Making Meaning Matter

The Evergreen State College

Author: Coop S.

Cooper’s Bonus CST Post

“What is the status of the body[?]” (Carluccio 1)

Where are we in regards to creativity?  If we are the creators, how then are we simultaneously being created or entwined within the process?  Is it our awareness that makes something artful and showing of intent?

As a creator, I know its not merely about what we make, but how we make it.  In any process of life, being present with what is happening, seems to me, makes the difference from ordinary to artful.  Being present is what makes creation an intimate action as opposed to just a motion.

Watching everyone present their Blue Rabbit projects last week was really interesting.  I found myself wondering at what stage (and sometimes getting answers) they were most intimate with their creations.  Some with the conceptualization, where our thoughts and planning flourish in abstraction, and perhaps for some, this is where they feel most able to touch their object.  Some designed though programs and formulae, which seemed to me, be the pinnacle of their attachment and experience.  Others intimacy came from constructing the physically printed pieces, holding them and experiencing their visceral design as they fit the pieces into one other.  I feel that thinking about our quarter through this lens adds an element of poesy, since it shows only in what we create, whether that be speech or object, something immeasurable and yet undeniably beautiful.


“If we accept that mind and matter achieve a codependency through the medium of bodily action, then it follows that ideas and attitudes, rather than occupying a separate domain from the material, actually find themselves inscribed ‘in’ the object.” (Malafouris 34)

“Do the words fail the concepts?” (Fisher 1)

I kept Graham’s quote because it is an alternative answer to Breanne’s question.  I really love this approach because it diminishes our greatest creation (language) as something not able to grasp what really is going on around us.  So, in attempting to answer what the status of the body is, we by default, come no closer to answering.  In fact, we may, by using language as an abstraction, get farther away from any answer.  But is there really even an answer then?

CST Weel 9 (Final)

It’s been pretty fascinating watching the class finish up their final iterations.  How with only a short class on In-Design, taught by John and Steph, we have been able to navigate the technology.  Perhaps, even, there’s more of my personal surprise coming out here.  I’m surprised at myself for remembering the lessons and shortcuts taught.  Its been a joy to see this project manifest itself through this format.  Its caused me to wonder about the accessibility of a written medium given its clarity or design.  How this exact information displayed on a Word doc would be an entirely different experience.  I’ve found myself scooting paragraphs and hiding images behind text, I suppose to ultimately give the reader a better experience, or perhaps for me to better communicate my ideas.

Blue rabbit #4 – The Final Flute

 The Final Flute


This is my prototype and model for how I built my flute. It is 5″ high and does work (though not well).











Note the inner bore (diameter) difference. A flute needs to be tapered in order to create the proper amount of back pressure.

The Flute In Numbers

20.12mm – 20.12mm – 253.9mm

24 grams

3.5 hours


As excited as I have been to print my flute, one of my favorite moments came as I added it to the que the day before it was due to be printed.  The above numbers, which represent the dimensions, weight, time and cost of the print, speak to the ease and affordability of printing an instrument.  The numbers, especially the cost, were a mystery to me before, or rather, I never really sought to find out the exact cost of my object.  $1.95 (not including the $2199 price tag of the printer!) is all it costs for one flute.  An instrument that can shape peoples lives through art and expression.

My experience with the digital interface (mostly Tinkercad) was fairly good as far as the design aspect is concerned.  Designing the dimensions were straight forward, I used my model as well as certain ratios to decide where to place the holes, as well as determining their shape and angle.  Towards the end of the design, I realized that the inner diameter, or bore, of my flute was consistent all the way through.  The problem here is that the air would flow through at too quick a rate to make much sound.  As you can see in the above photo (prototype/model), the entire shape of the flute is tapered from the hole in which you blow, the embouchure hole, towards the open end at the bottom.  This allows for more air to come through the holes above, making for greater playability when fingering notes.  I had to make several versions of flute ends as well as elongated cones to make the bore taper to a smaller output.

As of now, I have yet to combine the pieces, or blow into it for that matter.  I’m waiting to have it glued and completed before giving it a first go.  I’m hopeful. . .

Blue Rabbit #3 – The Flute in Images


Here’s a collection of found images and one of my own in a Photoshop collage. The flute at the center is an image of my prototype that I printed in week seven.


How can you use a computer to print an instrument that can create something artistic, healing, beautiful, audible?


The Flautist

Mike Rafferty, a traditional Irish flute player (1926-1011)

Mike Rafferty, a traditional Irish flute player (1926-1011)

The Muse

    The Irish flute, as we know it, was really a product of the latter half of the 19th century.The Model

The Irish flute, as we know it, was really a product of the latter half of the 19th century.

The Model

    My first test print was not designed by myself, but by user PFH vie Thingiverse. His model is roughly 12" tall and pitched in the key of D.

My first test print was not designed by myself, but by user PFH through Thingiverse. His model is roughly 12″ tall and pitched in the key of D.

The Build

My full sized flute as of week seven. The final step will be placing the holes at appropriate intervals. This will allow the sound of the flute to be pitch accurate and playable.

My full sized flute as of week seven (orange). The final step will be placing the holes at appropriate intervals. This will allow the sound of the flute to be pitch accurate and playable.  A current problem I’m working out is hole size and angle.  If you look closely at the grey model, you’ll see that each hole is a specific shape, size and angle that contribute to the resonance of the instrument.

The First Print

This is a photo of my test flute successful being printed on a Makerbot Replicator 2.

This is a photo of my test flute successful being printed on a Makerbot Replicator 2.

Click here to view the embedded video.


Lesl, Harker. “Mike-Rafferty.” N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

PFH. “Soprano-Folk-Flute-2_preview_featured.jpg.” N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

“IrishFlute.jpg.” wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.



Week #7 – CST

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’ve really enjoyed the role tools have played in this course.  last week, watching Zev get scanned was pretty incredible.  I recall being seven and playing a video game that probably took many months to create, both in drawing and function.  Though now, within minutes, we had an identifiable recreation of Zev on a computer screen.  What does this mean for identity?  We saw last week as well how different google searches for “3D Men” and “3D Women” could be.  I’m reminded of facebook and the dichotomy often seen in peoples photos; that is, ones taken of themselves, or chosen to be profile pictures, often look a great deal different from what photos others tag them in. . .

The attached video shows how sound waves can be manipulated in relation to physical material…  Pretty neat stuff, kind of a silly video though. . .

Week #6 – CST

“Our stories are about the world, so our stories are about people figuring out what’s causing their troubles and changing stuff so that those causes go away.” (Doctorow 176 – 177)

I’ve always known music to be powerful on a personal level, but once I began performing and seeing how my creations affected people listening, music became an entirely new tool.  I’m interested in looking at what ways a performance is successful at being an emotionally receivable experience.  I ask this question with a bit of a hunch.  I’d bet it has a great deal to do with the performer’s mind/spiritual/emotional standings.  Ex:  Two musicians can play the exact same piece on the piano, the first is accurate, intelligible and you can acknowledge that it is of quality.  The second, however, contains all the qualities of the first, but is driven by an emotional force that is moving, powerful and evokes a response.  In short, you think the first was good, but the second made you cry. . .

Click here to view the embedded video.

Cooper’s Blue Rabbit Iteration #2: Printing the Song of Apollo

Cooper Stoulil

Printing the Song of Apollo

Creation is beautiful.  A blanket statement that I would argue timeless, or not of time at all.  So how then can you use a computer to print an instrument that can create something artistic, healing, beautiful, audible?

Music is healing, notably enough so that the field of music therapy has arisen in the last 100 years, tracing its origins to theories from Plato and Aristotle.  When looking at depression, studies have shown that playing and hearing music has a direct correlation with ones treatment and recovery.  A group published in The British Journal of Psychiatry 2011 conducted a study on individual music therapy for depression and showed how musical creation can improve the well-being of somebody suffering from depression or anxiety.  “Clients sometimes described their playing experience as cathartic, and this may have led to corrective emotional experiences in further processing. A rather unique property of music therapy is the fact that it includes the opportunity to be active and this seems to be a meaningful dimension for dealing with issues associated with depression” (Erkkilä 137).  In essence, by giving an instrument to someone dealing with these problems, you are giving them the ability to heal themselves.  Not in the way that medication would, where taking pills attacks the problem as a chemical imbalance, but through a much deeper and profound means to the individual, especially since the initial trauma is often emotional in nature.  “Playing music with others is just one way of finding happiness. The relationship between the musician and the instrument itself can also blossom into a loving one” (Döpp 10).  Hans-Jürgen Döpp is a former professor of psychoanalytical interpretation and history of erotic art at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt.  He has published over 18 books dealing with sexuality in culture and art.

Art as both an aesthetic and sound are constantly being reinvented.  Suzi Gablik, in her article The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art, pitches her views of what it means to be an artist in the modern day and how to live a more artful life.  Suzi, like many contemporary visionaries, feels that in the past few decades, a greater shift towards ‘soullessness’ has occurred in art.  “… in responding compassionately to whatever it [art] touches, it is helping to create a more beautiful world.  Artists whose work helps to heal our soulless attitudes toward the physical world have my full respect and attention because, for me, beauty is an activity rather than an entity, a consciousness of, and reverence for, the beauty of the world” (Gablik 4).  Suzi Gablik is the author of The Re-enchantment of Art and Has Modernism Failed?  Believing that art’s commitment to social change died in the 80’s.  She is a visual artist and professor of art history.  Imagine a world where accessibility to a musical instrument, or a tool to create art, was only a push of a button away.  Such access would empower anyone looking to explore self-expression and perhaps even sharing beyond that.

So what is sound?  A vibration, or the vibration that moves through things.  “Scientists say that sound requires a medium through which to travel. Here the word medium has nothing to do with middle, average, or psychics, but rather refers to some kind of substance, such as air, wood, or water” (Robertson 29).  In short, sound, being a wave, moves things.  For that reason alone it is my favorite practice of art.  To be exposed to the vibrations someone else has crafted and feel their intentions just as you would observe the brush stroke of a Monet.  Music is not only about listening, it is about feeling.  Even the act of listening, given anatomy, is the feeling of vibrations.  That is the kind of power I wish to see in the hands of humanity.   What more beautiful a tool than one we can feel and experience together as both an output and an input.  Robertson is the author of the Stop Faking it! series, designed to be accessible explanations of various types of physics.

In Stockholm, RickardDahlstrand is using 3D printers to produce music while printing.  The focus is in the sound, not the product, and he’s managed to produce songs such as Mozart’s Serenade No.3 and Rossini’s William Tell Overture, as well a few other recognized classics.  I love the approach of making the printer become the instrument while using printing as a bi-product.  The event was published through a website called  “Art Hack Day ‘Hackers as Artists’ is dedicated to cracking open the process of art-making, with special reverence toward open-source technologies.”  In essence, using technology in a ‘hacked,’ or unintentional way to create.

Music is equally as cultural as it is cross cultured.  Historically, everything can be drawn back to early percussion in the Rift valley.  How fascinating a world we live in now that what once was separated by cultures, history and geography is now finding its way into iterations and culminations at the artists command.  This is an exciting time for music and how able through technology people can share ideas and creations.  Technology are the veins of distribution in which empower us to share, therefore, 3D printing is yet another facet lending itself to ease of creativity through the personal ability to download an instrument.  An instrument that can heal, which is exponentially more safe and potent than many therapeutic alternatives such as medication.  Through vibrations, we are connecting with something beautiful in an attempt to save our definition of art.  It should come as no surprise the immediacy to continue making our world a more beautiful place.     “Art, religion and knowledge are all conditions of Apollo [truth/healing], in which Dionysian [sensual/emotional] reality is defended against and channelled at the same time. We should approach the monstrous in life with the help of art – preferably music. This is what a summary of the book of tragedy could sound like” (Döpp 89).  I have no doubt that if someone held a flute that had just been printed, their life would be impacted for the better in a lasting way.


Erkkilä, Jaakko et al. “Individual Music Therapy for Depression: Randomised Controlled Trial.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 199.2 (2011): 132–139. Web. 4 Nov. 2014.


Dopp, Hans-Jurgen. Music & Eros. New York: Parkstone Press, 2008. Print.


Suzi Gablik. “The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art.” New Renaissance Magazine 8.1 (1998): n. pag. Print.


“3D Printed Music.” ART HACK DAY. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.


Robertson, William C. Sound : Stop Faking It! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It. Arlington, VA, USA: National Science Teachers Association, 2003. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.


Week #5 – CST

“But you made it, right?  It didn’t just. . . happen, did it?  (Doctoro 190)

What happens in a creative collective, especially when the whole is only a reflection of its parts, truly is exciting.  We are all creating one small piece, of which I’m sure a statement could be drawn from the collective.  I wonder what all our projects sitting side-by-side will look like.  A reflection of the course, our studies, our views of the world, our fears, our love?

“No, it just happened”  (Doctoro 190)

Musically, I’ve always been a sucker for reverb, or an echo that returns quicker than the completed utterance of the origin sound.  Here’s a clip of people singing together.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Week #4 – CST

“the thing that we need to do is make these people the authors of their own destiny” (Doctoro 93).

I came across this video last week on emptiness via my roommate.  “Where does the espresso end and my body begin?”  In creating at computers, where does our body/creativity/input/consciousness end and the computer, or product, begin?  Is art the proficiency of tools to a point where there is no absence of yourself in what you create?   I think I’m beginning to believe so.  I keep thinking of this when I walk around and am constantly surprised at everyone’s ability to do something new and complex on Tinkercad, were putting more of ourselves in to get more of ourselves out.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Blue Rabbit – The Idea: Printing Musical Instruments

Printing tools to make art: Can instruments built using additive manufacturing have place and meaning alongside their wood and metal counterparts? 


3D printing, though new on the block, has so many potential uses, but perhaps what interests me most is creating the tools to create art and in this case, music.  I’m fascinated by the concept.  While most previous methods for creating an instrument require the removal of material from an object to reach a finished product,  additive manufacturing is practically waste free, printing only what you design.

I’m interested in printing an Irish flute.  I chose this because of its simplicity, small size and relative ease of play.  The greatest challenge will be in tuning, which ideally would be in the key of D.  After speaking with Arlen though, I’m now considering alternatives, such as just intonation, following an algorithm or even random hole spacing.


Beyond a specific instrument, the practicality of printing any instrument would be huge.  Though I have little to no experience with the Irish flute, I find it fits best then my goal of using 3D printed instruments for educational purposes.  This is a cheep and quick way of producing a gateway to a new art for many people, especially in a classroom setting where budget and supply may be short.

Being able to print an instrument allows for faster prototyping that doesn’t require the time and tools that say wood working does, nor the expertise of a practiced luthier.  In addition, any tinkerer would have the ability to fully customize any piece they wish to print.  Making the instrument suit his or her needs specifically, whether that be in pitch, color, shape, size or tamber.  Arvid Jense states that, ‘While all of these things are cool, they’re all replications of existing traditional instruments, and aren’t touching the new geometrical and structural possibilities of 3d printing. (Though, this quite mirrors early electronic instruments, which were mostly trying to emulate existing instruments in sound).’  He implies that the real ingenuity of this technology will come with experimenting with new and unfamiliar designs, something that that is already being explored on Thingaverse.

Olaf Diegel, a professor at Lund University in Sweden, recently created what he calls the world’s first live concert with a ’3D printed band.’  He has designed and printed electric and bass guitars, keyboard housing and even a drum kit (all of which are for sale, none of which are affordable).  In a video featured on, you see his students playing the track ‘Relax’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood on printed instruments (Mugatu’s brainwash theme from the film Zoolander).  Diegel’s instruments are under the brand name Odd and you can find them for sale at

‘No two instruments sound exactly alike, and players frequently have widely differing opinions about what constitutes a good sound. There are many factors which contribute to the sound of any given traverso, among which are embouchure size and shape, interior dimensions of the bore, and type of material from which the instrument is made’ (Solum, 67). John Solum, in his book The Early Flute, outlines what goes into making a flute, what the factors involved are and why they’re important to the finished product’s sound.  I wonder about these effects with PLA.  Since the instrument is less dense and softer (in regards to the overall material strength), how will a printed flute sound in comparison to one made of wood?

It’s most important to students and people looking to experiment with new instruments.  Students, because they could in theory have access to a 3D printed instrument for very cheep and be able to learn the basic techniques.  Take a 3rd grade music class for example, if the school wanted to try teaching the recorder, but didn’t have the funds, they could order a batch of 3D printed models for much cheaper.

Printing instruments empowers people that want to explore sound.  With prototyping taking a matter of hours, instead of months with traditional practices, musicians and students can create, test and perfect any idea they choose to design.  I don’t believe that such technology will find it’s way into concert halls anytime soon, but for the curious musician of the future, this world of 3D printing opens many doors.

  • John Solum. The Early Flute. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • “Shands_2010_HowToBuildASimpleNorthAmericanStyleFlute_2010_03_01.pdf.” Accessed October 20, 2014.
  • Tretbar, Alex. “Take a Listen to the First Ever Concert Using Only 3D-Printed Instruments.” Digital Trends. Accessed October 20, 2014.


Week #3 – CST

“…  the ipod was only meant to last a year!”  – (Makers, 33)

I’m continuously fascinated by quality and especially quality that is both lasting and ingenious.  Our program contains tool makers and chasers of artistic statement as well as everything in between.  It’s intriguing to cast an idea with meaning and purpose, some direction for betterment, and find it created on a screen (and eventually materialized).  Chuck mentioned riding bikes as an analogy for looking ahead, or getting where you want to go, that if you look into a corner, you’ll somehow find yourself there.  I wonder how we can look ahead, to find where lasting quality, concision and ingenuity meet with grace.