First Phase: Experimentation

This week saw my first attempts at experimentation for this semester’s version of the project. I selected a collection of materials from the street where I live, and used these as the medium to try out a number of different laser cut illustration designs. The designs were all edited in the software CoreIDraw.

First Experiments

For a first attempt, I am relatively impressed with how they turned out. As previously mentioned, the presence of a high wind environment inside the laser cutting machine due to the extractor fan makes it difficult to get an accurate cut. This is also accentuated by the uneven cutting surface of the leaves and bark, which often results in the design becoming corrupted.

It is, however, all part of the concept that I am trying to explore in this piece. In addition to the feminist history of botanical illustration and the role of women in STEM fields, I am hoping to explore the contrast and conflict between nature and technology, challenging our ideas around the ways the two interact and operate. Mark Dorf writes that “in our increasingly technological existence fuelled and influenced by visual and digital media, the contrast between those areas that exist in our urban centres, the surrounding landscape, and our technological environments is only increased and amplified” (2016). I hope that by the apparent faults caused by attempting to laser cut into a typically unexplored medium, the concept of this project is deepened. I am hoping to make a comment on the relationship between the natural and technological worlds, and how it is often a cause for tension due to the finite and rigid nature of algorithms, in contrast with the organic characteristic of nature.

Lopreiato (2014) sums this up very articulately, stating:

“There is something frustrating, in the psychic sense, in the concept of algorithm that can even worry: its limitations. A logical-mathematical algorithm is essentially very different from a living being, from what lives and what reveals its being, nature, identity only in the passing of time, in the relationship with the environment and in the happening of things; it is totally different from events in the continuous quantum collapse of their systems, moment by moment, never static, always changing and evolving”

It was at this point that I asked my classmates and teachers for some constructive feedback to help move forward with this project. In my case, this process of receiving critical class feedback was a highly valuable step in the iterative process. As Vizard (2018) explains, “giving and receiving feedback is a fundamental part of being a designer… and at its best, feedback is inspiring, opens up new possibilities, and elevates your work to the next level”.

Moving forward as I continue my experimentation, I hope to use numerous other shapes and sizes of natural material, as well as try out a selection of different botanical designs. By getting an even greater variety of results I am hopeful I can develop designs which are both aesthetically and conceptually strong, and suit the overall message of this art piece.


Dorf M, 2016, Transposition, Mark Dorf, online, viewed 13 August 2019, <>

Lopriato, P 2014, ‘Reflections on art, nature and technology: the role of technology, algorithm, nature, psyche and imagination in the aspiration of an aesthetic experience’, Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, Vol. 12, No. 2 & 3.

Vizard, L 2018, ‘Mastering the Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback on Design Work’, Adobe Blog, blog post, viewed 5 October 2019, available at: <>

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: