Hybrid re-Assemblage - Bridging Traditional Craft and Digital Design

Zoran, A. "Hybrid re-Assemblage - Bridging Traditional Craft and Digital Design"


Hybrid reAssemblage is a design gestalt that lies at the cross-section of digital design practice and the tactile qualities of traditional craft. It spans a territory in which the value of artifacts is produced through automated production as well as human subjectivity. This work is an exploration of two divergent realms: that of emerging computational technologies, and traditional hand-hewn practice. Hybrid reAssemblage proposes a new way of thinking about the machine, as generator of control and efficiency, and the unpredictable and singular nature of the raw and the manual. I illustrate Hybrid reAssemblage through three diverse projects:

FreeD is a digital handheld milling device for carving, guided and monitored by a computer while preserving the maker's freedom to manipulate the work in many creative ways. It reintroduces craft techniques to digital fabrication, proposing a hybrid human-computer interaction experience. In addition to the technology, I present a user study, demonstrating how FreeD enables personalization and expression as an inherent part of the fabrication process.

Chameleon Guitar exploits a selection of acoustic properties via a set of replaceable resonators and by a simulated shape, merging real-wood acoustic qualities with a simulated guitar body. It marries digital freedom with the uniqueness of acoustic instruments, and demonstrates a hybrid functionality platform. Focusing on the production of sonic qualities, this project is evaluated acoustically, pointing to the significance of attention to detail such as craft and wood qualities.

Finally, Fused Crafts is a collection of artifacts that are part handcrafted and part 3D printed, visually demonstrating the potential of combining these practices to create hybrid aesthetics. I illustrate this visual concept with two examples: intentionally broken ceramic artifacts with 3D printed restoration, and 3D printed structure that is designed to allow the application of hand_ѐwoven patterns. This project is a search for an approach where both technologies can benefit from each other aesthetically, enriching the final product with new qualities.

This dissertation begins with a contextual background, leading to the presentation of the projects. In the last part, I evaluate the work through feedback received from a panel of design, craft, and HCI experts.

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