We were recently blown away by Dev Harlan's Suffolk Deluxe Electric Bicycle, a collaboration with artist Olek which turns a men's road bike into a kinetic canvas for projected crocheted patterns and textures. The self-taught multidisciplinary artist, designer and CG director used TouchDesigner to mimic with an uncanny level of authenticity and much playfulness the effect of the bicycle continually being crocheted, unravelled and re-crocheted through projected images and the realtime evolution of the patterns.
Dev's first solo exhibition INFINITY LANDING at Rouge58, NYC till March 17, is a site-specific installation consisting of new works in sculpture, projection and light manipulation which according to the artist is "intended to be viewed in a "leisurely" fashion, whilst presenting optically challenging work at a larger than life scale."
Dev was kind enough to answer a few questions we had about his work and experience using TouchDesigner that we find both informative and inspiring and believe you will too:
Dev, please tell us a bit about your background-- what you do and the tools you use.
I come from an art and design background, participating in both the fine art and commercial world, and a lot of times the gray area in between. The applications may include environmental design, tour visuals or commercials and music videos. In a fine art context I produce experimental short films, and most recently hybrid video sculpture.
Given that, my tools necessarily span the spectrum. Commercial software like Adobe CS and Maya are essential. In addition I've always utilized real time and procedural programming environments for things that most commercial software are not capable of.
Had you ever used TouchDesigner before?
I'd toyed with TouchDesigner many years ago while it was still in early development. It's only in the last two years that I've really began using it in earnest and incorporating it into my everyday work flow.
Tell us about some of the motivations and concepts driving what you do.
In my recent practice developing sculptural work, my motivation has been to synthesize tangible surfaces with an augmented reality of sorts, visualizing an alternate life inside inanimate objects. I'm also really interested in objects that can act as illumination sources, so in some respects I'm exploring hypothetical lighting design of the future.
Can you describe your experience using TouchDesigner, the process? If and how it might differ from the tools you normally use?
My work flow with TouchDesigner is very spontaneous, typically building tools on the fly as I need them. Since I'm not building tools other people need to use I can be pretty free form. The biggest difference perhaps from other software is that I'm most often using touch on my laptop while on top of a ladder, and I get most of my work done this way :)
With your experience now, how else do you see using TouchDesigner? Are there things you see being able to do with it? Has it opened any doors?
Certainly TouchDesigner has opened some doors with my recent work, I really needed a way to integrate what I'm doing in a 3D package (like Maya) into a real time and installation based environment, and be able to manipulate things in a fluid spontaneous way. TouchDesigner has a robust 3D tool box that allows me to spend more time building my work than building the app.
What next? Any plans that include using TouchDesigner?
Though I'm not using it commercially, nearly all my fine art works at this point are run using TouchDesigner and I have several exhibitions slated in the coming months where it will be put to use. It's really the most robust solution for what I'm doing and there are certainly several new works on the drawing board where it will be an essential ingredient!
Thanks Dev and we really look forward to what you produce next!