AUTOPOIESIS

 

 

 

 

'...organized as a network of processes of production of components which continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes that produced them.'  Humberto Maturana

 

The renowned Lacanian topologist Jeanne Lafont referencing some of the best known topological constructs - such as the Klein Bottle maintains, these objects ‘cannot be made in our environment.  It is possible to think them but not to make them, give them a physical and material being.’  (Ragland and Milovanovic). While Lafont’s statement is significantly challenged by the advent of rapid prototyping (in the translation of this construct into a material object) the convoluted structure of the Klein Bottle represents gestation, regeneration and autopoiesis.

 

 Originally devised by the German mathematician Felix Klein as a topological construct demonstrating a non-orientable surface, the Klein Bottle has structural similarities to the cotyledon - the leaf form folded within a plant seed.

Digital sculpture. 3D print art. Contemporary digital sculpture. computer generated object. morphogenesis.

Original Seed (2013)

Laser sintered polymer (3 iterations)

 

 Original Seed is a sequence materializations taken from a digital evolutionary form, which bursts open and unfolds in the manner of a seed-pod liberating its contents. I wanted to re-examine the Klein Bottle structure (below) for its seminal properties and present these as key evolutionary states, alluding to its potential life.  It exists as a sequence of iterations, both digital and rapid prototype, representing transformation over a period of time. By progressively opening the entity in a sequence of stages, I enact a digital gestation process.

My cutting into the digital entity and unfolding it, bears similarities with "digital unwrapping" used in providing The Self-generating Organism (below) with a skin.  In its unfolding, the Original Seed discloses its interior and exposes its internal structure.  In liberating this interior, its form is returned to the world of the structurally possible. In its states of unfolding the internal structure is verifiable. What remains is a spent seed-pod. Individual iterations are instances of a (living) virtual entity made actual.  The actual Original Seeds bear the genetic characteristics of their virtual life in structure and morphology. The printed seedpods are presented like found or gathered objects, representing different instances of germination in the dissemination process.

The Self-generating Organism (2013)

 

 

A topological entity clothed with a digital skin - a textured and patterned surface, made to flow across the structure, introducing flow, transition and duration.  The introduction of pattern makes the inward and outward flow visually traceable and accountable. A non-orientable surface is made evident. The entity can be made to flow into or out-from itself, changing the implications of its organic function. It bears certain similarities with  the Amoeba - a single cell organism, which shifts its outer shape to engulf food particles. The Amoeba is in itself a classic example of a topological construct, in that its outer surface is homeomorphic.

 

Flow presents the prospect of a life pulse within the entity, and emphasizes its symbolism in terms of regeneration and potential for ostensible (digital) life. In its animation, the constancy of the topological form is concealed and revealed through a flow of surface detail.  Reconfiguring the entity in animated form introduces its specific morphology and evolutionary potential. This structure is repeatedly reiterated in organic forms throughout the topology of Morphogenesis and related works.

The Self-consuming Organism (2008)

Digital construct and rapid prototype.

 

Forming the topological construct The Self-consuming Organism (2008) was my first attempt at computer modeling. Derived from the structure of a Klein Bottle it also relates to the mythical creature of the Ouroboros, the serpent that eats itself and regenerates itself. The Ouroboros ‘is an ancient symbol of eternal becoming’ (Dunne and Houston). Under principles of topology, The Self-consuming Organism has only one surface, and any one point on this surface is universally positionable. Fluid topology enables the “organism” to pass inside itself and to turn itself inside-out. In its animated form its topology is understood to consume itself and / or regenerate at the same time.

Printing The Self-consuming Organism.

 

 

This animation demonstrates how a sequence of images can translate the most complex and convoluted virtual entity into an object. It shows the rapid prototype being printed layer by layer in its transformation from virtual wire frame structure into materialized object. In this progressive build method, the powder matrix supports the structure, until after its shape has been solidified.