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K-State Today

March 30, 2016



'D.evolution' by associate professor Nathan Howe on exhibit through April 8

By Thom Jackson

Howe poster

The College of Architecture, Planning & Design's Chang Gallery will present "d.evolution" through April 8. Created by Nathan Howe, associate professor, the exhibit is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday–Friday.

Pushing the digital realm, "d.evolution" reveals the development of ink-on-paper art through a lens of parametric precision and evolution, or in this case, digital evolution "devolution". The entire structure of each series is created through the use of a custom parametric script, which develops drawings through a connective logic. The script leaves several parameters available to adjust the composition, much like strings on a marionette. In the hands of the puppet master, the parameters can be adjusted to create endless variations on the theme of the design. Mass customization of intricate geometries can be achieved.

To ground the study with real output, a tool for drawing these studies was developed. This tool interfaces with a Computer Numerically Controlled, or CNC, mill to mechanize the studies and allows the pieces to be scaled as needed. Given the CNC's involvement, each iteration is produced as a "hand drawing" where the paper receives the pen in a most traditional, and yet nontraditional, means.

Inspiration for the studies was found in old botany and anatomy drawings from the 18th and 19th Century. These precise representations and notations of plant and animal species have a certain character, history and gravitas. Each digital "specimen" of the study was given its own character, exploring its anatomy beyond just surface pattern, into more complex 3-D form.

This series represents only a few samples of the process in place, as endless variations can be explored through parametric changes. Scaling up of the process to epic proportions is easily managed with the CNC's involvement. The final outcome of this work will be presented in Istanbul, Turkey at an upcoming Design Communication Association European conference in May.

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