Cast Gallery: Inhabiting Ornament
In his catalogue to the exhibition L’Empreinte, Georges Didi-Huberman posits the notion of “resemblance by contact,” one of the fundamental properties of molding and casting. Throughout history, casting has remained one of the most common methods of replicating form. However, as an analog process, the necessity of material contact ensures that other information is always included in that act of replication, introducing a material transference of new logics layered upon those of the original. The study of this material transference has broad implications for architecture, a practice continually engaged in an act of reproducing form—from model-scale to full-scale, virtual to physical, abstract to materially specific. Identifying, appropriating, amplifying, and modulating the influence of material logics in the replication and translation of form opens great potential for a discipline inherently charged with continually orchestrating information across multiple scales and domains.
Cast Gallery: Inhabiting Ornament investigates these issues through the history of the reproduction of sculptural form and ornament, and most specifically through the analog techniques of casting. The physical contact inherent in the process of casting allows the added layers of material information inherent in an analog process to be read as integral to the form rather than extraneous. In so doing, casting activates ‘noise’ inside of a feedback process allowing for the productive mutation and evolution of form and performance. A study of technologies such as the three-dimensional pointing device and pantograph introduces the possibility of amplifying this feedback to influence larger scales of form-making through mechanical enlargement, while contemporary technologies such as three-dimensional laser scanning offer yet another set of logics ripe for reinterpretation once viewed outside the context of fidelity to the original source object.
Joshua G. Stein heads Radical Craft, a Los Angeles based studio that investigates urban and material patterns while focusing on the intersection of traditional craft and contemporary fabrication techniques. He has taught design studios and fabrication seminars at Cornell University, SCI-Arc, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and is currently an Associate Professor at Woodbury University.
Recent projects include másTransit (with Aaron Whelton, Jacob Brostoff and Jaclyn Thomforde), 1st Place winner of A New Infrastructure: Transit Solutions for Los Angeles international competition, Soms Atoll, 3rd Place winner of the World Sustainability Centre Afsluitdijk Competition and the kinetic installation Reef, (with Rob Ley/Urbana) exhibited at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City.