Currently, in a rural corner of Northern California, an impressive 3D printing project is taking shape. The proponents of this project are Smith|Allen (aka Stephanie Smith and Bryan Allen) who are participating in the Project 387 Residency, located in Mendocino County, and taking place from August 4-18, 2013. Mendocina county is particularly noted for its redwood forests, and in the heart of one 150-acre forest in the region, Smith|Allen are putting together ‘a site-responsive, 3D printed architectural installation called Echoviren.’ At the intersection of architecture, art and technology they are looking to ‘explore the dialectic between man, machine and nature.’
Echoviren is an ambitious 10 x 10 x 8 foot 3D printed sculpture, obviously not printed in one piece, rather it is composed of 585 individually printed parts, with sizes range from 5 x 9 x 8″ to 0.5 x 9 x 9. They are all printed in a translucent white PLA material — a plant based bio-plastic that will decompose naturally back into the forest in 30 to 50 years — on a battery of consumer grade Type A Machines desktop 3D printers. Echoviren is being 3D printed and assembled on site by the artists — so far they have completed just over 10,000 hours of printing. This project is about passion — and impressive it is too.
“A graft within the space of the forest, Echoviren is a space for contemplation of the landscape, of the natural, and our relationship with these constructs. It focuses on the essence of the forest not as a natural system, but as a palimpsest.” The sculpture offers a stark and artificial comparison against the natural palette of reds and greens of the forest. According to the artists: “Walking around and within the structure, the aim is to show that the viewer is immediately consumed by the juxtaposition, as well as uncanny similarity, of the natural and unnatural: the large oculus, open floor, and porous surface framing the surrounding coastal landscape.”
Echoviren exposes an ecosystem of dynamic natural and unnatural interventions: the interplay of man and nature moderated by technology over the centuries.
Source: Type A Machines