A popular theme in science fiction has been the blurring of the line between humans and robots. From the terrifyingly autonomous HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey to the surrogate humans in AI: Artificial Intelligence, robots in sci-fi movies have been almost universally depicted as growing closer and closer to humans in both thought and form. The concept is both fascinating and frightening, and it also seems more and more realistic as technology advances. We may not be headed for a robot takeover, as some books and movies suggest, but a future in which robots co-exist with and resemble humans isn’t much of a stretch.
Artist Daniel Widrig is launching a new exhibit that envisions the future of artificial intelligence, using that most futuristic of art forms: 3D printing. In a recent announcement, Widrig revealed that he is collaborating with Stratasys for an upcoming exhibition entitled Descendants. His designs, which visually explore a potential future of increasingly human artificial intelligence, will be showcased on October 30th at ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, as part of the GLOBALE: Exo-Evolution exhibit. GLOBALE features contributions from multiple luminaries in the fields of art, science, and technology, and focuses on the growing presence of technology in both art and life.
“With advanced technologies, such as 3D printing, already facilitating the customization and enhancement of the human form, the concepts of a post-human era of non-biological intelligence is now much more conceivable,” said Widrig. “It is an inevitable yet exciting design challenge to begin to speculate on how new material bodies might be formed to face the real-world constraints of the future.”
Widrig’s futuristic sculptures were created by overlapping high-resolution digital scans of male and female human figures with his own digital designs. They were then printed with rigid and flexible materials using Stratasys’ Polyjet 3D printing technology. Brightly colored, life-size and eerily human in form, Widrig’s creations bring to mind aliens or highly evolved men and women.
“Having used 3D printing for almost a decade, it is now a natural part of my studio’s workflow, and the intricate geometries of the sculptures simply could not have been produced in any other way,” continues Widrig. “There was a unique synergy in employing Stratasys’ cutting-edge color, multi-material 3D printing capabilities and production techniques on a project that focuses on synthetic lifeforms and advanced technologies, which adds a real sense of authenticity and depth to the collection. Working with Stratasys has provided us a great opportunity to design and realize an ambitious project that otherwise would never have been possible.”
A graduate of the Architectural Association School of Architecture, Widrig has made a name for himself in the fields of architecture, fashion design, furniture design and sculpture. He has been at the forefront of digital design, having worked with 3D printing in his art for years, and has amassed a collection of awards and distinctions in the design industry. In 2009, he was named Maya Master, a distinction given by the digital design and software industries for his innovations in the blending of technology and art. His 3D printed dresses, designed in collaboration with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen, were named one of the 50 Best Innovations of the Year by Time Magazine in 2011.
“Widrig’s artwork forms part of Stratasys’ 3D printed collection that will be showcased at the ‘GLOBALE: Exo-Evolution’ exhibition, which focuses on the artistic use of the latest technologies and the new realities being shaped by the ongoing technological revolution,” said Naomi Kaempfer, Creative Director, Art Fashion Design, Stratasys. “Descendants is yet another perfect example of Stratasys’ core purpose in revolutionizing the way things are made.”
See a brief trailer for the GLOBALE exhibit here: