Bellevue Arts Museum explores the role of technology in craft with Atoms + Bytes

December 29, 2015
Images: Geoffrey Mann, Scotland, Cross-Fire (detail), from the "Natural Occurrence" series. Photo: Courtesy of Geoffrey Mann; Unfold with Tim Knapen, Belgium, L’Artisan Électronique. Photo: Peter Verbruggen; LigoranoReese, The Fiber Optic Tapestry. Photo: Courtesy of LigoranoReese

December 29, 2015
Contact: Karin Kidder
Phone: 425.519.0759


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Bellevue, WA—Atoms + Bytes: Redefining Craft in the Digital Age showcases groundbreaking work by makers situated at the intersection of the digital and the analogue worlds. These makers hail from around the world—from countries such as Belgium, Chile, Israel, and Sweden, to the Museum’s own backyard in Seattle, Washington. The exhibition offers the community a first-time opportunity to witness how the same technologies that drive the economy of the Pacific Northwest are adapted for use by makers on the front lines of technological exploration.

Through the presentation of works that embody an integration of traditional and digital processes and materials, Atoms + Bytes reframes the conversation about the place of technology within the historical trajectory of objectmaking. Is a clean line of code any less a work of craft than a beautifully thrown vase? Everything from singular works of art to bespoke garments and functional objects can be produced through admixtures comprising clay, fiber, salt, nylon powder, metal, or plastic filament, and shaped with software and web-based interfaces. As this reality becomes ever more accessible to makers and consumers alike, this exhibition extends an invitation to reevaluate the way we place value on craft and define “hand-made.”

Today’s makers have access to a wider array of tools, materials, and processes than ever before. Digital methods such as scanning and imaging, coding, CNC-milling, and rapid prototyping not only influence the way objects are designed, manufactured, and distributed, but also change the terms of our relationships with them. The artists, craftspeople, and designers in Atoms + Bytes use material practices that span millennia of craft traditions while drawing on cutting-edge digital tools to develop innovative ways of making—accommodating new forms and typologies that shape our changing world.

The artists represented in Atoms + Bytes comprise a range of backgrounds and creative practices. Their works reflect the global reach of information in this digital age and the results that facilitate working individually and collaboratively; singularly and in myriad methods and materials; site-specifically and without boundaries.

Makers include Unfold and Tim Knapen (Belgium), Geoffrey Mann (Scotland), gt2p (Chile), Front Design (Sweden), Marcel Wanders (Netherlands), Joris Laarman (Netherlands), Rael San Fratello (USA), Norwood Viviano (USA), Emily Cobb (USA), and Amit Zoran (Israel).

Atoms + Bytes: Redefining Craft in the Digital Age is organized by Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Jennifer Navva Milliken, Curator of Craft.

Bellevue Arts Museum is a leading destination in the Pacific Northwest to experience art, craft, and design. BAM engages the community through exhibitions, programs, and publications, featuring regional, national, and international artists.