Portfolio - Dec 2009 - Siggraph Art Gallery

The SIGGRAPH Art Gallery has a long tradition in presenting unique, inspiring pieces of work, from sculptures, to interactive pieces, to prints, and more. In the past, most of the art was juried, although depending on the chair, curated works appeared as well. Last year, Penn State Altoona’s Rebecca Strzelec established a curated gallery alongside the juried gallery, setting the tone for this year’s format, which covered a number of themes within the discipline of design computation—among them, “generative fabrication”—within a separate space.

“Generated fabrication shows extraordinary work inspired by the physical and biological world, which takes advantage of new production techniques enabled by computation,” says Bentley Systems’ Makai Smith, SIGGRAPH 2009 Curated Art chair. “The innovative structures, sculpture installations, and complex forms in the gallery showed how the computer has unlocked a new field of inquiry in art, architecture, and design.”

The installations, 14 in all, presented design ideas based on one of two themes: generative design and digital fabrication. As Smith explains, digital fabrication shows that the computer—as a medium for artistic expression, sculptural fabrication, or architectural structures and design—has the potential to enter the work at many points along the creative process.

“The theme of the gallery combines two of my professional experiences: in digital fabrication and in computational design software. I saw the gallery as a unique opportunity to show how these two very different worlds can come together,” Smith adds. “I selected the pieces, in consultation with an advisory committee, to show the ideas of the theme across a range of scales, from the nano-scale to large public buildings, and in different forms, such as art, sculpture, furniture, lighting, and architecture.”

Smith believes attendees found the work beautiful and inspiring. She also thinks that it piqued their curiosity about deeper ideas behind the work. “I hope some investigate further what they saw, to discover some of the first principles that make the works possible,” she says. “At SIGGRAPH, people connect with ideas as well as each other, so I wanted to show them amazing work by internally recognized artists that is grounded in techniques which attendees can use in their own practice.”

A selection of images from the Generative Fabrication gallery  –Karen Moltenbrey