Laura Devendorf, School of Information, UC Berkeley

I am interested in thinking critically about the how the design of fabrication systems influences one’s ability to use fabrication as an expressive medium. I was first introduced to fabrication in HCI through domain-specific CAD tools that allowed individuals to rapidly build objects using common materials and a laser cutter (Otherlab Computational Design Tools, AutoDesk 123D Make , Sketch Chair). What I find most interesting about this work is the way in which the design and construction leverages the capabilities of computation. These systems support efficient building processes and also add a new aesthetic to the resulting object. A creative space is opening for new art forms and crafts that take advantage of a symbiotic relationship between computation and construction. The production of these new art forms could have the benefit of introducing new audiences to design and fabrication, and supporting educational objectives through fabrication activities.

I have worked on two projects that explore different aspects of using fabrication as an expressive medium. The first project, AnyType, focused on the process of composing a digital artwork and investigated how individuals were able to construct meaning and express themselves through that process. The second project, Tangles, allows individuals to design and build 3D models. In the next two sections I detail the findings and insights gleaned from these two projects. I conclude with a few open questions. Continue reading