Morphogenetic Design Experiment 03

This Morphogentic design experiment is based on the parametric proliferation of very simple material components, namely twisted and bent paper-strips. In this project a digital component is defined as an open and extendable geometric framework based on the ‘logics’ of a material system that integrates the possibilities and limits of making and the self-forming tendencies and constraints of the material. Through elaborate physical studies of the behaviour of twisted and bent paper-strips the essential geometric features such as points of curvature, developability of the surface and tangency alignments were captured in a digital component. This component describes the non-metric geometric associations of a single paper-strip as part of a component collective and thereby anticipates the process of assembly and integration into a larger system. In other words, through parametric geometric relationships the digital component ensures that any morphology generated can be materialised as strips cut from sheet material.

A larger system can then be derived through a process of proliferating components into polymorphic populations. For this a variable ‘proliferation environment’ is defined to provide both the constraints for the accretion of components as well as stimuli/inputs for their individual morphologies. Then an algorithm drives the distribution of the components. The resulting system remains open to ‘local’ manipulation of individual components, ‘regional’ manipulation of component collectives and ‘global’ manipulations of the component system, proliferation environment and distribution algorithm. The parametric associations of and between components, collectives and the overall system allows the rapid implementation of these manipulations, leading to a multitude of self-updating system instances. Situated in a simulated environment of external forces, the system’s behavioural tendencies then reveal its performative capacity. For example exposing multiple system instances to digitally simulated light flow enables the registration of interrelations between parametric manipulations and the modulation of light levels upon and beyond the system. Additional digital structural analyses of the same instances reveal the related load-bearing behaviour of the system. These behavioural tendencies of the system interacting with external forces and modulating transmitted flows can be traced across various parametrically defined individual morphologies. The resulting patterns of force distribution and conditions of varying luminous intensity can inform further cycles of local, regional and global parametric manipulations. Continually informing the open parametric framework of component definition and proliferation yields an increasing differentiation with the capacity for negotiating multiple performance criteria within one system. In continued feedback with the external environment, these behavioural tendencies can then inform the ontogenetic development of a specific system through the parametric differentiation of its sub-locations. And these processes of differentiation will always remain consistent with the constraints of materialisation, fabrication and assembly of the paper-strips.

Morphogenetic Design Experiment 03 – Paper Strip ExperimentAchim Menges with Andrew Kudless, Ranidia Leeman, Nikolaos Stathapoulos, Michuan Xu