Autonomatic are a group of researchers exploring the use of digital manufacturing technologies in the creative process of designing and making three dimensional objects.
With established craft skills in ceramics, glass, plaster, and metals, we approach digital technologies in diverse and creative ways: combining the autonomous approach of the maker with the flexible production capabilities of automated digital manufacturing. Through this research we aim to challenge boundaries between hand and machine, craft and industry, and are developing a hybrid autonomatic design methodology.
The word autonomatic, is a hybrid fabricated from two other words: Automatic, defined as ‘mechanical’ and ‘working of itself without direct human actuation’; and the less familiar Autonomic, derived from autonomy, alluding to personal freedom and self-government. As such, it carries within it an intrinsic contradiction: Automatic suggests involuntary, repetitive, machine-like or machine-led actions; while Autonomic implies human self-sufficiency, independence and individuality.
New methods of combining digital and handskills developed by Autuonomatic researchers, contribute to a continuing re-evaluation of hand skills and the production of individual expressive forms in a digital era. Our research work demonstrates the potential for individual creative expression developed through the integration of digital technologies into making practices and contributes to critical debate about the impact of digital technologies on craft practice.
In March 2007 Autonomatic joined forces with Metropolitan Works to offer Digital Explorers II, a series of evening events in conjunction with an exhibition of digital design from the 3D Digital Production Research Cluster at UCF. For more details about the events please visit www.autonomatic.org.uk
Dr Katie Bunnell leads the 3D Digital Design Cluster at UCF. Katie’s interest in digital technology is twofold: using digital design and manufacturing tools for creative experimentation; and using the advantages of these tools to develop viable methods for small scale, one-off or customised production. Her ceramic tableware explores the development of ceramic surface patterns using 2D CAD software tools and digital drawing and digital ceramic decal techniques.
Tavs Jorgensen, a Research Fellow at UCF, explores ways of digitally recording the movements of the human hand, down to the trembling of the fingertips, and then develops ways of using this data to create glass bowls and furniture designs.
Dr Justin Marshall, also a Research Fellow at UCF, combines digital design tools with the craft methods used in replicating traditional decorative plasterwork, to create contemporary bespoke designs for modern interiors. His low relief plaster pieces are the result of a live collaborative project with Hayles and Howe, an established ornamental plasterwork manufacturer.
Justin is also currently working on small scale generative craftworks which are taking the form of jewellery and are developing through an investigation of the use of computer gaming software.
Drummond Masterton, a Research Assistant at UCF, hacks into the code underlying 3D CAD software tools to deconstruct the predetermined aesthetic qualities of 3D digital software to create unique and highly complex decorative surfaces for metalwork.