A full look at the societal impact—from medical to creative to economic—of 3D-printing technology.
Future Jewelry, Dorry Hsu. All images courtesy the artists and NCCD if not otherwise stated
With its amazing ability to replicate handmade crafts, collapse the development timeline of health initiatives, and, inexplicably bringing modern society closer to understanding its own humanity —3D printing has made an impact on the creative, healthcare, and tech communities. The National Centre for Craft & Design (NCCD) in Lincolnshire, England will show a new exhibit dedicated to the advancements and influences of 3D printing on the world. 3D Printing: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful does not shy away from considering the societal impact of 3D printing on the manufacturing and maker worlds. The show is divided into seven conceptual themes, such as “Aesthetic Values," “Adornment,” “Medical Advances,” “Enabling Critical Debate,” among others.
A distinctive attribute of 3D-printed entities is its building-block potential. Typically, 3D-printed objects are developed from the ground up, composed of multiple layers, at times supplementing one foundation with more and more printed material. In this way, the 3D-printing process mimics the steady, budding work of collagists and the measured and patient techniques behind light-dappled Impressionist paintings.
NCCD’s Bryony Windsor explains the implications of the technology’s influence on craftsmanship. Over email, Windsor spoke about using 3D printing for the purpose of customization and mass production in art: “The value of the handmade is questioned when the artist uses their time and skill to design the 3D printed object rather than make it by hand. It takes over 30 hours to print a 20-centimeter high vessel and costs considerably more than a bag of clay for instance, so arguably it could have been made quicker by hand. So why 3D print it? The exhibition shows that the 3D printer is another tool in the artist’s toolbox to be mastered; it doesn't replace the need for skill, time and artistic expression.”
3D Printing: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful is on view at the National Centre for Craft & Design in Lincolnnshire county from January 28–April 23, 2017. Find more information about the exhibit, here.