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Folding = Coding for Matter

Matthew Gardiner (Ars Electronica Futurelab)
Location: Festival Pavilion
Average rating: ***..
(3.14, 7 ratings)

Folding, the origami of nature, has emerged as a creative strategy for programming function into materials. In recent years, artists, designers, scientists and tech giants alike have embraced the concepts, aesthetics and efficiency of folding as a method to add function to their creative products. The intention of this presentation is to bring attention to the fact that not only does the ”Programmable World” need to mean what we do with zeros and ones, but also how we can perceive matter and materials as having intrinsic programmable properties.

The following concepts will be presented, in brief, to frame the most innovative developments that use folding as a strategy. Arising from research in science and the arts, computation, mathematics, and material science has evolved the ideas found in folding paper into an area of exciting possibilities.

  • DNA Origami: nanotechnology, nature as a programmable system.
  • Soft Robotics: pneumatic systems with multiple articulations.
  • 4D printing: printing outside the box of the 3D printer.
  • Dumb to Smart: folding sophisticated mechanisms from a single material.

The conclusion of the talk will address the topic of dimensionality, that folds occur at many diverse scales, in many diverse mediums, yet the same principle of a fold–a simple hinge–combined many times over yields a complexity of form and function with wide ranging applications. Folding is way to write code into matter, to program with folds!

Photo of Matthew Gardiner

Matthew Gardiner

Ars Electronica Futurelab

Matthew Gardiner is an artist most well known for his work with origami and robotics. He coined the term Oribot 折りボト and then created the field of art/science research called Oribotics. Oribotics is a field of research that thrives on the aesthetic, biomechanic, and morphological connections between nature, origami and robotics.

Matthew Gardiner is currently an artist and senior lead researcher at the Ars Electronica Futurelab, in Linz Austria. As an artist Gardiner is known for his works concerned with origami and robotics: Oribotics. The work arises from the consideration of folded forms, their kinetic properties and electromechanical methods of actuation, sensing, interactions and luminous display. In 2003 Gardiner coined the terms Oribot and Oribotics, to define the emergent field of folding, robotics and technology, and has produced the following works with premieres: Oribotics 2004 at Next Wave Festival, Oribotics [laboratory] 2005 at Asialink Center, Oribotics [network] 2007 at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Oribotics [de] 2008 at Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Oribotics [house of dreaming] 2009 for Arena Theatre Company, Oribotics [the future unfolds] 2010 for Ars Electronica Festival and Tokyo Design Touch.

Gardiner’s other works include Origami House 2003: one square kilometer of paper folded into a full size house with the Melbourne Origami Group, 1001 Cranes: 7000 paper cranes installed in the shape of a three story high Gingko bonsai, and Radiobots a radio based percussive instrument for performance on architecture. From 2005-2006 he starred as a television presenter on ABC Sunday Arts teaching the art of origami. He is author of Everything Origami, publisher and editor of Folding Australia 2005, and Folding Australia 2007.

In 2013, Gardiner was awarded funding by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) under the PEEK scheme for scientific funding in the arts to investigate “ORI*: on the aesthetics and language of folding and technology”.

Gardiner has been the recipient of grants, awards from the Australia Council for the Arts, The City of Port Phillip Rupert Bunny Fellowship, Arts Victoria (Arts Innovation Board), Australian Network for Art and Technology, Victorian College of the arts. He has been a resident artist at the Ars Electronica Futurelab, Künstlerdorf Schöppingen, Australia Council Studio in Takadanobaba Tokyo, PICA, Federation Square, Origami House Tokyo, and the Digital Artist@Latrobe Regional Gallery.

A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, Fine Art Photography, and mentored by artists Patricia Piccinini and Peter Hennessey at Drome in Melbourne. Gardiner began folding paper at the age of eight, and around the same time he was given an Apple IIe by his father to learn how to code.