Seamless: the digital in design.
Museum of Architecture and Design,
Ljubljana, Slovenia.
19th September – 3rd November 2013.

Brezšivno: digitalno v oblikovanju.
Muzej za arhitekturo in oblikovanje,
Ljubljana, Slovenija.
19. september – 3. november 2013.

Participants/ Sodelujoči.
Louise Adkins
Kirsteen Aubrey
Mark Beecroft
Keith Brown
Fabrizio Cocchiarella (+ Emma Hayward)
David Crow
Vanessa Cuthbert
Joe Duffy
Michael Eden
Jon Hannan (+ Robert George)
Steve Hawley
Toby Heys (+ Robert Saucier & Oliver Blank)
Saoirse Higgins
Jonathan Hitchen
Nigel Hurlstone
Hilary Judd
Alice Kettle (+ Huw Wahl)
Amanda Langdown
Jane McKeating
Joe McCullagh
Monomatic (+ Nick Rothwell)
Sally Morfill
CJ O’Neill
Alex Russell
Ulysses Sengupta
Annie Shaw

Professor David Crow, Dean, Manchester School of Art, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Art & Design.
It is a great pleasure to introduce the work of staff from Manchester School of Art to a new audience in Ljubljana. This year is a special year for us as it marks our 175th anniversary. The School was founded in 1838 to help the growing textile industry in the city during the industrial revolution. It brought artists and designers together with manufacturing to make the city internationally competitive and helped to establish Manchester as a city of significance. Today the city retains its international reach and its reputation as a creative force, but the nature of the creative and cultural industries has changed and much of what is made in the city is digital in nature.
However, the school remains conscious of its Arts and Crafts past and we interpret this new set of tools and material in much the same way as we always have. We have always been a school with a heritage of making and now we have another material to experiment with. The process of play and experiment and the creative possibilities that come from the performance of individual responses to a material remain an important ingredient in the work of our students and staff. The digital age has confirmed that the edges of our disciplines are more blurred than ever before. The computer has encouraged a more democratic structure and the old hierarchies of art, design and craft are being eroded. We are much more likely to work in mixed discipline teams, engaging specific skills as and when we need them as we focus on the underlying ideas that fuel our work. This show features work from each of our departments in the school yet it is difficult to predict by looking at the work where the work comes from. This is something I am personally very proud of as we redefine the school for the 21st Century and continue a legacy of cultural production from Manchester by celebrating the work of the students and the staff.

Joe McCullagh, Head of Department, Design, Manchester School of Art, July 2013.
Design is on the is moving in new directions with greater hybridity. The most creative contemporary designers no longer confine themselves solely to their traditional disciplines and processes. Designers now increasingly take on multiple roles and the diverse incorporation of media and materials in their work; they are no longer subject-bound. The digital allows us to conceive the world around us in new ways.
Our roles are changing where we exist as design navigators; the designer now engages in a completely new world of participatory engagement. Designers are navigating their way through culture and taking part in cross-pollination of ideas and work, where ‘designers find themselves at the centre of an extraordinary wave of cross-pollination’.
We increasingly deal with open-ended customized solutions, where the user in effect takes a more participatory role. Alongside this, sociological shifts away from the patriarchal to participatory practice in utilizing social media has also enabled designers to become multimodal, strategically working across distributed knowledge economies set within a social engaged process. Design is now a pluralistic practice and we are increasingly comfortable working within intimate yet public environments due to the rise of social media.
Digital has also given rise to new rapid forms of manufacturing and communication. Design developed in one part of the world, can be digitally sent for manufacture in another part of the world. We create new processes and ways of working. We also play with creation tools that enable us to play with media and outputs. Digital communication has also radically changed how we work, offering new modes of communication.
This seamless exhibition represents new processes for design, that respectively inform the ‘old’ and the ‘new’, one informing the other. The work represented here, much of it process led, will enable design to continually evolve. The artists and designers on show engage in new processes, where the analogue and digital are simultaneously interrogated. This is the place where importantly new relationships and new works form.
Of course, digital is not in itself design. Digital technology must remain at the service of design, not design being at the service of technology. As work converges, it also diverges, the digital acts as an enabler for emerging design language and aesthetics.

Dr Annie Shaw, Design Research Centre Leader, MIRIAD, Manchester School of Art, July 2013.
As Design Research Centre Leader within Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art & Design (MIRIAD) I have been honoured to co-ordinate and co-curate this exhibition of the work of my colleagues and to establish a connection between The National Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Manchester School of Art, UK.
Manchester School of Art offers a broad suite of programmes, which have traditionally been delivered from a specialist perspective. It has always placed high value on the experience of making and the centrality of thinking through craft.
New technologies have changed the way design is conceived, developed and fabricated. Digital approaches open up new interdisciplinary networks that enable techniques and materials to migrate from one discipline to another. As a result established design boundaries such as fashion, product, graphics, media and architectural design are re-configuring and specialisms are breaking down.
Manchester School of Art School Graduate Thomas Heatherwick has said ‘the designer has become separated from a creative connection with making’ and that ‘understanding materials and gaining practical experience of using them’ is ‘essential to developing ideas and finding ways of making them’.
Perez observes that: ‘The demise of the skilled craftsperson is one instance in the on-going transfer of economic and political power from those who work with their hands to the privileged class of symbolic analysts who manipulate information.’
The new School of Art embraces a discourse where inter-disciplinary research and craft skills are used to interrogate the gap between computation and making and where inter-technological digital approaches inform and advance fabrication, communication and manufacture.
Digital approaches enable the exploration and expression of previously impossible paradigms such as inter-dimensional, scale-less, repeat-less and seamless design.
In Digital Fabrications Iwamoto explains how ‘emerging technologies are rapidly expanding what we conceive to be formally, spatially and materially possible.’
Keith Brown Professor of Sculpture and Digital Technologies at Manchester School of Art describes how working with 3-D, digitally eliminates the need to consider gravity and how the reality of the fabrication at a later stage can sometimes have surprising, yet potentially creative outcomes.
Robin Evans says ‘digital production is a generative medium, which has the potential to narrow the gap between representation and building (making) affording a hypothetically seamless connection between design and making.’
This shift is reflected in the diverse practice and research of the staff at Manchester School of Art with backgrounds in fashion, textile, 3-D, graphic, media, interior, and architectural Design, who are thinking through innovative engagement with interdisciplinary design, and inter-technological discourse.
The most interesting new ideas take place at the intersections of practice and this can be evidenced in the research of members of the Design Research Centre within the School of Art and the impact it has on the students they influence.
This exhibition explores individual and collaborative responses to the concept of ‘Seamlessness’ with an emphasis on technology, materiality and fabrication. When combined with contextually and conceptually-driven approaches, these new and innovative contributions reposition design. It records, through practice a move towards a digitally driven methodology informed by craft and tacit knowledge.
For Michael Eden it is a matter of choice: ‘life at the beginning of the 21st century has furnished makers with a wider choice of tools, materials and processes with which to realise ideas and concepts. All have their place, the new does not replace the old; the key is to make appropriate use of them.’
Perez goes on to describe how ‘The renewed interest in craft-based practices within the culture of advanced fabrication stems not from a ‘pastoral’ nostalgia for recovering lost material practices, but rather as an offshoot combining computational virtuosity, human skill and the material logic of rapid manufacturing processes, during both the initial design phase into full-scale production.
The work shown in Seamless the Digital in Design reflects this stance across a broad spectrum of media, approaches and use of technology. It also physically manifests Willis & Woodward’s observations on ‘material intelligence’ they question the claims of parametric culture and caution against the loss of ‘imperfection improvisation, craft skill, detail and material diversity’ and describe a ‘mathematical and computational impoverishment of making.’
The gallery space in the un-modernised wing of the museum provides a perfect, ‘imperfect’ space within which to show digitally-driven practice. We welcome the opportunity of using it to share the work and ideas of the academic staff of the faculty and their associates.
I would like to thank co-curator Fabrizio Cocchiarella for his support, enthusiasm and practical realisation; colleague, Professor Steve Hawley for making the initial link with MAO and Director Matevz Celik and Cvetka Pozar for giving us the opportunity to develop it.

Curation and exhibition design: Dr Annie Shaw & Fabrizio Cocchiarella.
Graphic Design: Jonathan Hitchen, with thanks to Jon Hannan. Photography: Alan Sams.
Translation: Steve Hawley, Nina Hawley.
Slovene language editing: Katja Paladin, Cvetka Požar.

Seamless the Digital in Design at MAO was instigated by Professor Steve Hawley with Dr Cvetka Pozar. The initial Seamless concept by Dr Annie Shaw was developed and supported by Joe McCullagh, Head of Design and Professor David Crow, Dean, Manchester School of Art. The works were realised by academic staff from Manchester School of Art and their associates, who are members of the Design Research Centre within MIRIAD (Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design).

With thanks to Matež Čelik, MAO, MIRIAD and the British Council.

profesor David Crow, dekan šole Manchester School of Art.
V veliko veselje mi je, da lahko delo osebja ustanove Manchester School of Art predstavim novemu občinstvu v Ljubljani. Letos je za nami posebno leto, saj praznujemo 175. obletnico naše ustanovitve: šola je bila ustanovljena leta 1838 v pomoč rastoči tekstilni industriji v Manchestru v času industrijske revolucije. Njen namen je bil združiti umetnike in oblikovalce s proizvajalci, da bi mesto postalo mednarodno konkurenčno in s tem prepoznavno. Svoj mednarodni ugled še vedno ohranja in slovi kot mesto, v katerem se veliko ustvarja, čeprav se je narava ustvarjalne in kulturne industrije spremenila; velik del tega, kar se v Manchestru ustvarja danes, je namreč digitalne narave.
Kljub temu pa se šola zaveda svoje preteklosti, zaznamovane z gibanjem Arts and Crafts, zato smo ta novi izbor orodij in materiala interpretirali na skoraj enak način kot doslej. Naša šola je vedno temeljila na dediščini izdelave; zdaj so nam na voljo drugi materiali, s katerimi eksperimentiramo. Procesi igre in eksperimenta ter ustvarjalne možnosti, ki izhajajo iz različnih odzivov na obdelavo materiala, ostajajo pomembna sestavina dela naših študentov in predavateljev. Digitalna doba potrjuje, da so meje med našimi disciplinami bolj zabrisane kot kadarkoli prej. Računalnik je spodbudil bolj demokratične strukture in spodkopal staro hierarhijo med umetnostjo, oblikovanjem in obrtjo. Zdaj veliko pogosteje delamo v skupinah z različnimi disciplinami, osredotočamo se na temeljne ideje našega dela, pri tem pa po potrebi uporabljamo specifične spretnosti. Namen te razstave je počastiti in prikazati dela predavateljev z vsakega od oddelkov na naši šoli, pri čemer je težko določiti, s katerega oddelka je posamezno delo. To je nekaj, na kar sem osebno zelo ponosen, saj smo s tem šoli dali novo identiteto za 21. stoletje in hkrati prispevali svoj delček k zapuščini kulturne produkcije v Manchestru.

Joe McCullagh, vodja oddelka za oblikovanje, Manchester School of Art, Julij 2013.
Oblikovanje ne miruje ... Z vse večjo hibridnostjo se širi v nove smeri. Najbolj ustvarjalni sodobni oblikovalci niso več omejeni zgolj na tradicionalne discipline in procese. Vse bolj prevzemajo več vlog hkrati in v svoje delo vključujejo različne medije in materiale; niso več vezani na sam predmet, ki ga oblikujejo. Digitalno nam omogoča, da si svet okoli nas zamišljamo na nove načine.
Naša vloga oblikovalskih navigatorjev se spreminja; oblikovalec, ki zdaj deluje v popolnoma novem svetu participativnega udejstvovanja, postaja navigator. Oblikovalci si kot navigatorji utirajo pot skozi kulturo in sodelujejo pri navzkrižni izmenjavi idej in del, znašli so se »v središču izrednega vala ‘navzkrižnega opraševanja’«.
Vedno bolj se ukvarjamo z odprtimi, prilagojenimi rešitvami, pri razvoju katerih vse bolj sodelujejo tudi uporabniki. Ob tem so družbene spremembe, usmerjene od patriarhalne k participativni praksi z uporabo družbenih medijev omogočile oblikovalcem multimodalnost in strateško ustvarjanje znotraj ekonomije znanja, ki jih vzpostavljajo družbeno angažirani procesi. Oblikovanje je zdaj pluralistična praksa in zaradi vzpona družbenih medijev smo v teh intimnih in obenem javnih delovnih okoljih vse bolj domači.
Digitalno je tudi povod za nove hitre oblike proizvodnje in komunikacije. Oblikovanje, razvito v enem delu sveta, je mogoče digitalno poslati v proizvodnjo v drug del sveta. Ustvarjamo nove postopke in načine dela. Prav tako smo začeli ustvarjati orodja, ki nam omogočajo, da se igramo z mediji in končnimi izdelki. Digitalna komunikacija je radikalno spremenila načine, kako delamo, in nam ponuja nove načine komuniciranja.
Razstava Brezšivno predstavlja nove postopke oblikovanja, v katerih se oplajajo »stari« in »novi« postopki. Tu predstavljena dela, ki so večinoma vodena s samim procesom, omogočajo oblikovalcem, da se nenehno razvijajo. Umetniki in oblikovalci na razstavi sodelujejo v novih procesih, kjer se hkrati preizprašujeta analogno in digitalno. To je mesto, kjer se ustvarjajo nova razmerja in nova dela.
Seveda digitalno samo po sebi še ni oblikovanje. Digitalna tehnologija mora ostati v službi oblikovanja, in ne obratno. S tem ko se ta dela zbližujejo, se hkrati drugo od drugega tudi oddaljujejo; digitalno deluje kot dejavnik, ki omogoča nov oblikovalski jezik in estetiko.

dr. Annie Shaw, vodja raziskovalnega centra MIRIAD, Manchester School of Art, julij 2013.
Kot vodja Inštituta za raziskave in inovacije v umetnosti in oblikovanju (MIRIAD) sem bila počaščena, da lahko koordiniram in prevzamem vlogo sokustosinje razstave o delu svojih kolegov ter vzpostavim povezavo med slovenskim nacionalnim Muzejem za arhitekturo in oblikovanje (MAO) in britansko šolo Manchester School of Art.
Manchester School of Art ponuja širok izbor programov, ki so jih tradicionalno poučevali z izvedenskega vidika. Ta šola je vedno poudarjala obrtno izdelavo in razmišljanje skozi obrti.
Nove tehnologije so način, kako je oblikovanje zasnovano, razvito in izdelano, spremenile. Digitalni pristopi odpirajo nova interdisciplinarna omrežja, ki omogočajo tehnike in materiale za prehode iz ene stroke v drugo. Posledično se ustaljene meje med različnimi zvrstmi oblikovanja, kot so modno, produktno, grafično, medijsko in arhitekturno oblikovanje premikajo, specifične lastnosti, po katerih so se razlikovale, pa izginjajo.
Thomas Heatherwick, diplomant šole Manchester School of Art, je dejal, da je »oblikovalec /.../ postal ločen od ustvarjalne povezave z izdelavo« in da je »poznavanje materiala in pridobivanje praktičnih izkušenj, ki jih uporablja, bistvenega pomena za razvoj idej in iskanje načinov za njihovo izdelavo«. Santiago R. Pérez navaja, da je »propad kvalificiranih obrtnih delavcev še ena stopnja v trenutnem prehodu gospodarske in politične moči od tistih, ki delajo z rokami, k privilegiranemu razredu simbolnih analitikov, ki manipulirajo z informacijami«.
Nova šola za umetnost v Manchestru združuje interdisciplinarno raziskovanje in obrtniško spretnost za premostitev vrzeli med računalniškim pristopom in izdelavo, kjer različni digitalni tehnološki pristopi vplivajo na izdelavo, komunikacijo in proizvodnjo ter to tudi pospešujejo.
Digitalni pristopi omogočajo raziskovanje in izražanje pred tem nemogočih paradigem, kot so meddimenzionalno oblikovanje, oblikovanje brez obsega in ponavljanj ter »brezšivno« oblikovanje. Lisa Iwamoto v Digital Fabrications (Digitalnem izdelovanju) pojasnjuje kako »nastajajoče tehnologije hitro širijo to, kar si v formalnem, prostorskem in vsebinskem smislu predstavljamo za možno«.
Keith Brown, profesor za kiparstvo in digitalne tehnologije na šoli Manchester School of Art, opisuje, kako delo s tridimenzionalnimi materiali digitalno odpravlja potrebo po upoštevanju teže in kako lahko realnost izdelave kasneje včasih prinese presenetljive, vendar potencialno ustvarjalne rezultate.
Robin Evans pravi, da je »digitalna proizvodnja generativni medij, ki ima potencial za zmanjšanje razlik med reprezentacijo in izdelavo in kot tak omogoča hipotetično nemoteno povezavo med zasnovo in izdelavo«.
Ta premik se kaže v raznolikih praksah in raziskavah osebja ustanove Manchester School of Art na področjih oblikovanja mode, tekstila, tridimenzionalne grafike, medijev, notranje opreme in arhitekture, ki delujejo inovativno z interdisciplinarnimi zasnovami in različnimi tehnološkimi pristopi. Najzanimivejše nove ideje se porajajo na presečišču različnih praks, kar je vidno v raziskavah članov Raziskovalnega centra za oblikovanje, ki je del šole Manchester School of Art, ter vplivajo tudi na tamkajšnje študente.
Razstava raziskuje posamezne in skupne odgovore na koncept »brezšivnosti«, s poudarkom na tehnologiji, materialnosti in izdelavi. V kombinaciji s kontekstualno in konceptualno usmerjenimi pristopi ti novi inovativni prispevki spreminjajo sodobno oblikovanje. V praksi ta razstava označuje metodološki premik, ki ga z ene strani zaznamuje digitalizacija, z druge pa pretanjeno poznavanje same obrti. Michael Eden trdi, da je to stvar izbire: »Življenje je na začetku 21. stoletja izdelovalce opremilo s široko izbiro orodij, materialov in procesov, s katerimi uresničujejo ideje in koncepte. Vsi imajo svoje mesto, novo ne nadomešča starega; ključno je, da so ta orodja ustrezno izkoriščena«.
Perez nadalje opisuje, kako »obnovljeno zanimanje za obrti,ki temeljijo na praksah napredne izdelave, ne izhaja iz ‘pastoralne’ nostalgije po obuditvi izgubljenih materialnih praks, ampak kot klica združuje računalniško virtuoznost, človeško spretnost in materialno logiko hitrih proizvodnih procesov, od začetne stopnje načrtovanja do proizvodnje v polnem obsegu.«
Dela, prikazana na razstavi Brezšivno: digitalno v oblikovanju, odražajo to stališče skozi širok spekter medijev, pristopov in uporabe tehnologije. Prav tako fizično izražajo pripombo Dana Willisa in Todda Woodwarda o »materialni inteligenci«, ki postavlja pod vprašaj trditve parametrične kulture in opozarja, da ne smemo izgubiti »nepopolnosti improvizacije, obrtne spretnosti, detajla in materialne raznolikosti«, ter tako opiše »matematično in računalniško osiromašeno izdelovanje«.
Galerijski prostor v neobnovljenem krilu muzeja je odličen »nepopoln« prostor za prikaz digitalno naravnane prakse. Pozdravljamo možnost, da lahko akademsko osebje fakultete in naši sodelavci ta prostor uporabijo za izmenjavo svojih del in idej.
Rada bi se zahvalila sokustosu Fabriziu Cocchiarelli za njegovo podporo, navdušenje in pomoč pri uresničitvi projekta, kolegu prof. Stevu Hawleyju za začetno povezavo z MAO ter direktorju slednjega Matevžu Čeliku in Cvetki Požar, ki sta nam dala priložnost za razvoj te povezave.

Kuriranje in postavitev razstave: Dr Annie Shaw & Fabrizio Cocchiarella.
Grafično oblikovanje: Jonathan Hitchen, s pomočjo Jona Hannana.
Fotografije: Alan Sams.
Prevod: Cvetka Pozar, Steve Hawley, Nina Hawley.
Urejanje in lektoriranje slovenskih besedil: Katja Paladin.

Razstava Brezšivno: digitalno v oblikovanju v MAO je nastala na pobudo profesorja Steva Hawleyja v sodelovanju z dr. Cvetko Požar. Prvotni koncept “brezšivnega”, ki ga je vzpostavila dr. Annie Shaw, sta podprla in razvila Joe McCullagh, vodja oddelka za oblikovanje, in profesor David Crow, dekan šole Manchester School of Art. Dela je ustvarilo akademsko osebje ustanove Manchester School of Art s sodelavci, ki so člani oblikovalskega raziskovalnega inštituta MIRIAD.

Zahvaljujemo se Matevžu Čeliku, MAO, inštitutu MIRIAD in British Councilu.