Seeking Spectacle – Digital Design & Construction of Interactive Physical Sculptures

Brad Atkinson, Daniel Della-Bosca and Dale Patterson Part of CW16

This paper describes a project involving an extensive investigation into the manufacturing methods utilized by businesses’ seeking spectacle within the context of themed interactive physical environment’s. Two manufacturing methods in particular are in question as they have fairly similar processes, 3D printing and CNC machining. One process is additive, the other is subtractive. The paper begins by observing the theoretical ground-works of spectacle, archetype, and co-operative inquiry, including how they are used by media culture, and consequently in themed interactive environments. Subsequently a critical examination of key exemplars is described, analyzing the processes and methods used to produce an understanding of not only the current industry but to expose the successes and failures of the manufacturing methods under investigation. Finally the studio methods and processes for the projects physical interrogation are revealed. From developing and capturing the likeness of an on-screen iconic creature and the digital modelling processes involved, to research and testing of materials, production speeds, programming and operation of machinery. Reaching a physical outcome that displayed both processes involved, enabling the realization of a full-scale sculpture and miniatures intended for the themed environment. The project identified subtractive manufacturing’s superiority in contemporary society over additive manufacturing processes contextually grounded in large-scale themed environments and props that seek spectacle.