The new Futurists

Don't miss a visit to Dream Makers, a new show at the Israel Museum's Palevsky Design Pavilion. It will knock you out. The subtitle of the show could easily have served as its name: Design Meets Technology.

By MEIR RONNEN
January 28, 2007 07:41
gever art 88 298

gever art 88 298. (photo credit: )

Don't miss a visit to Dream Makers, a new show at the Israel Museum's Palevsky Design Pavilion. It will knock you out. The subtitle of the show could easily have served as its name: Design Meets Technology. On view are sculptures and architectural details designed in and made via a computer program, the work of more than 60 Israeli and international designers and programmers. The system of Rapid Prototyping (RP) enables designers to fabricate an object from a three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD). The innovative three-dimensional printer employed was developed at Objet Geometries, a young Israeli-based hi-tech company. Click for upcoming events calendar! The system works something like a CAT scan in reverse, the object being built up layer by layer in a manner that leaves just the finished object after the support material is "washed" away. The forebear of this amazing system was pioneered several decades ago by engineers Herbert Voelicker and Carl Deckard. Variations of it have been exploited by both architects and industrial designers, as well as Israeli designers of new medical devices and even jewelry. Today the system is used to create not just fashion designs but even the fabrics themselves. These fabrics are seamless and are composed in a single step from powdered polymers bonded together with a laser beam. Designers in Europe and the US have made themselves expert users of CAD, usually as applied to their particular field. But more recently, the method is being used to create new forms of composition in art. This show came about following the initiative and drive of Alex Ward, curator of Architecture and Design at the Israel Museum. It will introduce to visitors a new tool in art, or, if you like, a new set of chisels. Almost magically, a design created on a computer screen quickly becomes a solid object. But Ward says the real aim of the show is to ask questions about how to forge cooperation between designers in very different fields; and about how to shape future objects and products that are not just about esthetics, styling and profits. Objet Geometries is a world leader in three-dimensional printing technology. Ward has been helped in bringing this show about because of the willingness of Objet to throw open its facilities to young Israelis without any immediate expectation of commercially viable results. When I was a teenager, we drew architectural and engineering details by hand, using special pens, compasses and india ink, an often messy and tedious process. Architectural perspectives were drawn in pencil and painted in watercolors. But for decades now, the labor of days can be reduced to a more efficient presentation completed in less than half an hour. Perspectives arise from two-dimensional plans. Yet these wonderful new tools are just that: tools. What is done with them depends on the creativity of the artists and designers. Even in this show, there are works that are much more fascinating than others. All, however, are intriguing. All are in one color, light beige, the color of the polymer selected and bonded by the laser. Set by Ward's team against dark matte backgrounds, they are seen to better advantage than in the rather unimaginative catalogue, where everything is printed on white pages. Many of the exhibits, some of them team projects, are informed by a whimsical sense of humor, like the picnic set of cutlery, cups and bowls set in a geometric matrix; or the Ship in a Bottle conceived in a pencil drawing. Most remarkable is Folding Space, a multi-dimensional geometric surface of great beauty; and Cells, a modular structure evoking the structure of an animal horn or the evolution of a plant. Morning Glory is a modular serial growth that sits within itself, like the sets of gourd-like baskets fashioned by the tribes of West Africa. There are so many designers in this show that I have to refrain from even listing all the participants. But this is an easy exhibition to see; and one that should not be missed. PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE their finger not only on the trigger button, but on the pulse of society. An impressive new Israel Museum show, Engagement - Israeli Photography Now has been selected by curator Nissan Peretz with this idea very much in mind. Sadly, ethnic violence, war, social discrimination, economic hardship, political instability, crime - these and environmental ills are all part of existence in Israel. Peretz admits that art does not change matters. But most of the prints in this show touch us because they are also art. Just look at the curved white patrol track, freshly cut into natural surroundings, photographed by Shai Kremer. A wonderful shot but one open to objection. The roads we drive on were all cut out of pristine landscape, as were the houses in which we live. Yes, preserving what's left is an admirable aim. However patrol tracks are part of our reality, part of the need to defend ourselves. Pikuah nefesh. Oded Yedaya caught (or set up) a file of hikers walking through a quarry. They are not doing this on purpose. The quarry has destroyed a chunk of the landscape through which they must pass. This understated scene is almost surreal in the way it makes its point. But of course we need quarries too. How could we build without them? Yedaya also has an eye for the basic culture clash affecting this land. A sit-in of protesting young Arab women in traditional dress faces a group of settlers. It's all calm, but at the picture's center one notices an Israeli girl photographing the Arab women with a tiny digital camera. Whose side is she on? Where will it all end, if ever? What to make of a long straight line of rock coping vanishing into a stretch of desert? Actually the coping is set at the edge of a long embankment which enables squadrons of tanks to be driven straight on to the transporters that will carry them to their base. This print, which looks at first like a geometric conceptual earthwork that does not spoil the environment, was also taken by Shai Kremer. Even the title of a work can manipulate us, like Ruth and Naomi, by Adi Nes. His pair of latter-day gleaners picking up discarded vegetables from the ground of a market also looks posed and the girls look sadly young. But no matter; the point is made. Photography shows have long been dominated by huge chromogenic prints the size of large oil paintings. This one is no exception. The scale adds to their presence and even importance and strengthens the assertion that these prints are art. Others represented in this often moving show are Gerard Allon, Gaston Zvi Ickovitch, Amon Yariv, Yair Barak, Sharon Paz, Sharon Yaari, Barry Frydlender and Erez Israeli. Worth seeing.


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