[Group Project w/ Yinong Tao and Zaid Kashef Alghata]
Catalyzed by an interest in the relationship between technique and ornamentation, Ferro Field explores how to record invisible magnetic fields acting upon a reactive ferrous mass to generate emergent forms with unique textural qualities. To achieve this, the project employs ferro resin, a composite material that consists of a mix of fast-curing epoxy resin and iron oxide powder. The project moved rapidly and sequentially through a series of manual tests that shed light on the behavior and cure speed of the material, providing valuable insights that informed the robotic assisted process that followed. In order to exploit the temporal workability of the material, two neodymium magnets were mounted to the end effectors of two UR3e cobots, whose movements were synchronized to manipulate and control the ferro resin mass. This final process, which required the design and fabrication of a custom tool that could be reused, incorporated two key movements: first, a constant rotation along the center axis to minimize the effects of gravity such that only the magnetic field is materialized; and second, a translation that increased the distance between the magnets and in doing so, redistributed the ferro resin mass towards the ends of the objects. Even though the objects produced resemble columns, Ferro Field does not aim to create a structure per se, but rather to isolate and study the effects a shifting magnetic field has on the formation of textures onto the surface of the ferro resin mass. The resulting objects do, however, inspire conversations about ornamentation and, perhaps, the proposal of a new column order, in which robotic agents supplant human labor.