Review: Out of Hand exhibition

By Penny Craswell

‘Out of Hand’ is a new exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum that explores how digital technology is enabling new materials, processes and objects. It features more than 60 works by architects, designers, fashion designers and artists from around the world, with many focusing on new uses for cutting-edge digital design, scanning and printing technologies.

Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
‘Who This Am’ by Kijin Park (left). Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts

One of the most impressive aspects of ‘Out of Hand’ is the exhibition design by LAVA. The architecture studio won a competition to design the space, which consists of a series of curving pure white forms in vertical bands that flow through the space, creating walls, plinths and sculptural forms. 

The forms were created with bendable plywood cut by CNC and then installed on site on a timber framework. Chris Bosse, Director of LAVA says: “As a practice deeply entrenched in digital fabrication technologies it was exciting to create an immersive space that gives room for storytelling and objects while being part of the story itself.”

The exhibition features a number of fascinating designs that explore how the manipulation of form by digital technologies is leading to all sorts of new possibilities. Curator Matthew Connell says: “These new techniques allow new forms, new geometries, quick experimentation, easy replication, expanded levels of complexity, perfect patterning and opportunity for increased sustainability.”

“Who This Am” by Korean artist Kijin Park positioned near the exhibition entry begins this dialogue. The work features a 3D-printed cup that sits on a pallet of A4 sheets of paper with a mind-bogglingly large-number of zeros and ones – this is the amount of code required to print the cup.

Other conceptual pieces include two sculptures by Barry x Ball, a US-based sculptor who has recreated two sculptures from art history – one Baroque and one modernist – in a process of active improvement, using new technologies to ‘perfect’ the original.

Perfect Forms by Barry X Ball (right). Photo: Marinco Kojdanovski
Perfect Forms by Barry X Ball (right). Photo: Marinco Kojdanovski

One fascinating use of new technologies is Tokyo-based Aki Inomata’s hermit crab ‘shelters’, created by using CT scans to study the natural shapes of hermit crab shells and then replicating these using a 3D printer to create a transparent city for each crab to wear on its back.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, other outstanding pieces include the Bubble Dress by Iris Van Herpen, the incredible portraiture work of Chuck Close and two chairs that use digital design by London’s Zaha Hadid and Sydney’s Adam Goodrum. This exhibition has a lot to offer, particularly for those designers and architects interested in how new technologies can inspire innovation.

More on ‘Out of Hand’

Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
Chuck Close portrait (rear wall). Exhibition design by LAVA. Photo: Peter Bennetts
"Why not hand over a shelter to hermit crabs" by Aki Inomata. Photo courtesy of Maho Kubota Gallery
“Why not hand over a shelter to hermit crabs” by Aki Inomata. Photo courtesy of Maho Kubota Gallery
Bubble Dress by Iris van Herpen. Photo courtesty of Marinco Kojdanovski
Bubble Dress by Iris van Herpen. Photo courtesty of Marinco Kojdanovski

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