Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in |

The device builds a series of simulations of a growing onion plant by means of three-D scanning and printing, outputting one image every twenty-four hours from one of three angles. A fused deposition modeler that uses ABS plastic as its material is running simultaneously with a laser scanner that scans the onion. The output of this process appears rather mechanical and barren, displayed as it is at regular intervals on a conveyor belt that loops away from the scanning/printing mechanism, around a roller and back. What are we to make of this optical/mechanical freezing in time of the metabolism of the plant, this arresting time-lapse sculptural portrait of an object that we know will cease to exist once its life cycle is complete? As is often the case with three-D printed objects, the simplicity of the sculptures is captivating: they make no greater claim than to be uncannily near-faithful reproductions of commonplace items. This simplicity highlights the ambiguities of the repetitive recording task, where humans – helpless observers at best – are not even present for most of the process but are substituted for by the relentless machine. The mood is one of resignation that is tinged by an almost transcendent hopefulness about teasing out the order that permeates the visible world, reminiscent of some features of conceptual art at its height.