Gregory Ronczewski leads the design of the TeamFit platform – view his profile on TeamFit
Top image: Copyrights © Wojtek Lis, Southwest Poland

 

On April 16, during Salone del Mobile in Milan, Italy, architect Carlo Ratti (CRA International Design and Innovation) will present Scribit – a smart robot who can draw on a wall. Installed in less than 5 min, thanks to “a special patented technology, Scribit can safely draw, cancel and re-draw new content an infinite number of times, allowing you to print a different image on your wall every day or even every few minutes. Scribit can travel on every kind of vertical surface, from whiteboards to glass or plaster. Thus, any vertical surface can be transformed into a screen – a wonder wall where images, messages, or feeds are projected.”

 

Photo Credit: Carlo Ratti Associati

 

“You might draw on masterpieces from the best museums of New York, Paris or Tokyo, or discover the latest works by emerging artists,” explained the architect.

Actually, Scribit is not alone – in Germany, Robotolab created “The Big Picture” project.

This is from ZKM website: “On 30 January 2014, the mast camera of the NASA Curiosity Mars Rover took a picture of Local Mars Time on the afternoon of the 528th Mars solar day of the mission. 639 days later, on 30 October 2015, this image becomes the basis of a very special drawing: On a white canvas, a robot arm begins to draw a continuous black line, which eventually extends hundreds of kilometres. The image that is created in this way is a creative process, which transcends the possibilities of human creativity: The sketched landscape was not recorded by the human eye, but rather by a Mars robot. The robot artist transfers its image data using algorithmic operations into a unique, uninterrupted path, consisting of over 900 million movements – over 2,000 positionings of the canvas are necessary to create the drawing. In “the big picture” installation, the robot is assigned the role of a landscape artist, finishing his work six months later on 11 April 2016.”

 

Photo Credit: Robotolab, “The Big Picture”

 

Who needs an artist if you have a robot?

When I was growing up in Poland, the one thing you could be sure of was the presence of art. The quality, of course, varied, but since it is all subjective, it didn’t matter. Purchased from a gallery, directly from an artist, or from the display of a street vendor. In any case, original art was everywhere. People surround themselves with pieces that they liked. It was not about the investment. It was about being attracted to the work. Now, when I look at photos from the newest architecture blogs, I often see interiors with empty walls. Some of the spaces fall into the minimalistic convention, but still, where is the art? And even when there is a piece, it leans against a wall or a shelf, not hanging from it. A temporary placement, almost like a test if it fits – no commitment needed. Remember, Scribit can draw, cancel, and re-draw…

Are we going to see a decline in the creation of a visual art? It is so much simpler to hang a photo (IKEA has a large selection) or even purchase a stock photo, send to the nearest print-shop and for $16.00 plus tax you have a 36″ by 24″ poster to hang on your wall. What about the artist? What about all the skills required to produce a piece of art? And I am not even talking about the creative process, the skills required to paint or draw. Let’s look at the preparation of canvas. Most of the art community buys ready-to-paint canvases. They are affordable. I will not get into too many details, but what is available from art supply stores is not worth using it. It will not last. You can’t put a layer or even two layers of Gesso directly on canvas – first, you need to cover it with a layer of glue. You have to prepare the glue. Not too strong, not too weak. The lost art of preparing a canvas is a foundational skill. Sometimes I wonder if I will be able to transfer my skills to the next generation. For now, the time I spent in the basement preparing a new, empty, white surface for my wife to work on keeps my skills in shape.

The other day I spoke with David Botta, an artist and Senior Developer at TeamFit, about skills and their relationship with time. We both remember Macromedia Director and its programming language, Lingo that was popular in 1990. Then there was Flash and ActionScripting. Both long gone. For sure, I would not put those skills on my résumé, I wasn’t that good anyway. But, if you look at this from a time perspective, the fact that someone was programming almost 30 years ago is important to know. It forms a base of experience that should not be ignored.

I am not saying that all of a sudden skills disappear from our lives. This process is normal, without change there is no progress. For a steam locomotive engineer, in order to continue his career, he had to add the skills required by a diesel or electric engines. But for a young person seeking a railroad future, only new skills will come to play, with the knowledge of how to operate a steam-powered train fading away. How many sailors still have a working knowledge of finding a position using a sextant? That skill can save your life when all of the GPS units that are on a boat fail. Although the above skills could be seen as fairly technical and of a limited area of application, they are surround by a network of associated skills that radiate out, connecting areas of expertise.

New roles are appearing quickly these days. What formed a set of skills a few years ago giving the owner a sense of stability and comfort needs to be reconstructed, transformed and tested to withstand the changes in the workspace. We need to have a way to capture all the new trends and skills as they become visible, but we can’t lose the connection to the past. I may not want to highlight Lingo, or manual stripping photos for a pre-press production, but ultimately, those skills are part of me. Every experience counts – every skill counts.