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06 - Crafting as Inquiry into Computation: Exploring wire-bending in traditional practice and design education

This paper presents the development of three novel approaches to sustaining and revitalizing the dying craft of wire-bending: Digital Crafting, Computational Crafting, and Crafting Fabrication. Computation and digital technology were integrated with traditional wire-bending principles to design and fabricate artifacts. Three artifacts resulting from these novel approaches are presented, and analyzed for how these methods may be used in design education and practice. [Link to paper]

Citation - Noel, Vernelle A. A. 2016. “Crafting as Inquiry into Computation - Exploring Wire-Bending in Traditional Practice and Design Education.” Herneoja, Aulikki; Toni Österlund and Piia Markkanen (Eds.), Complexity & Simplicity - Proceedings of the 34th eCAADe Conference - Volume 1, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland, 22-26 August 2016, Pp. 311-320. http://papers.cumincad.org/cgi-bin/works/Show?_id=ecaade2016_075.


05 - H(EC)I – Human Ethno-Computational Interaction: (Re)Conceptualizing Wire-Bending and Design in the Trinidad Carnival

In this position paper, I argue that a comprehensive understanding of craft-persons, the ways in which they interface with their tools, artifacts, and each other, as well as an understanding of their beliefs, can yield valuable insight to inform and demarcate this potential field of Digital Craftsmanship – specifically by (re)conceptualizing the term “digital” as one with real social, historical, and cultural dimensions, i.e. computational. I call this approach H(EC)I for Human Ethno-Computational Interaction. Using the craft of wire-bending, and design in the Trinidad Carnival as the site for my study, I demonstrate how traditional (non-digital) craft and digital practices can merge through ethnography, computation, and interaction through this approach – from culture to technology. [Link]

Citation - Noel, Vernelle A. A. 2016. “H(EC)I – Human Ethno-Computational Interaction: (Re)Conceptualizing Wire-Bending and Design in the Trinidad Carnival.” Digital Craftsmanship: HCI Takes on Technology as an Expressive Medium. April 20. http://digitalcraft.media.mit.edu/index.php/2016/04/20/heci-human-ethno-computational-interaction-reconceptualizing-wire-bending-and-design-in-the-trinidad-carnival/.


04 - Exploring Algorithmic Tectonics: A course on creative computing in architecture and design

Algorithmic Tectonics is a course on creative computing in architecture and design. By learning to create computational design artifacts (such as experimental software, responsive objects and robotic fabrication applications) participants explore computa-tion as a territory for speculative, critical and poetic thinking about design (rather than merely as an instrument of production or representation). Departing from the conven-tional approach of programming courses based on lectures and problem-sets, the course introduces each topic in a project-oriented fashion through design questions. Organized in three modules, design, visualize and make, the class prompts students to develop an appreciation for current developments in computational design, and to create their own projects with an incremental degree of sophistication: from simple interactive computer graphics to architectural robotics applications. [Link]

Citation - Noel, Vernelle A.A. et. al . 2015. Exploring Algorithmic Tectonics: A Course on Creative Computing in Architecture and Design. Stuckeman School.


03 - The Bailey-Derek Grammar: Recording the craft of wire-bending in the Trinidad Carnival

This paper presents work on the development of a shape grammar that records the dying, undocumented craft of wire-bending in the Trinidad Carnival. This craft is important for the building and continuation of cultural heritage and identity. Due to the lack of prior research in this non-Western design practice, the author conducted site visits, interviews and observations, and visually examined wire-bent artifacts in Trinidad to develop this grammar. This paper presents the materials, steps and shape rules that begin to synthesize the craft, as well as one design. [Link]

Citation - Noel, Vernelle A.A. 2015. “The Bailey-Derek Grammar: Recording the Craft of Wire-Bending in the Trinidad Carnival.” Leonardo 48 (4): 357–65. doi:10.1162/LEON_a_01089.


02 - Trinidad Carnival: Improving Design through Computation and Digital Technology

This thesis explores the integration of computation and digital technology to support design in the Trinidad Carnival. I argue that computation can contribute to design in the Trinidad Carnival by (1) addressing the dying art of wire bending, (2) improving design, and (3) by fostering a more inclusive design process. My study is motivated by the current design problems in the Trinidad Carnival. They include the dying art form of wire bending, the lack of time and resources to generate design alternatives, the lack of an inclusive design process, and the lack of community involvement in "making" in Carnival. To address these problems, I develop support based on a comprehensive study of the existing situation, and explore the integration of computational tools and digital technology in the design process. To that end, I (1) develop the Bailey-Derek wire bending grammar to capture the unique, traditional art form of wire bending, (2) propose a new, more inclusive design process, (3) use computation and digital technology to enable the generation of design alternatives and create "objects to think with" in the design process, and (4) add to the understanding of a design process outside the domains of product, industrial, architecture, and engineering design. [Link]

Citation - Noel, Vernelle A. A. 2013. “Trinidad Carnival: Improving Design through Computation and Digital Technology.” Masters Thesis, Cambridge, Mass: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


01 - Surface skeleton generation based on 360-degree profile scan

A rapid prototyping method is invented, which works on a specific data structure produced by an optical metrology technique: 360-degree surface profile scanning. A computer algorithm takes an object profile data, restructure the format, generate horizontal and vertical ribs, lay out the ribs on a 2D canvas and output the geometries to a file format compatible with laser cutters. A laser cutting machine is subsequently used to cut all the ribs from sheet materials. Then, the ribs are manually assembled based on computer-generated assembly codes. Through this process, the original object’s 3D surface can be prototyped rapidly at an arbitrary scale, which may well exceed the working dimension of the laser cutter. [Link]

Citation - Lujie Chen; Lawrence Sass; Woong Ki Sung and Vernelle Noel "Surface skeleton generation based on 360-degree profile scan", Proc. SPIE 8790, Optics for Arts, Architecture, and Archaeology IV, 87901M (May 30, 2013); doi:10.1117/12.2022162


Copyright © 2016 Vernelle A. A. Noel