'A tool for ideas in the 3D lab', StyleGan2 AI, 2022

Tools for Things and Ideas.

Let’s break it down: a tool is a device used to carry out a particular function; a thing is an object that one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name to; an idea is a thought or a suggestion as to a possible course of action. What can happen when these three elements are combined, thrown up in the air, torn apart, hacked, recombined, played with, redefined, repurposed, observed, explored, questioned? Can we change the utilitarian, purposeful attitude we have towards them by changing the way we call them, use them, and consequently understand them?

Over the course of three years, a group of artists, researchers and designers have been invited by Formlab at KASK (Gent) to experiment with 3d technologies and media. Hacking the classical production process at any stage, or hacking the machines themselves, creativity found cracks and slipped through, made space, wandered and landed on the unexpected.

With a playful spirit and a taste for the pleasures of experimentation, artists, makers and researchers alike explored and articulated the relationship between user and tool in such a variety of ways that one could wonder where the limit is - if such a thing as a limit exists. Could the limit be the technology? If so, they changed it, pushed it, and innovated it. They stripped the tools of their particular functions. They created new things and new ideas.

In a time when everything must be useful and effective, in a world where productivity is the main parameter of evaluation, in a society that glorifies new technologies as the Holy Grail, Tools for Things and Ideas ran in the opposite direction.

Sometimes innocently, sometimes naively, sometimes deliberately mocking the capitalistic cycle of production and consumption, the works presented stand as heralds of a something else, a somewhere else, where one can choose to stop, experiment, play, laugh. Jeer at what’s out there. And why not, invent new tools for new things and new ideas.