Materials Migrations

Materials Migrations proposes to investigate the transformation and degradation of digital borne artefacts and specifically Rapid Prototyped objects to make informed decisions regarding the care of these objects within museum collections. The project proposes a knowledge exchange with artists, designers and crafts people, to identify issues related to the use of digital manufacturing. The physical output is proposed to be a body of collaboratively produced work and a documentation of the process which visualises the stages of production and degradation.

Rapid Prototyping technologies are becoming more accessible and over the past 25 years have been increasingly used by artists and designers. As a result Rapid Prototypes are entering museum collections in ever increasing numbers, using a vast range of technologies and materials. The Materials Migrations Project aims to expose conservation issues related to Rapid Prototypes by focusing on the journey of an artwork created by means of a RP technology through various stages: digital conception, digital degradation, digital migration to physical production, focusing on material identification, production processes, to eventual aging, and degradation. This journey will be visualized in a macro and micro scale through a film, an artwork in itself aimed at demystifying a wider audience on the manufacturing processes and conservation concerns related to RP.

The project will endeavour to collect information and provide answers to the following questions:

  • What are the different types of RP processes?
  • What are the symptoms of degradation of RP objects?
  • How does the shape (design) of an object affect its stability?
  • How widespread are RP objects in UK collections?
  • What are the different materials used in RP processes?