The New Aesthetic, spontaneous ABS mutation and machine vision glitches.

Photo from Trammell Hudson

We just discovered 3D Printer Failure on Flickr- check out this delicious image from Trammell Hudson! There are loads of cool fails, like a devolving Buddha and portraits that fail to render accurately, an outcome anyone who has been interviewed by a media outlet will be familiar with.

3D printer failure is a great synecdoche for the New Aesthetic. The sea sees us; GIGO is everted into meatspace. The looping coils of mis-extruded ABS create gorgeous organic forms. Some seem resolved, like the extrojection of some noumena into our dimension.

Others are all about the fail. Rosa Menkman’s Glitch Studies Manifesto, quoted below, suggests the destruction of meaning in glitch creates an opening for discourse. But the destruction of intended object parameters in 3D printing failure is so content-laden, so metonymically dense, that the images themselves are discursive.



You can’t look through the Flickr gallery and not think about the bioprinting implications. I kind of want a failed cartilage scaffold to grow fantasy ears on. A 3D print of Walt Disney’s head fails: what does imply about the dream of reversing cell damage from cryonic storage- will we reboot with glitches? Someone tries to make a 3D model of Max Headroom and overstrains the medium; I heard you like meta so here’s some…meta.

I think3D print failures as real-world objects have a fascinating duality: they are accidental yet reproducible (if you can identify the glitch) . So you might have an art object that was created by a machine, without the uniqueness of a traditional art object. Perhaps you could make a limited edition run of the objects, the edition parameters defined by the failure conditions of the print- such as a torn belt or faulty extruder.

We’ll see where this goes in the next couple of years as cheap home printers like the Buccaneer (hopefully) ship. I look forward to an explosion of machine objects that escape their parameters.

Bonus: If you love glitch art, check Glitch Textiles artist Phillip Stearns’ “Year of The Glitch“. I love the techno-optimist sentiment he expresses here.

These images are not of broken things, but the unlocking of other worlds latent in the technologies with which we surround ourselves.

Stearns also links to an essay about Glitch art by Hugh S. Manon and Daniel Temkin which I really enjoyed, although I did finish my BFA at a ridiculously conceptual art school, so YMMV.

this post orginally appeared on the T324 blog.

This entry was posted in Tech news of the weird on by .

About Suzanne Forbes

Suzanne Forbes is a traditionally trained figurative artist who makes documentary art of queer culture and Berlin life. She also works in mixed media. She is a former New Yorker who immigrated to Berlin with her third husband and their two cats. Her work is crowdfunded by the support of her Patrons on Patreon; you could help! In previous lives Suzanne was a graffiti artist in downtown NY, a courtroom artist for CBS and CNN, a penciller for DC Comics on Star Trek, and a live-drawing chronicler of Bay Area alternative culture.

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