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TRANS/FORM

The development of the steam locomotive two hundred years ago was a technological leap that transformed the modern world.  Standard time zones and the electric telegraph were first created in order to coordinate railroad schedules. Suddenly how time was perceived changed drastically; travel and communication that previously took months could be done in days, or even seconds. The world quickly became a smaller and faster place.

The advent of the Internet brought us to a similar turning point.  Now firmly established as a platform for amazingly fast and accessible communication, how we interact with each other and engage in the commerce of goods and information has once again transformed. As three-dimensional printing technologies improve almost daily, yet another horizon of transformation approaches.  Three-dimensional printing brings the digital into the physical world.

This project utilizes the steam locomotive as a symbol in an experiment of three-dimensional transformation.  The original steam locomotive was designed on paper long before the availability of computer-aided design or three-dimensional rendering software. In the contemporary world the locomotive has become digital as it has been transformed into virtual models. Through a handcrafted process, the locomotive is re-translated from the digital back into the physical.  In a new way, the form of the locomotive is rendered in real space once again.

Technology transforms how we transmit goods and communicate. As technology progressed the real became digital, and now we come full circle, as the digital becomes real.  Some things are lost in this translation, and some things are found.  As the boundaries between the digital and the physical become even more fluid, the world as we know it will continue to re-form.

Integral to the concept of this piece is the process of transforming the digital to the physical through handcraft.  In order to help viewers to understand the steps that went into the creation of the train the work is exhibited with two didactic posters that outline the process and include the images below.