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CultJam Helsinki at Aalto Fablab

June 11, 2015
CUltJamfeaturedimage

We challenged a group of creative designers and artists to join us in exploring and jamming with open digital cultural heritage. The aim of the one day workshop was to experiment what kind of new designs, art artefacts and objects could be made using Europeana content and the digital fabrication facilities of Aalto Fablab.

As we were talking about digital cultural heritage and it’s art and design applications, a number of examples were shown to the participants. Such as some works from the recent Mix it Up exhibition organized at the National Gallery of Denmark SMK, Rijksmuseum’s Rijksstudio award competition applicants and more simple examples from this blog.

Participants of the day were an interesting mix from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as new media, furniture design and environmental art. Some had previous knowledge of open cultural heritage, while others came across it for the very first time. Getting to know about the material available always creates enthusiasm, making no exception either this time.

After introductions we discussed all together about derivative works such as mash-ups, as well as ‘getting inspired’ by other designs or works of art, or new materials available. Examples like mixing of different brands into new ones, mash-up music videos, Ikea designs and LARP (live action role play) costumes that get their inspiration from medieval fantasy literature were mentioned, among other things.

People divided into pairs to advance their initial ideas and to talk about interesting content.

The visual search tool Culture Cam was the main method for searching content to use, but for more specific searches we used the Europeana portal. We also had Europeana content cards made by Platonig at hand to browse through and use with Culture Cam.

After some brainstorming the pairs presented their ideas to others and started to work with the vector files needed for the Fablab equipment. Some participants were only learning to use vector graphics software, and CultJam offered a great opportunity to do that. The event was also for peer learning. Many tests and experiments were executed during the day.

One pair got inspired by images of paleolithic objects, such as shells and bones. They were thinking of fabricating tribal style jewelry with a 21st century twist. Also the mathematical perfection of the seashells gave ideas to the participants; how would a 3D printed seashell sound like? A more ambitious idea was to make 3D printed loudspeakers in the form of seashells.

Another pair developed ideas how to do traditional style wood carvings, but with the help of laser cutter or milling machine. Reinterpreted traditional graphics or for example smaller, typographic prints would look great!

One idea was to make a small Moleskine-like diary with printed interleafs using graphic patterns found via Culture Cam. By using painted 0.4 mm piece plywood the images could be engraved with the laser cutter on the material. A prototype was made during the day, but there is still need for more work to make it durable and useable.

Furthermore two readymade 3D models of statues were found from Europeana and they were 3D printed. Vinyl stickers were cut by using ornaments from the British Library collection. Laser cutter was, as always, a popular machine; plywood coasters with engraved images, beautiful, detailed  jewelry made from acrylic…

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Neea Laakso
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