NORTD aka. Addie Wagenknecht & Stefan Hechenberger
Culture Lab and ISIS Arts present Nortd aka Addie and Stefan who will be our first joint research residency artists.
Nortd is a research and development studio based in New York generating work in the field of art, architecture and system design. It is a studio-based incubator of creative thought engaging the overlap between science and design.
Over the last half decade, nortd's open source hardware has been built and used by hundreds of people, labs, hacker-spaces and universities worldwide. They believe that people should think globally and build locally. Nortd was founded as an international open source collaborative, outputting artistic research and scientific development for humanity. Their work has been covered internationally by outlets such as the Economist, CNN, Popular Mechanics and Make Magazine.
Nortd will be based in Culture Lab over the rest of April, while in residence at Culture Lab/ISIS Arts Nortd will be working on the Lasersaur, an open source laser cutter. Nortd are engaged in a marathon to push personal fabrication towards a mainstream movement that will eventually change how we design, produce, and consume our everyday objects.
The Lasersaur project's goal is to create an open source laser cutter. Nortd hope to provide a cheap, safe, and highly-capable machine that will increase the proliferation of laser cutters and make a significant contribution to the personal fabrication movement. As part of this movement they hope to simplify the creation and sharing (building instructions thereof) of tangible objects. Helping to make open source hardware mainstream.
“We create objects, interfaces and installations the same way we write software: engineer like architects and write like poets. Seemingly contradictory it makes sense when seeing software as a form of wizardry. The outcome is highly effective but the association with other areas of expertise is enigmatic. At its core, it is a language for describing actions much like the spells in fairytales. It is as if your entire childhood nobody told you there was software behind the curtain. The language of code has metalinguistic abstractions.
These layers of interfaces are created on the fly, manifested by code. It's like any natural language that evolves- just magnitudes faster. Not only does this make software a way of comprehending, but it also has the ability to shift ideas beyond the realm of theoretical wizardry. Time to whip the magic out!”
Their premise; The entry cost of industrial design and production matters.
Democratizing this process in similar ways as print, audio, and video will have a rippling
effect through the entire culture of creating. Having previously carried out a Fellowship at Eyebeam they created the CUBIT and Touchkit projects. Which were at the forefront of demystifying multi-touch computer interfaces and bringing them to the masses in an open source fashion.
Their approach was simple: slashing the costs by a factor of 10, open-sourcing the hardware and software, building a developer community and making the technology accessible to as many artist and developers as possible.
“Building things is fun and we prefer custom-built bikes, cars, houses, surf boards over industrially mass-produced ones any time. For us these are indicators of a read/write versus a read-only culture. They are indicators of a society in which authorship is democratized versus monopolized, or quite simply a prosperous versus an idling culture.
We understand the appeal of watching a dream team fly to the moon but ultimately think it's more worthwhile to emphasize community and allow wide-spread participation. We believe a culture that allows more engagement and collaboration is a better one.”
During their residency Nortd will be spending their time prototyping hardware, writing software, and collaborating in a community of like minded people, they are dedicated to making this a community effort, bringing in as many creators as possible, hosting workshops, lectures and discussions.