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Fluid Borders:
The Aesthetic Evolution of Digital Sculpture(con't)
      by Christiane Paul
Telemanufacturing and Networked Sculpture

The most profound change current communication technologies have brought about is the creation of a networked society, which allows for instantaneous sharing of information and remote collaboration. In the realm of digital sculpture, remote interaction opens up possibilities for "telemanufacturing" -- the creation of virtual or physical sculptures by a team of creators/designers who are connected remotely via the Internet. Tele-fabrication makes it possible to create physical objects at any location on the planet and, as Dan Collins points out, to bring the power of "remote" computerized 3D visualization into an expanded dialog with the haptic and kinesthetic potentials of the human body -- any idea, produced anywhere, can literally be "at your fingertips."

Freedom at last from the bounds and constraints of the editorial and censorship of traditional communications systems and their suppressive death grip on art. - Keith Brown

Both Collins and Smith point to the implications this method of production has for traditional structures of exhibiting art work: telemanufacturing potentially allows to bypass shipping costs, customs and inventory maintenance as well as curators and traditional art market structures. The capability to digitally "teleport" forms and products globally means that they can be created "on site" on an "as needed," "where needed" basis.

The values and future I see are ones in which telemanufacturing and sculpture mutually benefit from their interaction, sculpture from the access to materials and processes developed for commercial production- for-profit applications, and not normally available to the individual artist, and telemanufacturing from exposure to the challenges of producing in a philosophically directed, unique output activity. - Derrick Woodham

Keith Brown sees a rosy future for telemanufacturing if it indeed means increased access for all, the dissipation and decentralization of the marketplace, the means of production, and the way they have previously been controlled by institutions and the art market. But as Dan Collins states, the idea of plugging under-represented communities into the design dialog, may be utopian. The majority of the information that is available today is accessible only to a minority of the global population.
Telepresence and telemanufacturing are doubtlessly revolutionary developments but an improvement of access to these technologies still requires major changes within existing systems. For Christian Lavigne, one of the biggest dangers electronic arts are confronted with is their use as an alibi for the pursuit of purely commercial strategies. In his opinion, the most dangerous ideology is a liberalism that mixes up the means and the end to which they are used.

Until now, telemanufacturing is still far from being common practice. Perhaps Intersculpt 99 -- which will, in any case, be an exciting forum and platform for exchange among digital sculptors -- will also provide an opportunity to experience the benefits of designing within a remote, decentralized team.

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