be used as an artistic medium, so for this project I decided to use the most everyday object, typography.

What do I want my audience to feel?

I want make my audience curious, and play with that emotion, but i also want to tell a story to them as well! To present the last few words of the world, hidden away inside a glowing suitcase, making them question; What is inside the suitcase? What is so special about it? What is the word? Why is it this word? So on and so forth, I want to present the audience with a work that shapes their experience on typography. How it should be something cherished and kept safe, before it turns into a sideshow act.


Artist Research

For this week I have done some research on some artists for inspiration. The artists I’ve chosen to research are Ian Burns and Rebecca Bauman, two Australian artists who caught my eye with works that relate to the theme Devices of Wonder.

Ian Burns is a sculptor that works primarily with everyday objects to create projections or screen based displays. Burns likes to play with the audiences perspective in a lot of his works, primarily in his screen based displays which incorporate sculpture to create ‘illusions’ on the displays.

Rebecca Bauman woks through many different media, using sculpture, photography, performance, animation and installations. She focuses her works around the human pursuit of happiness. Bauman primarily works with color, as she is interested in the relation of it and emotion, using them in her works to play with her audiences imagination.

In Increments 2011, Ian Burns

In Increments is an artwork created by Ian Burns. It is an intricate device of wonder constructed of a wooden frame that Burns created himself. Within the wooden frame is a series of magnifying glasses and light globes that seem to be setup to a grid. As the light globes power up, they project into the magnifying glasses and project upon the wall. The work physically looks like an old display cabinet that has been torn down. Or similarly like a carpenter’s desk that would work on small objects (with his many magnifying glasses and lights)


Ian Burns sculpture. increments. 2011

In Increments, Ian Burns 2011


Manoeuvers 2015, Rebecca Bauman

Manoeuvers is an artwork created by Rebecca Bauman. Manoeuvers is primarily an environmental work, as it is multiple flip top displays that encompass an environment. They were originally used for stocks and bus signage, the displays have a positive and negative color (black + colour) and are controlled through electricity. The way that they move creates a sound that is quite tactile and mechanical. The displays are mounted from the ceiling or floor, allowing room for the audience to explore. “Creating a work and thinking about to position an audience to come to a conclusion or come to a space”


Manoeuvers, Rebecca Bauman 2015, In New Romance, Museum of Contemporary Arts 2016, Aus



Project idea generation

Ideation for my project

For this individual project, we are asked to explore the theme, ‘Devices of Wonder’. The aim of the project is investigate how wondrous experiences may invite audience to engage in a work. Your piece may trigger the curiosity of the viewer that encourages him/her to imagine, speculate, or further investigate the phenomenon you present. This interaction between your work and the audience should be explored in relation to contemporary debates concerning the aesthetics of media arts.

We are going to be making an object based artwork and shall be utilizing audiovisual, kinetic, electronic components, interactive media, or a combination, focusing on the audiences experience with/within the work.

For my project I plan on engaging with my degree, Graphic Design and I am implementing typography into my work. I want to do this as it is my practice, and I want to engage with the audience through type.

Here lies the other part of the project, what will my Device of Wonder become? How will I create a work that engages with my audience’s imagination?

My initial prototype I wish to work with 3D type and lighting. I shall use Illustrator to create the text and transfer it to a 3D printer. Depending on size I am going to have to make it into a puzzle of type, due to the size restraints of our printers here. Mechanically I am going to be using light to create different letters around the work, using shadows to create other words and letters. I will be using an Arduino to power the LED lighting. With this i will be able to program in sensors to pick up movement to direct the light to present different letters.

MEDA301 | Review

My collaboration with Kate delved into domestic violence and the victim. My work fitted in due to the medium of our works through projected text. Equally our practice and themes tied into this, how I was originally wanting to work with how in media words can be lost in the never ending sea of information through the use of typography. Through type Kate wished to create a conversation with the audience by placing them in the shoes of a victim of domestic violence.

Kate and I decided to work together to try and create a piece that incorporated the use of my concept of using a small object as a place to project upon as well as her use of the giant wall behind it to project. This was to create two perspectives for conversation, mine to be “the help” and hers to be “the aggressor”.

For my research on the topic I decided to start looking up websites that offer help and support for those in need, an example is One in Three;

One in Three

One in Three is campaign of men and women who are seeking to raise awareness of the existence and needs of male victims of family domestic violence and abuse. They work with government and non-government organisations to provide help for those being affected by domestic violence.

Through this service and others I created a script to try to be someone offering help to someone in need.

Hello? Please, can you hear me? I know it is hard to see me, but please hear my voice and see my words.

Please can you listen to me. Help is there, we are here and it can be stopped, but we need to listen, too often voices are shut out by their attackers and by media.


Too many times people are told it won’t happen again, and too often people are shamed. Their voices aren’t heard, but it is hard. So please listen, please try to hear me.


Words mean the most, to those who aren’t allowed them.

For my part of the collaboration I am really dissapointed.
This is because I wished I had put more time into working with video mapping, I didn’t push myself to keep practicing the program and incorporate it into my final work and I feel it may have let down my partner. I think now I must keep using the program and get it to work, given the chance I would like to re-do this project and make it work.
Together we worked well, we both talked consistently and spoke about the subject matter, exploring different alternatives and themes we could chase. I would definitely work with Kate again as she was indeed a great partner. We did however not see what our torturers were pushing us to do, which was a fault on our behalf, but I do hope to build upon this.

MEDA301 | Group work, my contribution

For MEDA301 we have gone off into groups. We have been organised into similar practices based on our research. I have currently been partnered with Kate Bennett.

Kate has been exploring ideas based on domestic violence and abuse as her subject matter. Her first iteration of this took place as a large scale projection on the wall of the gallery.

Kate is wishing to play with scale of text, along with the design of text when it is scaled up so much. Her work covered a whole corner of the wall in big bold black and red sans-serif text. She is currently wishing to chase video mapping as a method of plastering the text to the wall. With this she will be able to keep it legible as it wraps around the wall. I too wish to use video mapping to wrap around the surface that I am using.

For my latest iteration I am going to be using a white box that is roughly 15x15cm as a surface to map my projection; my work will work alongside Kate’s projections. My subject matter is based on media and how voices can get easily drowned out. I am using scale primarily to show my message, however with my font choice I am going to use a serif typeface for mine. I feel using a serif typeface would work slightly better, it’s voice would come out a little bit more weary? Otherwise I have some ideas for using a sans-serif typeface, as I feel it could be seen as a calmer, quieter voice.

During my last class Kate and I presented our collaborative work and were able to hear another perspective of how they worked together. Our tutors spoke about how there is a conversation in there between the two works, their interaction and ‘fight’ for space was interesting. This is what pushed the idea of my work being a floating box, and to work offset to Kate’s. Speed and motion is something to be played with, as mine was way too slow and Kate’s was quite fast. If we can settle this motion then our works should co-operate in the space.
The message was also a big topic as we must co-operate to create a conversation. This is where our ideas on our topics came hand in hand, as my work based around text and voices held significance to Kate’s work on domestic violence.


MEDA301 | A bold statement.

Over the past few weeks I have been a tad absent as I have been thinking and thinking and thinking over what my practice really is and why I am doing this. I suppose I wasn’t supposed to go into this sort of detail with it, and maybe spread it over multiple blog posts, but I’m not like that. I have been theorizing as to why text is so powerful and how it can be used in the world around us; A place where voices get drowned out by sound, and text by bright lights.

It is hard to concentrate on something so still with so many different elements drowning it’s voice out. Nowadays typography is usually seen through pixels on Apple computers with all sorts of different applications running simultaneously. In order to retain a strong resonance text must meld in different ideas and meanings, it has to be powerful in it’s expression, it’s physicality, it has to be a bold statement.

This can mean a lot in itself, if it is something political, or someones passion, or a plea for help. As explained in previous posts typography is the design of print media, how it is emoted and what emotions does it create. A bold statement can take on many different forms and ideas. As of today, typography is something that is used extensively to convey ideas and knowledge. It takes a lot to create a bold statement.


I have pondered on the idea of taking away from some works that I have been researching, reverse engineering them in a way that I am going in reverse. So often I have seen text on such a large scale that it is hard to not see it’s power and might. I have the desire to seek the small and mundane, to try and create a voice as loud as projected text on a building.

(Jenny Holzer, Sienna 2009)

However I also wish to incorporate the lighting that one gets from projection, but I wish to also see the effect written or ‘tape’ text could give (using tape to create text). Adding some physicality to text is something quite intriguing as well, as text is never truly felt from touch.
(in saying this)
How can I create a physical sensation with text, with something 2D…..

Why is scale something so powerful with text? How can something that could be microscopic hold the same meaning as something the size of a sky scraper?

How does the design of text aid or subtract from meaning? Are meanings conveyed through the design of text?

How do all of these elements interact with each other? How do you create a healthy blend? Is there a formula behind this?

Why do we place such a high meaning behind print media? And what has it entirely become in this sensory overload of digital media?

Maybe it is to go back, per say go to the origins of typography? To printing presses or further ahead to neon lights?



MEDA301 | Assessment 2 |Out of Hand


Front Design [Swedish, est. 2004]
Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier, 2005
Thermoplastic powder
33.9 x 31.1 x 27.68 inches
86.1 x 79 x 70.3 cm
Edition of 3

During week 5 we went to the Out of Hand: Materializing the Digital exhibition held at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences. This museum presents artworks exploring the ever-present role of digital manufacture in contemporary art, science, fashion, design, and architecture (Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences 2016). Within the gallery there were many works that expressed material discourse of the digital in creation and development of objects. In my exploration of the exhibition I found a work that I had a strong connection to; Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier by FRONT Design (2005). This artwork is one of four created in the series known as Sketch Furniture, however only the Chandelier was displayed at Out of Hand.

Sketch Furniture is a series of artworks which look like fluorescent tubing, 3D printed via a process known as laser sintering (Friedman Benda 2013). Laser sintering (LS) is a type of additive manufacturing, where each section is built through successive layering of powder, fused together by laser heat (Verbelen et al. 2017). LS is more efficient than traditional methods such as injection moulding because it is faster, ultraprecise and is able to produce components with mechanical characteristics that are similar to those made by conventional methods (Kruth et al. 2003). The lighting accompanying this artwork made it seem as if it was glowing from the centre of the loopy mess of pure white material that casts an eerie shadow on the wall behind it. My first impression of Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier was that it appears as if it was materialised from thin air, even otherworldly. There is no indication of its manmade origins, it is as if somebody has materialised their idea from nothing. Beneath the work of art is a name and description plaque and video which depicts the creation process.

Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) is the combination of motion capture technology that records the movement of a pen that is used by the artists, and transfers them into a 3D file that generates a skeleton based upon the lines traced from the pen’s movements. This 3D file is then materialised through laser sintering; a type of 3D printing that uses a laser beam to direct ultraviolet light into a bath of liquid thermoplastic powder. This method creates a 1:1 exact replica of the artists drawing in the bath and solidifies the plastic in the path of this beam (Front Design 2005; Kruth et al. 2003; Verbelen et al. 2017). This artwork is 86.1cm high, 79cm wide and 70.3cm deep. It has been designed so that it may be hung off of a lightbulb where the bulb sits within the centre of the artwork. This element allows for the shadows of the Chandelier to create an artwork in of themselves.

Front Design is a creative group based in Sweden composed of three designers, Anna Lindgren, Charlotte von der Lancken and Sofia Lagerkvist (Front Design 2006). They collaborate to create artwork on a variety of different themes – focussing on less traditional styles. Front Design artworks often convey debates and stories about design, the materiality about it and the immateriality of it (Anna Lindgren & Sofia Lagerkvist 2017). They both share an interest in things that are unusual, magical or technological – often designing pieces which mesh traditional icons with an unusual pairing. A key example of this is their design piece Horse Lamp which imitates a traditional statue of a horse but transforms it into a lamp – a commentary on how animals are now inanimate objects in today’s society (Front Design 2006). Their goal with the Sketch Furniture series was to blend new 3D printing technology with traditional ‘sketching’, allowing the idea of design through spontaneous thought.

The purpose of Sketch Furniture (2005) was to ask a question, “Is it possible to let a first sketch become an object, to design directly onto space?” (Front Design 2016). The artists at Front Design were creating a method to materialise free hand sketches instead of the traditional process of sketching pen and paper before designing the sketch as a 3D file through a computer. This is where they sought the use of motion capture technology to trace the artists pen – therefore eliminating the use of the 2D paper surface. Through this method, Front could materialise the object created from the artist’s sketch through laser sintering without the middle steps of manipulating a design within a computer. A traditional element which would usually be sketched and designed before production is furniture. Front Design has specialised their ethics of cutting out pen and paper through the use of technology and instantaneously skips to the production component instead of the traditional design-production process.

With this combination of motion capture and rapid prototyping, Front Design could create Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005). The video clip supplied with the artwork depicts Lindgren and Lagerkvist drawing the furniture in a 3D space as several motion capture cameras track the movement of the pen. It appears as if a button is pressed on the pen which then activates the tracking within the motion capture program. As the artist draws in the air, the program traces and creates splines off the line art so that it is then printed as a solid object instead of skinny lines. This is then saved and printed as a thermoplastic 3D printed laser sinter – layer by layer.

The coming together of these different elements and materials means that Front Design was virtually able to design in the gallery they were exhibiting in. This approach to materialising the digital and taking away the material aspect of common furniture design is quite unique. Front Design’s question on if it’s possible to design directly into space inherently takes out the middle man of research and development. Equally using laser sintering as a method of materialising means they virtually take the idea right out of the artist’s mind and hand and recording it with 3D motion capture.

Installed in the Out of Hand exhibition, Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier engages the audience in the production and final piece. From a physicality stand point, the audience can generate different perspectives on Front’s take on materialising the digital. Essences of typography and graphic design come to mind, along with aesthetic keys to the human body take shape from the movement of the plastic sculpture. The video supplied allows the audience to digest the immaterial aspects that went into the work. The video editing paints the picture that Front wanted to portray in that the designs were created directly in their space. The enchanting look of the artist’s movements seemingly building the chandelier that is on display presents their argument for their question to the audience.

Front Design generates ideas and perceptions of magic, they are drawn to it in their creative practice. In Out of Hand: Materialising the Digitality we are brought an iteration of this coming together of immaterial perceptions and material development. Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) brings forward discourse about how we perceive the interaction between the digital and virtual worlds, and questions current design methods and ideas.
A critical component of artwork is how the world around it shapes its creation and how the artwork itself shapes the world in turn. In this way, the artists can interact with the world around them through expressing their ideas materially. Usually, this means that they will design their thoughts on pen and paper before transforming these thoughts into a material object. These objects carry the artist’s potential, the immaterial elements, however within Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) there is discourse created from this culmination of the elements.

Front Design’s ideas derive from their fascination with magic. This motive to keep with other-worldly and intriguing design has drawn them to the path of furniture and interior design. This influence is what has shaped their design making method, by using animals, computers and machines. Horse Light (Front Design 2006) is an artwork by Front Design that expresses this conversation with magic and design that is vivid in other works. The 2.4m tall black PVC horse with functional lamp is a slightly clearer visual aid for Front Designs argument on materialising the digitality. It, much like Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005), expresses the blur between digital and virtual realities that is created from modern technologies.

Front Design [Swedish, est. 2004]
Horse Lamp, 2006
PVC viscose laminate shade, metal frame structure and polyester Horse
240 x 230 cm

Another artwork that holds similar ideas and debate on the subject at hand is Alfrim I (1966) that was created by artist James Turnell. It is a sculpture that uses projected light to create the visual image of a 3D cube. Turnell’s work engages with its audience by amplifying their perception creating false ideas on the physicality of the work using this technique. Alfrum I (1966) relies on perspective to express this concept, the same can be said for Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) as Front Design uses the material aesthetic from laser sintering to create this discourse. Aesthetically they create an other-worldly phenomena, Alfrum I (1966) using lighting to distort with the audiences perspective, and Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) using 3D motion capture and laser sintering to question the audiences perspective.

Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) is shaped by the world around it because it is created through a modern technology. The advent of computers, motion-capture programs, wireless peripherals and cameras which can communicate flawlessly with each other allows for 3D space drawing to occur and be saved digitally. Without the 3D process of laser sintering, the artwork would not have the aesthetic that Front Design were intending. This being said, the artwork is a direct form of discourse that challenges the current mechanisms of production. What is perceived within Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) is this potential for how we perceive our ideas. This experiment in design engages with the world around it; it develops a rift between reality and imagination. By pushing the boundaries of the gap between thoughts and the material world we live in, Front Design has created the series Sketch Furniture to illustrate that the gap is becoming smaller and smaller.

Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier (2005) by Front Design is an artwork that engages with the idea of Materialising the Digitality. It’s engagement with 3D motion capture and laser sintering generates discourse. This argument brings the audience in to question how we perceive design and equally the boundaries between the digital and the virtual. Through the sharp movements from the artist’s hand to the silky-smooth texture of the melted thermoplastic powder, we are able to perceive Front Design’s answer to their own question;

Is it entirely possible to design directly onto space?

(Front Design 2016)



Anna Lindgren & Sofia Lagerkvist 2017, Front Design; about page, <;.

Friedman Benda 2013, My Brain is in my Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process, <;.

Front Design 2017, Friedman Brenda, viewed 20/04/2017, <;.

Front Design 2005, Prototype for Materialized Sketch of a Chandelier, 3 edn, 86.1 x 79 x 70.3 cm, Out of Hand: Materializing the Digital exhibition, Sculpture.

Front Design 2006, Horse Lamp, 240 x 230 cm Moooi,

Front Design 2016, Sketch Furniture Performance Design Project, viewed 20/04 2017, <;.

frontfilm 2007, Sketch Furniture by FRONT, 20/04/2017,

Kruth, JP, Wang, X, Laoui, T & Froyen, L 2003, ‘Lasers and materials in selective lasersintering’, Assembly Automation, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 357-71.

Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences 2016, Out of Hand: Materialising the Digital, viewed 20/04 2017, <;.

Spector, N 2017, James Turrell, Afrum I (White), viewed 20/04 2017, <;.

Turrell, J 1967, Afrum I (White), dimensions variable, Projected light

Verbelen, L, Dadbakhsh, S, Van den Eynde, M, Strobbe, D, Kruth, J-P, Goderis, B & Van Puyvelde, P 2017, ‘Full Length Article: Analysis of the material properties involved in laser sintering of thermoplastic polyurethane’, Additive Manufacturing, vol. 15, pp. 12-9.