Carmel Crane

   My name is Carmel Crane and I am so excited to have the opportunity to participate in the DigiFab online residency. I have a background teaching Digital Art at the high school level and now work as an Instructional Technology Manager at Saint Mary’s College in California. Sometimes when you teach it is difficult to actually have time to create your own work, so recently I have made special efforts to get back into my own creative process and learn as much as possible about all the amazing new and ‘new to me’ digital tools that are out there waiting to be explored.

   I became interested in the DigiFab residency as a means of increasing my skills in fabrication and to get feedback and advice from other artists and digital creatives about about the kind of software, tools and work flows may be used for the fabrication of art and art installation artifacts.

   This information will be particularly useful to me as I am now a MA Multimedia student at CSUEB (Cal State East Bay) working on my final project.  I’m really excited to have a chance to delve into all the various software being introduced within this residency and to experiment, play and reflect on my own creative process.

   A current project I am working on where digital fabrication will play a key role is an interactive art installation, called Zarah 2216.  This piece will share a visual narrative documenting the life of fictional character, Zarah as she transforms into a cyborg.   Using interactive art, our group will question current and future technologies designed to alter human experience by extending life, senses perceptions and memories.

   Over this next year, our team will fabricate ‘artifacts from the future’, allowing visitors to the installation space a chance to examine the story of her life, her memories and sense experiences.  Thinking many generations into the future, we hope visitors to the installation will be prompted to reflect on some of the long-term consequences our current behaviors, and consider the incredible impact technology has had, and will have, on future generations.

My hope in taking the DigiFab residency is to develop skills that will help me to create these artifacts, and also to share the knowledge I gain within the residency to with CSUEB’s new Maker Space that is just coming together this Fall term.  Space is always of a premium on college campuses, and this year we have finally been able to realize a dedicated area for accessing and experimenting with digital fabrication.  The new space will allow students greater access to the fabrication tools we have, while also providing better support for those new to the machines.  

   Since we are located just minutes from Silicon Valley, fabrication tools are an excellent resource for prototyping and ideation for the development of Internet of Things devices, games, virtual reality, and anything else technology related that might prove interesting to investors.  It is also a great way for those of us more on the artistic spectrum to push the boundaries of the familiar and to participate in the revolution that is currently underway.

Carmel Crane is a resident in the Fall 2015 Digital Fabrication Residency program.  Carmel is a digital arts instructor and works as an instructional technology manager at Saint Mary's College. In addition to work, she studies Multimedia at Cal State East Bay in California. Her interests range from 3-D Projection mapping to interactive art installation with video and is currently working on a project called Zarah 2216 which is an art installation about the far future.

 DFR Resident Carmel Crane

DFR Resident Carmel Crane

   Technology firms are busting at the seams here on the West Coast, and there is some major pushback from long time residents in SF since housing prices are insane, and many art organizations and artists in general have been pushed out or evicted. The good news is that while some non-profit art organizations have had to relocate or close, others have been newly created through Tech industry monies. Many tech companies are now investing in artists as part of their philanthropic mission, and collaborating with artists to innovate, dream and give back to the community. So the creative race continues and the frenetic pace of life in the San Francisco Bay Area is full steam ahead, no looking back.

   Though I have a background in digital art and am comfortable working various software, I still feel a bit out of my league in the 3-D world at the moment. There are so many amazing tools to learn, and the more I get into the software and capabilities, the more I wish I could afford the time to work on my projects full time. For now, I am doing the best I can with a somewhat limited schedule and enjoying a leisurely meander at warp speeds of all these amazing tools thanks to Kari and Erik our fabulous instructors!

   The past week we looked at Sketch-up and 3-D modeling. Learning the basics of this program while also considering the way files can become unreadable. In my past experience with 3-D, because I am not certain how the software works, I have run into difficulty printing files.  The online training session on Sketch-up was very helpful as we spent time deconstructing problematic files in order to pinpoint exactly what kinds of things cause printing errors. Like any software, it is always a matter of just diving in and spending time creating.  I am coming to understand that since 3-D software was originally developed for engineers and architects, there is a precision that many artists may not always familiar or comfortable with. So it takes a bit of time to adjust and think in a new way as I approach the possibilities of Sketch-up. And I am staying with the discomfort of ‘not knowing’ as I fumble around taking it all in.

   Everyone has their own creative process, but as I become more dedicated to my own, I realize that for me, it is the relationships that are formed around artistic practice that are most important. It is the chance to participate in a community of like-minded people, taking time out of this fast paced life we all are faced with, to think about materials, light, color, and space through the lens of human imagination. There is a dialogue that happens between artists that for me offers the motivation necessary to keep creative practice alive. In the making of art, I come to a better understanding of life and the impact I may have in this world.  We are here for just a flash of time, and then what happens? I will keep on wondering and creating and helping to build a community of artists supporting one another to make amazing things come to life!