Titanium Valley – Silicon Valley (V2V)

This is an initial draft of a project overview.  Feedback is welcome:

The goal of this work is to produce meaningful objects for both the Silicon Valley (San Jose) and the Titanium Valley (Ekaterinburg and Salda).

The way we arrive at this is somewhat complex. We have two teams of researchers, one working in Russia and one working in the USA which essentially will never meet each other in real life. These teams have to work together to create a series (2) of collaborative works which will be presented in their respective biennials. These final sculptural works can be the same form, but they can also be different forms. The way this collaboration is approached is through a shared experience and collaborative building process that takes place in a 3d virtual environment with a robust set of sandbox features.

These steps are not distinct, and in fact overlap through most of the project. There is however a general progression from the first steps to the last.

Data Gathering: Research and interview of the people of the regions. This work takes the form of documentation and discussions about value and interest, and is done in a traditional sociological way.

Shared experiences: In order to function more closely collaboratively we have chosen to embrace the story function within the Minecraft environment.  That is to say that we are creating, exploring, and building in a “survival” environment.

Collaborative building: The environment is focused on being a sandbox, or a blank slate. You can engage it either solo or as a multi-player experience. Either space will let you build, but in multiplayer something new emerges, collaborative building. Whether it be multiple people haphazardly building and rebuilding a city, like our dear beloved Orwell, or whether it be people working on a plan, everyone with permission can build and rebuild.

Data export: The server is ours, bought and paid for, well rented month to month. We have full access to the data and as such are able to download and examine it structurally and aesthetically. This and the fact that Mineways has made the export and translation of data almost trivial connect everything we build “in world” to fabrication techniques on both sides of the world.

Fabrication: Using .obj or .stl files makes it almost trivial to 3d print these objects. This is great for prototyping and in fact any object we build can be prototyped in a matter of hours. The limitations with 3D printing however involve size and materials, but working with data allows us to look at other fabrication methods – paper folding (a la pepakura) or corrugated cardboard or even sheet metal, and then there are possible modular hanging structures using interlocking pieces and wire.

The process is pretty clear, what is not clear at this point is what the chosen object will be, where it will be placed and what it shall be made out of. To get there we are in the process of completing a couple of “sprints” in terms of the different areas.  The first of the sprints involves the shared experience, our Russian counterparts have moved in and found a place to setup shop.  We now need to locate a place to complete our builds.  The next will involve collaborative builds, I have suggested the 4004 for the Silicon Valley team and the the Visozky tower for the Titanium Valley team.

If it is not obvious each “object” has critical cultural significance for the valley it represents, (I am writing a post on the 4004) which I intend to explain to the best of my abilities. What we are also looking at is the shift in aesthetics that will be forced upon us by the low resolution environment.  Finally we want to consider that each object will have a certain resemblance to architecture in the space, and will be explorable from within the environment.

Draft 1- June 18