.OBJ - New Exhibition to Open at the National Design & Craft Gallery

Posted 27.07.18

At the Intersection of Digital and Analogue

.OBJ Opens 11 August 2018

Images l to r: Gautama, Faig Ahmed; Face Synthesis, FIELD; Falsehood Series, threadstories (photo credit Hazel Coonagh); A Day at the Hunt, Ingrid Murphy

.OBJ, an exhibition showcasing the works of innovative Irish and international makers whose practices explore new directions where craft thinking meets digital making, will open at the National Design & Craft Gallery, Kilkenny on Saturday, 11 August, 2018. The exhibition will be officially opened by Natalie Kane, Curator of Digital Design, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Digital technology has transformed the ways in which we think about design and craft. In today’s digital world, makers have access to a wider variety of tools, materials and processes than ever before. Coding, digital fabrication and data have become integral to the ways objects are designed, manufactured, distributed and consumed, influencing our relationships with them and how they inhabit our world.

These makers draw on emerging digital tools and processes to experiment with material practices that are rooted in craft and design traditions, building objects that question and shape our world. These hybrid practices allow us to rethink the role of technology within the historical trajectory of object making, reconsidering how we value craft and define the ‘handmade’.

The exhibition’s curator Nora O Murchú commented: “There is a certain myth about craft — often assumed to be solely made by hand, free from the touch of tools and machines. In today’s digital age, technologies and fabrication tools have become widely available, and makers are increasingly incorporating them as part of their practice, experimenting with techniques, tools and processes from electronic and digital domains. The artists in this exhibition are exploring the expanding possibilities of craft, challenging old assumptions and redefining what craft is today in the context of a digital age and the ubiquity of digital tools and machines.”

The exhibition opens up conversations about the appropriation of digital tools by makers, the creation of crafted objects or experiences by digital designers, as well as the influences of technology, social media, data and conceptual installation on contemporary craft.

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “By working with and exploring digital tools, the designers and makers in .OBJ are creating new perspectives in craft, encouraging us to rethink the role of technology within the tradition of object making which in turn sparks fresh ideas, innovation and debate. One of the aims of the National Design & Craft Gallery is to create dynamic exhibitions representing our inventive and skilled designers and makers, showcasing their work to audiences both old and new. We are thrilled to partner with the Kilkenny Arts Festival once again, presenting this exhibition along with an array of workshops and outreach events for all ages as part of the annual Kilkenny Arts Festival celebration.”

The 15 exhibitors taking part are:

Running until January 2019, .OBJ is curated by Nora O Murchú and is part of the programme for the Kilkenny Arts Festival (9 – 19 August, 2018). A .OBJ roundtable event hosted by Louise Allen with curator Nora O Murchú and exhibiting makers, will take place at the National Design & Craft Gallery at 1pm on Saturday, 11 August. It will be followed by the exhibition launch at 2pm by Natalie Kane, Curator of Digital Design, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, with complimentary crafted cocktails from Pembroke Kilkenny.



Fri 10 Aug, 1pm
Kinetics and Motion: Crafting human-machine interactions
Lunchtime discussion with installation artist and exhibitor Sebastian Kite

Fri 10 Aug, 2pm – 5pm
Mechanisms + Making (16+) €25*
Create motorised module pieces with installation artist and exhibitor Sebastian Kite

Sat 11 Aug, 1pm
.OBJ Roundtable Discussion
Join exhibition curator Nora O Murchú, exhibiting makers and special guests to discuss the evolution of new forms of craft and expanded awareness of how we can utilise materials

Sat 11 Aug, 2pm – 4pm
.OBJ Exhibition Launch
Exhibition launch by Natalie Kane, Curator of Digital Design, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, with complimentary crafted cocktails from Pembroke Kilkenny

Sun 12 Aug, 2pm
.OBJ Curator’s Tour
Curator’s Tour with Nora O Murchú

Mon 13 Aug, 6pm - 9pm
Explore sculpture and form using textiles with artist threadstories (16+)*

Tues 14 - Thur 16 Aug, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm
Free Children’s Craft Workshops
One workshop per child/day (6-12yrs)*

  • Papercut Techniques with Paul Bokslag
  • Clay Creatures with Maeve Sookram of Sevensisters
  • POM POM Silhouttes with Sandra McAllister

Fri 17 Aug, 11.15am – 1pm
Free Teen Craft Workshop (13-18yrs)
Silkscreen print bandana summer scarfs with Blackstack Studio

* Booking required. For more information and to book workshops visit: www.ndcg.eventbrite.com


Faig Ahmed
Faig Ahmed is an internationally recognised artist from Baku, Azerbaijan who represented Azerbaijan at the Venice Biennale in 2007. He is well known for his conceptual works that utilise traditional decorative craft and the visual language of carpets into contemporary sculptural works of art. His works reimagine ancient crafts and create new visual boundaries by deconstructing traditions and stereotypes. www.faigahmed.com

Paul Bokslag
Paul Bokslag is a Dutch-born, Kilkenny-based artist and is a co-founder of the inclusive KCAT Arts Centre in Callan, Co. Kilkenny. He works across a range of media, from drawing, printmaking, papercutting and type-design to site specific installations. Bokslag has exhibited around Ireland and the Netherlands, including Temple Bar Gallery + Studios in Dublin, VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow, Waterford Healing Arts Trust and Abhainn Rí Festival in Callan. He recently developed a series of workshops as part of the Bring Your Own Chair project and he was the artist-in-residence for The Breadwinner exhibition at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny. www.paulbokslag.com

Common Works
Common Works was formed in 2013 by Christopher Waggott, Sam Tripp and Jonny Garrill as a means to experiment across different disciplines and fields. The studio aims to create meaningful, lasting experiences through playful interactions and rigorous design thinking. The studio has developed its practice with a focus on exploring the intersection between art direction, interaction, moving image and emerging technologies. www.commonworks.co.uk

Digital Nature Group
Based at University of Tsukuba, Japan, Digital Nature Group has created DeepWear, a method using deep convolutional generative adversarial networks (DCGANs) for clothes design. Deep neural networks (DNNs) learn the feature of specific brand clothes and generate images, then patterns instructed from the images are made, and an author creates clothes based on that. Digital Nature Group evaluated the credibility of the actual sold clothes on market with their clothes and, as a result, found that it is possible to make clothes look like actual products from the generated images. Their findings have implications for collaborative design between machine and human intelligence. https://digitalnature.slis.tsukuba.ac.jp/2017/09/deepwear/

FIELD is a London-based studio working at the intersection of art, design, and technology, led by co-founders Marcus Wendt and Vera-Maria Glahn. The studio creates expressive and dynamic digital artworks, immersive audio-visual installations and non-linear narrative experiences. Their work has been exhibited at galleries in Europe, the US and Asia, including La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, the China Museum for Digital Art in Beijing, and the British Library, and included in festival programs worldwide including Ars Electronica and onedotzero. The studio collaborates with cultural institutions and global brands on commissioned artworks and generative design solutions, including Nike, Deutsche Bank, HP, Nokia, GE, and Aol. www.field.io

Ying Gao
Montreal-based fashion designer and professor at UQAM, recipient of the Phyllis-Lambert Design Montréal Grant, Ying Gao questions our assumptions about clothing by combining urban design, architecture and multimedia. She explores the construction of the garment, taking her inspiration from the transformations of the social and urban environment. She is the only fashion designer included by the British magazine Wallpaper in its Canadian Top 40. Recognised worldwide, her designs are frequently shown in museums and galleries. www.yinggao.ca

Sebastian Kite
Sebastian Kite is an installation artist based in London. Exploring the intersection of art, architecture and music, his site-specific installations employ light, sound, projection and performance to illustrate new readings of spaces. Trained as an architect at The Glasgow School of Art and Westminster School of Architecture, Kite graduated in 2010. Since then he founded his own installation agency, Kite & Laslett (2010-13), and has worked as Creative Director at design agency Jotta Studio (2014-17). Kite has taught at institutions such as The Bartlett UCL and Westminster School of Architecture and in 2015 received the Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Award. www.sebastiankite.com

Ingrid Murphy
Irish-born Ingrid Murphy studied Ceramics and Photography at Crawford School of Art & Design before completing a Masters Degree in Ceramics at Cardi School of Art & Design. She is currently the Academic Lead for Transdisciplinarity at Cardi School of Art & Design, Cardi Metropolitan University, having returned to Cardi to lead the ceramic department in 2008. A practicing ceramic artist, in 2011 Ingrid was awarded a Creative Wales award to explore how new technologies could influence the sole practitioner in ceramics. In 2012, Ingrid led the development of the innovative Maker programme at Cardi which combines traditional making skills with new technologies, and is currently a principal lecturer on the programme. Since 2015 Ingrid has led the University’s Fab-Cre8 research group for applied research in digital technologies. In 2015, Ingrid was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for her contribution to art & design education. www.ingridmurphy.wordpress.com

Onformative, founded by Julia Lauband Cedric Kiefer in Berlin, is a studio specialised in generative design solutions covering various types of media and topics. For them the generative design process presents a new way of thinking and a new approach on how to bring ideas to the market in a more effective and effcient way. At the intersection of technology, design and emotion they develop innovative, cross-media solutions for their customers in the domains of culture, economical and education. Julia Laub is co-author of the book, Generative Design, and Cedric Kiefer currently teaches the generative design class at HAWK Hildesheim and works as an author for the Weave Magazine. www.onformative.com

David O’Reilly
David O’Reilly is an artist working in design, animation and video games. Creator of the groundbreaking animated films ‘Please Say Something’ and ‘The External World’, his film work has won numerous awards and been the subject of several retrospectives internationally. He has served as writer for the TV shows Adventure Time and South Park, and created the fictional video games in Spike Jonze’s Academy Award winning film Her. In 2014 he released his first independent game Mountain and followed up with Everything in 2017. Everything won grand prizes at A MAZE & Ars Electronica and was featured as Game of the Year by Wired, Polygon, AV Club, The New Yorker and others. Its trailer became the first interactive project to qualify for an Academy Award. www.davidoreilly.com

Daniel Rozin
Daniel Rozin is an artist, educator and developer working in the area of interactive digital art. As an interactive artist Rozin creates installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence and point of view of the viewer. As an educator, Rozin is Associate Art Professor at ITP, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU where he teaches such classes as: ‘The World- Pixel by Pixel’, ‘Project Development Studio’, ‘Toy Design Workshop’, ‘Designing for Digital Fabrication’ and ‘Kinetic Sculpture Workshop’. Born in Jerusalem and trained as an industrial designer, Rozin lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited widely with solo exhibitions in the US and internationally and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Wired, ID, Spectrum and Leonardo. His work has earned him numerous awards including Prix Ars Electronica, ID Design Review and the Chrysler Design Award. www.smoothware.com/danny

threadstories is an Irish visual artist working with yarn and moving image to explore identity online. She graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art (Sculpture) from DIT, Dublin and holds a Post Graduate in Education from National College of Art and Design, Dublin. This exciting emerging artist uses the social media platform Instagram as an online gallery, exploring the erosion of personal privacy in our digital age. As a mask-maker, threadstories’ work resists categorisation; the wearables are costume, visual art, craft and storytelling tools, both adornment and oddity. London-based Irish filmmakers, Sixbetween create video pieces exploring threadstories’ masks on film, opening another dimension to her practice. threadstories received Arts Act Funding from Kilkenny County Council Arts Office in 2018 to support the development of her first solo exhibition, FalseHoods, which opens in August 2018. threadstories has featured in This Greedy Pig and Italian trend and culture digital magazine, RedMilk, as well as being profiled on international art blogs DesignCrush and The Jealous Curator. www.instagram.com/threadstories

Owen Quinlan
Owen Quinlan is a Galway-based artist working in the medium of ceramics. He is a graduate of The Centre for Creative Arts & Media GMIT Galway, Cardi School of Art & Design, and the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s Ceramic Skills & Design Course. He has exhibited widely at home and abroad and continues to develop his practice from his home town of Galway. Owen’s interest in ceramics focuses on the innate geological and archaeological attributes of the medium. Rather than exploring utilitarian or functional aspects; his glazed surfaces are the result of ongoing research into the rocky, molten and primal forces which are central to ceramic practice. www.owenquinlan.com

Marius Watz
Oslo-based Marius Watz is an artist working with visual abstraction through generative software processes. His work focuses on the synthesis of form as the product of parametric behaviours. He is known for hard-edged geometrical forms and vivid colours, with outputs ranging from pure software works to public projections and physical objects produced with digital fabrication technology. Watz has exhibited at venues like the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Todaysart (The Hague), ITAU Cultural (Sao Paulo), Museumsquartier (Vienna), and Galleri ROM (Oslo). In a curating capacity, he founded Generator.x in 2005 as a platform for a series of events related to generative art and computational design. In 2010 he co-curated the exhibition “abstrakt Abstrakt: The Systemized World” with Eno Henze at the Frankfurter Kunstverein. www.mariuswatz.com

ZEITGUISED is an award-winning studio established in 2001 by Jamie Raap and Henrik Mauler, producing exquisite realities at the intersection where art, design, digital and physical space meet. It has been influencing synthetic image making since its inception, with an approach connecting formal and conceptual design, oscillating between cerebral and poetic. ZEITGUISED is now an independent experimental design brand, branching out its commercial visual service to foam Studio which in turn keeps pushing the envelope as a trend lab and image consultancy with a connected premium production suite. Their work has been presented in numerous international New Media art fairs and festivals like Onedotzero, Dotmov, Nemo, ITFS and Resfest. www.zeitguised.com

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Tara Walsh – tara@elevate.ie / Emer Igbokwe – emer@elevate.ie

About the Curator
Nora O Murchú is a curator and designer based in Ireland. Her practice engages with fictions and narratives to explore how complex socio-technical systems are imagined, built, and used. She has held positions as a research associate for the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick, the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, and CRUMB at the University of Sunderland. She has curated exhibitions and events for institutions, including the Science Gallery, Rua Red, Resonate Festival, Transfer Gallery and White Box Gallery. She is currently a lecturer in Interaction Design at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

About the National Design & Craft Gallery
Established by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in 2000, the National Design & Craft Gallery is Ireland’s leading centre for contemporary craft and design. It exhibits Irish and international designers, artists and makers who push boundaries in their engagement with the making process. Its mission is to inspire appreciation, creativity and innovation, and it plays a critical role in building understanding of craft and material culture in Ireland. www.ndcg.ie

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the national agency for the commercial development of Irish designers and makers, stimulating innovation, championing design thinking and informing Government policy. DCCoI's activities are funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 2,500 registered clients. www.dccoi.ie

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