John Marshall, former baby-product developer and assistant professor at the School of Art & Design, is no stranger to rapid prototyping technology. His projects consistently use precisely printed or cut parts as both an artistic medium and means to engineering his aesthetic and technical designs.
Marshall was asked to create art for “Trouble in Paradise/Medi(t)ation of Survival” at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan; an exhibit intended to contemplate environmental developments and degradation. Expecting it to be a rather guilt-ridden, terror-inducing show, Marshall was moved to contribute an uplifting piece that would affirm positive action.
In designing his project, Marshall was inspired in part by Jonathon Chapman’s thesis in Emotionally Durable Design, which argues an emotional user-object relationship would encourage us to cherish, not trash, our objects and our space. Marshall also drew inspiration from the meditative nature of a tea ceremony, which requires participants to focus solely on their tea and presence in the teahouse. To sip, and sit. To value the space and objects in it.
With all this in mind, Marshall designed a beautifully simple (and technically brilliant) solution to our culture of insatiable consumption through an installation that recognizes and focuses attention on its visitor—creating his own glue of ABS plastic and acetone along the way. The THR_33 (Tea House for Robots) is a thrεε-part system that includes a “Smile Scan” that recognizes heads and measures smiles, a teahouse wall that “opens its eyes” to the visitor, and three robots based off a toaster, radio, and mixer, programmed with different behaviors that engage interaction between the user, the object, and the space
To see exactly how this works, check out the process here.
By Josephine Keenan