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.

Some biases of contemporary digital media explained

“If you’re an app, how do you keep people hooked? Turn yourself into a slot machine.”

1*BNOfmUQ2nTRVPVe0CHx7ewThis article is well worth a read. It explains, from the view of an insider (a Google design ‘ethicist’), how the digital media we take for granted is heavily loaded with biases. Some of those biases are consciously designed (usually to serve a commercial interest) and some of those biases are accidental.


Daily Overviews

[Benjamin Grant, Residential communities in Delray Beach, Florida, USA. According to the 2010 census, 20.4% of the town’s 34,156 households are vacant.]

Benjamin Grant collects and presents photographs of the Earth using satellite images via Digital Globe and NASA with a focus on altered landscapes. His prints can be viewed on his Daily Overviews website or via Instagram.

[Benjamin Grant, Blooming tulip fields in Lisse, Netherlands. The flowers are in peak bloom in April of each year.]

Belated Easter (Egg) Fun

By Jiri Zemanek (Czech Technical University in Prague, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Department of Control Engineering,


“Various patterns are generated in Matlab using mathematical equations similar to ones describing Spirograph (or harmonograph) and Phyllotaxis. The patterns are calculated in such a way that when rotated under a stroboscopic light of suitable frequency or when recorded by a camera, they start to animate. It is kind of zoetrope— early device for animation. Eggs were painted using EggBot (designed by Bruce Shapiro as open hardware and available as a kit from To draw on eggs, we used standard permanent markers and an electro kistka with bee wax followed by dying. Eggs are rotated at a constant speed, special for each pattern, by a brushless motor. No computer graphics tricks are used in the video.”



World Press Photo of the Year 2016

A lot of students in the course express their interests in photography/ photo-journalism. World Press Photo of the Year has a gallery of some remarkable works here .

Hope for a New Life by Warren Richardson (Australia)
Spot News, first prize singles

“A man passes a baby through the fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border in Röszke, Hungary, 28 August 2015.”