Solid Metal Web Spaces – Commissioned by MU

Wow, I forgot to mention in my previous post that MU has given me the opportunity to create two new Web Spaces in solid metal: Google.com and YouTube.com. Especially for the Materialising the Internet exhibition! They weigh about 1KG each and are printed with steel powder infused with bronze. The weight really adds to the experience of holding and touching the objects. What a shame they’re behind plexiglas! Haha.

It’s always a challenge to create Web Spaces – 3D printed Web Pages. The architecture of web pages isn’t meant to exist in the physical world. So when materialising these complex structures, physics (like gravity) starts to play a role! Therefore the materials and techniques used to produce Web Spaces must be carefully chosen. I’ve been experimenting with lots of different techniques (most of them involving 3D printing) for one and a half year now, to get these Web Spaces materialised perfectly.

The result isn’t always successful…

The most iconic part of YouTube.com is the high tower in the top left. It completely broke off in the casting process. Other parts broke too and walls caved in. Because of the fine detail and narrow openings it also became impossible to remove the casting sprues. I learned that this technique (3D printing in wax, then casting with precious metal), works best for smaller, simpler geometry.

Like I said, it’s still a challenge to make Web Spaces in precious metal. But I’m happy with how the new objects turned out.

Published by Jip de Beer

Jip de Beer, initiator of MADtech.me, is an artist who operates on the intersection of art and computer science. He's fascinated by automation and attempts to optimize his artistic work(flow) with programming. His work usually involves a Web Browser and tends to be generative, interactive and strongly visual. In his daily life, Jip tries to have a positive influence on the world by living a vegan lifestyle.

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