Appropriating new technologies to serve an aesthetic exploration

One of the oft-presented definitions of media art is as the appropriation of (often new) technologies to serve an aesthetic intent that is unrelated to the original design.

Many media artists have explored / experimented with 3D printer technology. But the below video must be one of the most genuinely interesting I have seen. Instead of understanding 3D printers as machines that produce physical forms, this work appropriates the physical mechanism of a 3D printer (a ‘head’ that can move along the X Y Z axes) to sort rocks!

Notice that the machine has a very dominant sonic presence. Whilst sound itself plays little to no role in printed 3D forms (unless one is printing out a 3D musical instrument, of course), this work recognises that 3D printers and their mechanisms introduce a whole array of sonic artefacts into our everyday life experiences.

Similarly, the work expresses the pervasive presence of a highly organised grid system. In this case this grid system is used to classify pebbles. But one might imagine how 3D printers create forms which are inherently subscribed to cartesian grid systems, simply because their provenance explicitly depends on it.

7 thoughts on “Appropriating new technologies to serve an aesthetic exploration

  1. Asides from the technology and its use, the video (documentation or an artwork in its own right?) is interesting, especially in the arrangement of things. When this aspect is compared with Jan Svankmajer’s Games with Stones (1965) (, a certain resonance emerges.

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