Sticks/Boxes and Planes: General artistic concerns, themes, or perspectives: “My God is Machinery; and the art of the future will be the expression of the individual artist through powers of the machine – the machine doing all those things that the individual workman cannot do. The creative artist is the man who controls all this and understands it” – Frank Lloyd Wright, circa 1901, from the journal of Charles R. Ashbee.
At the turn of the century, Wright and some of his contemporaries understood the role of technology in their art; I wish to better understand the role of current technology through my own art.
My art explores the potential of using digital media as the conceptual generator and as a production method. I write software that generates images and sculpture. I write software that explores multiple series of a single concept or idea. The software enables me to express and produce any idea I wish. It helps me to better understand the underlying concepts of my work, as well as, produce exceedingly unexpected results. As with conceptual artists such as Sol LeWitt, the concept, in my case expressed in the software, becomes primary; the results are an interesting byproduct.
My overall interest is to investigate methods which can develop images and forms that are in one sense predictable, but have the element to generate the unexpected; the unexpected in a predictable way. The custom software becomes the instruction for producing the work itself. My primary focus is in developing methods and instructions and leaving the production to the computer; laser cutters and 3D printers.
Robert is an Associate Professor in the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago focusing on digital craftsmanship. During his twenty-eight years at IIT, he has developed and taught a series of CAD and digital design courses covering 2D and 3D CAD, image composition, animation, and form generation methods. He graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago, College of Architecture, prior to teaching at IIT; he pioneered digital graphic applications in the architectural office of Murphy/Jahn in the 1970’s. His research into digital methods and artwork covering science, mathematics, architecture, and technology inspires his artwork and continues to be published and presented internationally in the form of prints, web pieces, sculptural, and architectural studies. All of his artwork is algorithmically generated by custom developed software and digitally produced using printers, laser cutters, or 3D printing systems. Highlights of his digital artwork include SIGGRAPH 2001 Art Gallery and its International Traveling Art Show, the SIGGRAPH 2003 Art Gallery, the Chicago Sculpture International’s 2006, 2008, and 2010 Biennials; the Chicago Art Loop Open 2010. In January 2009, his textbook titled: The Codewriting Workbook, Creating Computational Architecture in AutoLISP, was published byPrinceton Architectural Press, New York.