Plato´s Columns

Plato´s Columns – Platonic Geometries vs. Vague Gestures in Robotic Construction


Matias del Campo, Sandra Manninger


Robotics, Ontology, Design, Architecture, Construction Technology, Posthumanism, Vagueness, Emergence, Representation, Agency, Gestures, Automation, Postdigital, Glitch Art, Fused deposition modeling


This paper examines the inherent possibilities for architectural production in automated deposition modeling techniques, primarily explored through the use of industrial robots in combination with plastic deposition heads. These robots, in combination with various polymers, toolpaths, and colorations, served as a design ecology for the exploration of emergent behaviors in robotic construction. The relationship between geometry (Euclidian, topological, fractal), mechanical properties of the material (plasticity, elasticity, viscosity, resilience), optical properties (color, absorbance, transmittance, scattering), and the gestural qualities of robotic toolpaths constitute the palette adopted for the presented project. The project combines the rigor of a platonic body (Figure 2) with the emergent properties of vague gestures. The introduction of moments of uncertainty in the process produces glitches that are embraced as an opportunity to find novel aesthetic conditions. The profound entanglement with the post-digital realm is discussed as the discursive plane of thinking applied to the project.

Figure 1. Hirsute column, interior view.
Figure 2. Extruded square as the initial definition.

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