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Seating Arrangements

Introducing Seating Arrangements by Luke Shannon

Seating Arrangements by Luke Shannon

Seating Arrangements uses code to create algorithmically generated chairs. The NFT is an interactive digital schematic & rendering, and contains the blueprint used to produce a one-of-a-kind chair.

Tonic is pleased to announce Luke Shannon’s latest body of work, Seating Arrangements, releasing on tonic.xyz on November 17 at 10AM PT / 1PM ET.

Traditionally, woodblock printing uses a single wooden carving (aka “the matrix”) to produce multiple prints that each have their own subtle variation in texture and registration — in this way, the matrix is the “true” source of new work.

In Luke’s algorithmic process, a single body of code produces many unique matrices which represent related but distinct perspectives on a single idea. A systems based approach to creation leaves space for things to emerge that the artist had not conceived of. In its best form, it also enables the creation of artwork with complete unity of concept, system, and manifestation as they become one and the same.

Superset Chair

Superset Chair from Seating Arrangements by Luke Shannon, early prototype

In Seating Arrangements, Shannon highlights both the matrix and its product, the print. The algorithm generates a digital file that serves as the blueprint. These unique instructions are then executed by a CNC machine to carve out the distinct sections of the chair. The carved wooden slab is inked, simultaneously creating the print and painting the final chair. Finally these pieces are assembled to create a free standing chair entirely from the matrix — without any hardware. The print becomes a record of an intermediate event and the matrix is shared as the final assembled sculptural piece of furniture.

Two chairs from the series, early prototypes

Two early prototypes of chairs from the series Seating Arrangements, 2023

In this series, the generative algorithm does more than ornament the final structure: it is central to the very essence of the chair. The artist defined 220 short, straight segments of wood that can be included or excluded by the algorithm and can intersect with up to 13 other segments. The repeating geometry of the design allows the viewer to see the positive form of the chair in the included segments and the negative form of the chair in the absence of those that are not.

The range of possibilities for this algorithm is 2²²⁰, or 1,684,996,666,696,914,987,166,688,442,938,726,917,102,321,526,408,785,780,068,975,640,576 unique chairs. Within this elegant binary, the incomprehensible multitude of potential chairs elevates one of Shannon’s core questions in the work: what is a chair? Many of the potential outcomes are not sittable, but does that exclude it from being a chair if it still registers as one visually?

There is no segment that appears in every chair. If you were to overlap all of the chairs, there would be no single element that is shared by all. The viewer is denied an understanding of the platonic form of a chair, as there is no one common feature that can be distilled as the essence of chair within this series.

Header for Seating Arrangements

A selection of potential chairs from the algorithm for Seating Arrangements by Luke Shannon

In this series, the removed segments insert a new dimension to the relationship between body, consciousness, and object. So much of what we come into contact with on a daily basis is designed to recede in our minds — consider “pain free” UI/UX or an office chair. We constantly interact with engineered systems that do not assert themselves. Their recession can mean forgetting that they exist at all, and forgetting that they are designed for their own purposes outside of our wants and needs.

The unique generative structures and simple materiality of Seating Arrangements means these chairs do not disappear, but rather insert themselves into your consciousness. You must think of how to sit down, perhaps where to put your arm. You are conscious of your body and your relationship to the piece as it subtly and forcibly reminds you that it has its own selfhood.

seating-arrangements #63

seating-arrangements #63

0.086 ETH

($266.78 USD)

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seating-arrangements #143

seating-arrangements #143

0.086 ETH

($266.78 USD)

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seating-arrangements #68

seating-arrangements #68

0.0902 ETH

($279.81 USD)

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To acquire a work from Seating Arrangements, view the series on tonic.xyz.

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