Faculty News, Student News

Isherwood Spearheads Art and Technology Collaboration

This summer, faculty member Jon Isherwood once again spearheaded a collaboration between the Digital Stone Project and Garfagnana Innovazione in Tuscany, focused on bridging the gap between art and technology. This is the fourth such collaboration between Isherwood and students from Bennington College, the Digital Stone Project, and the Italian incubator for the artisanal stone industry.

The Digital Stone Project, of which Isherwood serves as president, is a not-for-profit technology organization based in the US that offers artists, architects, designers, and the public the means and knowledge necessary to create sculptural works using advanced, 3D digital technology.

In its collaboration with Garfagnana Innovazione, the Digital Stone Project brought together artists, designers, and architects to learn about and work with cutting edge technology on an age-old sculptural material, Tuscan marble. Joining these professionals were students from Bennington College , Arizona State University, the New York Institute of Technology, the University of Alberta, the Penn State University, the University of Guelph, William Paterson University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison were invited to take part in the event.

Working in Garfagnana Innovazione’s state-of-the-art labs, Isherwood and robotics engineers guided workshop participants in their experiments with a wide range of manual and mechanical tools. Over the course of the intensive, 4 week-long residency, each artist produced a marble sculpture carved with a 7-axis robot arm and finished by hand.

The Bennington students selected to participate in the residency, India Bushnell ’17 and Maisy Capps ’18, took part in Isherwood’s advanced sculpture class during the spring term, working with 3D digital technologist Michael Stradley to develop their models.

An exhibition of work produced during the artist’s residency, Hard Copy:, opened at the Gallery Lombardi in Pietrasanta on July 2, highlighting the intersection of art, engineering, and advanced technologies. A symposium, “Stone Carving in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” was also held, offering ideas from experts on ways of working in a digital framework, and creating 21st century solutions for using design software and automatic manufacture with ancient stone.

Robotic arm at Garfagnana
Residency participants had access to advanced technology, including a 7-axis robotic arm for stone milling.
India Bushnell at Garfagnana
India Bushnell works on her sculpture at Garfagnana Innovazione.
Maisy Capps Nick
Maisy Capps used digital and manual carving techniques for her sculpture, Nick.