The multidisciplinary project “Networks in ceramic: from potter wasps to 3D printing” which combines entomology, contemporary art, traditional ceramic work as well as scientific and technological research, will be presented on Tuesday 9 April at Palazzo Gavotti in Savona. In the morning, a preview of the project will be shown to students at schools, then there will be a press conference, followed by the official presentation to the public.
Everyone involved will be present to explain their contribution to the project: artists, ceramicists, entomologists and IT specialists. This will be followed by a guided tour of the installation in the Savona Ceramics Museum exhibition rooms to promote the wasps’ work, as well as to the space which houses the 3D printer. On this occasion we will also present the Ceramic Museum’s new laboratory to the public, which unites traditional clay work with the experimental, linked to the use of digital technology.
This project began with the observation of two particular types of wasp: the Sceliphron (more commonly known as mud daubers) and the Eumenes (potter wasps). Both are solitary types who build their nests in clay where they deposit their egg with a store of food for the larva. Devised to facilitate an exchange between diverse disciplines, “Networks in ceramic: from potter wasps to 3D printing” weaves together the work of different people and realities: from the wasp to the ceramic craftsman, the visual artist to the entomologist, to coding for a 3D printer which works the clay in ways inspired by these types of wasp. With nature as the starting point, we move through craftsmanship, contemporary art and science to reach a type of technology which imitates nature by using IT coding. By removing existing barriers between diverse fields of study, the aim of this project is also to reach a wide and diverse public.
“Networks in ceramic” started with ceramic artist Jorge Hernandez’s work Wasp’s Nest when he started collecting potter and mud dauber’s clay nests from all around the world years ago. To preserve them over time, make them less fragile and make them known to the public, Hernandez decided to fire them and show some of them at the Savona Ceramics Museum.
The nest installation is accompanied by the video work Sono Vespa (I Am Wasp) by artist, Simonetta Fadda. This work shows the geometry of the architecture, made up of concentric circles, types of spirals, like the movements of the wasps in flight. This is why the video is made up of a series of approaches and infractions: the video camera roams on the surface and tries to enter narrow openings, then our gaze founders among the matter being observed, blurring into it.
Science, art and ceramics meet in the project through the involvement of entomologist Michael Ohl, curator at the Berlin Natural History Museum and specialist in this type of insect. Invited by the Ceramics Museum to represent the wasp, Ohl will explain their features and characteristics, as well as their method of using clay to build their nests.
The 3D printer is a recent addition to the museum’s new workshop; it was made by Wasp, the Italian company which takes its name from the wasps who work the clay. After watching the insects at work, and realising that no human could possibly replicate this, Wasp’s founders decided to make printers which used the working methods of the wasps.
Facilitated by Museum director Tiziana Casapietra, the presentation of “Networks in ceramic” will allow all involved to explain their contribution to the project which is based around the varied viewpoints — ceramic, artistic, scientific and technological — of the clay product of a common wasp.