Making the Transient Permanent : exploring the translation of personal data into material forms via the 3D printing of memory objects.

MCENTAGGART, Patrick, LEVICK-PARKIN, Melanie and WOOD, Jonathan (2016). Making the Transient Permanent : exploring the translation of personal data into material forms via the 3D printing of memory objects. Making Futures, 4.

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL:
Related URLs:


Monkey Hats, Tat and making the Transient Permanent – Exploring the translation of personal data into material forms via the 3D printing of memory objects. Objects of adornment and personal artefacts, are often associated with life events. They are not just markers or memory triggers for those events but can also be stores for memory through design by selection, relationship to historical context and more obviously inscriptions. The physical sensory experience of the object can be a channel for the associated personal memories, ‘memories may be equally viewed as embodied acts involving the transformation of sensory manifestations into semiotically dense objects’ (Van Dijck, 2012). 3D printing technology, still in it’s infancy, is developing fast, with issues such as meaning making through 3D form in need of exploration, as much as the testing of application and quality of production. How can craft be materialized through modern processes such as 3D printing without alienating the personal nature of memories? Can digital making processes even offer an experience of the individual, despite their temporal situatedness in industrial modes of production? The aims of this research project are: 1. To explore the mining of personal data for personal memory objects. Investigate appropriate quantitative or qualitative data sets that might be used for translation. Eg: Individual analytics drawn from sources such as personal biometrics or temporal narrative information. 2. To investigate links between aesthetic abstraction and social, cultural and philosophical meaning in order to give value and form to personal narratives. 3. To experiment with digital media and test and apply advanced methods, process and theory through the visual and physical materialisation of data via 3D printing. This research projects intends to address the need to investigate how data visualisation based on personal data can explore the technologies potential of creating memory objects that are both meaningful to the individual and aesthetically engaging. Abstracted personal narrative has the potential to create memory objects that facilitate the reflection on and conversation about values of social, cultural and philosophical nature. The aim is to work with this theme in relation to commercial design applications for the technology, whilst exploring the role design plays in visually encoding meaning and narrative. In response to the wider social concerns of data ownership, sharing and loss, the project intends to investigate how the de-personalisation, devaluation, abstraction and virtualisation of data might be addressed, reclaimed, decoded and rematerialised back into a tangible ownership of form. The aim is to investigate whether digital data visualisation processes, materialised through 3D printing, can offer a ‘maker’ rather than just a ‘consumer’ experience, and create meaningful memory objects rather than just another trinket; and whether all media really ‘are active metaphors in their power to translate experience in new forms’ (McLuhan, 1964, p. 64).

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Depositing User: Patrick Mcentaggart
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2016 11:03
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 11:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics