Art & Sculpture

Tech-Art 4.0 in Germany

By Alexander Lohberg and Peter E. Petersen of 3D Druckzentrum Ruhr.

This is an article in our new series looking at how 3D printing is used around the world and reporting on ways to get involved in 3D printing. Alexander Lohberg and Peter E. Petersen are artists interested in the use of 3D printing for contemporary art.

Tech-Art 4.0 in Germany by Alexander Lohberg and Peter E. Petersen of 3D Druckzentrum Ruhr.

The new possibilities of 3D printing have arrived in the art-world. Artists from the USA, Australia, UK and other parts of the world are getting people talking about novel creations mixing high-tech and tradition. However, there is not much to see or hear about this development inside Germany.

In Germany you have to ask yourself why this news is absent from the country.

We asked ourselves the same question and found a simple answer. There are no adequate offerings for education in new technologies. Where can you turn to as a free artist? If you have an visionary idea and need state of the art technology and the knowledge to implement it?

Alexander Lohberg. Photo by Alexander Lohberg.
Alexander Lohberg. Photo by Alexander Lohberg.

A new space for contemporary art

Because of their administrative structures and bureaucracy, German universities can’t provide the human resources. Nor do the usually university driven FabLabs provide a creative environment to experiment thoroughly to the highest level. The many makerspaces often do not accommodate studios for contemporary art. Mostly they feature in tinkering and “making” while the art market or high-culture are seldom the focus of the maker community.

The 2017 Masterclass at 3D Druckzentrum Ruhr chooses a different path.

The Masterclass intends to bring the world’s best artists to the Ruhr area. Artists will work in interdisciplinary teams on the implementation of digital fabrication. To enable this we have secured funding from the ministry of culture and science of North Rhine-Westphalia.

For the first time in Germany, start-ups, artists and designers can foster their creative abilities during this 7-day series of hands-on masterclasses. The project will bring Essen to the world-map of tech-art.

The changing nature of sculpture in the digital age

For the first two Masterclasses, the topics of sculpture and fashion design were chosen. Both fields face significant challenges and opportunities from the adoption of 3D printing and associated technology.

Historically sculptures has been a reflection of our self-image in a tangible form.

The discipline draws on millennia of tradition, and now faces a completely new challenge. What value can be assigned to an art-object in a digitized world? With 3D Scanners and Printers, any work of art can be replicated at will, with an abundant variety of materials. What does this mean for contemporary sculpture?

A new generation of tech-savvy artists stands ready to find answers to these questions.

Master Nick Ervinck, a pioneering artist of digital sculpting and 3D printing, will bring expertise from his Da Vinci Workshop in Lichterfelde, Belgium to Essen.

The 35 year-old artist makes artworks using a Stratasys 3D printer and is working with Stratasys to benchmark new machines. His artworks celebrate his role as ambassador of new sculpture. To bring this leading artist to the Ruhr-area in October, and have him foster breakthroughs with interdisciplinary research and a philosophy of shared knowledge, is a novelty in the Ruhr-area, even Germany.

3D printing for the fashion industry

Completely different, yet similar due to their disruptive nature, are the questions the fashion industry is facing. What will digital fabrication change in terms of more convenient, smarter and adaptable fashion?

If clothing is made with a 3D printer, do we still need cheap mass production, created under inhumane circumstances from Bangladesh? Vegan leather, a new experimental material cultivated from fungus, could disrupt entire production chains..

The Internet of Things (IoT) has made an entrance in the form of wearables. The fashion industry often adapts and markets innovations and trends, but does not grasp the significance of true innovation.

These innovations and technologies were not developed by million-dollar fashion houses. But in a fertile environment of open communication and shared knowledge. Anastasia Pistofidou and her Fabtextiles institute at Fablab Barcelona are living example of this assertion.

Yomo_miercoles by Luiza Lacava
Yomo_miercoles by Luiza Lacava

With a punk rock attitude, her background in architecture and generative algorithms, the Greek artist develops fashion, unfathomable textiles and garments, and shares her knowledge under open source licenses with the world. A strong woman in an allegedly male-dominated field, the artist will help the Ruhr-area to new heights.

3D printing bootcamp and lecture series

3D Druckzentrum Ruhr has developed an extensive framework of open Lab Days. These include a 3D printing bootcamp and special events around the masterclasses.

Our Lecture Series is a dedicated program of lectures and seminars for all kinds of audiences.

It aims to bring knowledge about 3D printing and digital process chains to a broad public. As part of the series, Nick Ervinck will demonstrate how citizens of the Ruhr-area can get a first hand experience of his visionary ideas.

In a 2 hour lecture, Nick Ervinck will give insights into his concept of sculpture in the 21st century. The event is free, thanks to the funding through the Ministry of culture and science of North-Rhine-Westphalia and the support of GOP Essen.

On October 9th 2017 the well-known variety theater in Essen’s creative quarter will host an event in the rich atmosphere of its great hall.

For the event’s Grande Finale, the program will highlight rising artists to the international market of contemporary art.

At the site of world heritage Zollverein, 3D Druckzentrum Ruhr will present the results of the two masterclasses. As part of Contemporary Art Ruhr, an innovative art fair, thousands of attendees will see the new ways that local artists are working with international colleagues.

Hundreds of international galleries will present work in the halls of the Zollverein. The exhibition will show art ranging from interactive media art and design to paintings and sculpture. Meet and greet in the exclusive Masterclass Lounge, matchmaking and curation are the main focus of this event. The private view will open on Friday, October 27th 2017 at 8 PM local time.

Currently a few of the 20 available slots are still open. More information is available here.

3D Druckzentrum Ruhr is accepting applications for the masterclasses until July 30th 2017.

This is an article in our series looking at how 3D printing is used across the world. Contact us if you would like to participate. 

For more 3D printing events, check out our listings page here.