Sarah R. 12.2.2014

                “Where should we look for the no-thing? How will we find it? Surely to find something, we have to already know in a general way that it is there […..] Whatever we make of the no-thing, we do know it”….(Heidegger 189).

If the technology and a time when almost anyone can create anything is coming near, is it important, now more than ever, to attempt to create no-thing with that same technology? If nothing can’t or won’t exist, could the 3D printer, the total technological womb of object-ness, force it into existence? From the moment I asked myself this question I knew there would be no simple answer, no absolute right or wrong.  I knew the process of inquiry would be much more about the exploration of the material than the answer itself.

We could literally and casually, call any thing nothing if we wanted to. Things called in that way are the kind of “nothing” I chose to explore materially through 3D printed error, to arrive closer to the notion of the nothing of vastness, of silence, of total dark or total white. The point where inclusion and exclusion meet, bent like a circle.  I’ve realized no thing is vast, and that vastness is in nothing.

In the digital modeling environment of the CAL there have been an abundance of  varied objects, providing many examples of thing-ness, pushing me to think about what could possibly be called no thing.  As I mentioned in my CST post yesterday, the refinement of the program’s designs resulted in more and more refined glitches, producing objects that were very nearly recognizable as “something”. In looking so long at all of the 3D printed glitches I began pay most attention to the thing they all share, which is the space they hold.  It became clear to me that these objects needed space removed from the context of chaos and error. Through separation from the tangled mess of their shelf life, the pieces become unfamiliar but not completely foreign looking. In the photographs of the last iteration it was my aim to re-introduce these objects, allowing us all to become familiar by seeing them up close and still.

Writing about an engraving, in How Things Shape the Mind, Malafouris writes that although the engraved  shapes may be “‘formless’ that is not because they lack intent; it may be because their ‘intent’ is not about form but rather is about the forming process itself.” (Malafouris 193). The pieces I have been working with were formed unintentionally, formed with the presence of unintentional absence, and convey that mechanical process in their form very organically.  I came to realize that in order to accentuate the beautiful present absence of these pieces they would be best presented in the presence of absence.  And so, for this iteration I made a spatial installation. Sharing such a thing in the digital dimensionality of this screen lacks the materiality, embodiment and facilitation of space I have curated as an explanation of my exploration of no-thing. There is no way you can see the whole piece, when all you can see is this screen, so I will aim at conveying this work through the touch of the language of visual words.


I to the on white which is and
c s o t s s n
h u b h t e
o s j i r r a
s p e n i a t
e e c n i
n t g g
d s h



          P                                                                                                      E                                                                                                                                                                                                                   S





 The string then meets each plastic piece and the line turns to static. Suspending the pieces in the air they become unfamiliar again, some are at eye level, some fall far below or above. The movement of walking by the threads causes them all to spin softly.  The dimension of the piece as a whole is roughly, 4 ft x 5 inches x 8 ft. In using all this thread, at points I felt as if I were sewing them somehow into space, sewing them together with cotton versions of themselves. The pieces are all just lines in the end, lines that are not unlike the lines of drawing, or writing, or the knots that the white thread would get into, except these lines are created in 3-dimensions by a machine, “externaliz[ing] nothing but the very process of externalization”. (Malafouris 193).

Ideally this piece would be in a space that was open on all sides so that the viewer could walk completely around it. When standing to face this curtain of sorts, I find myself confronted with a threshold between my self and the other side, although the threads pose no real barrier, the presence of such exists. In my mind’s eye the linear threads form a threshold between two dimensions and three, between digital and material, between you and me, and yet something as soft as breath can cause them to sway. The lines are wavering, this separation made by no-thing and nothing. For the time being they will continue to do so in front of my living room windows. Below are a few shots of the pieces suspended in air. 




Heidegger, Martin, and Thomas Sheehan. “What Is Metaphysics?” 1 Nov. 2013. Web. 2 Dec. 2014. <>.

Malafouris, Lambros. How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement. Cambridge: MIT, 2013. Print.