MF : To begin, I want to ask you a simple question : Why are you interested in new technologies, which new technologies you use in your art, and why did you choose these new technologies ? What is their role ? New technologies generate forms and ideas ? Or vice-versa ? Or there is always a subtle balance between ideas, shapes and new technologies ?
MD : There's an enjoyment I find working with parallel industries and recognising the strength in each of those industries. I'm lucky with my art practice in that my studio has become a laboratory of the glass material and I am continually approached to find new applications of glass. I have recently begun work with glass wax, a product used within the film industry. I had a misconception that the glass wax would be easier to work with than glass. To my horror I discovered that it was far more complex than I had initially realised. This has led me to develop techniques and equipment to address the particular nuances of this medium. The beauty of testing new materials and technologies is that there's a surplus left in the commercial testing to allow play.
MF : What can you say about the impact of new technologies in expanded glass creations today ?
MD : There's a growing realisation that the artist, designer or maker has to understand material technolgy from a practical sense. Without this understanding there can be a basic flaw in the design.
MF : Do you think that new technologies can enrich the glass creation (aesthetic, artistic, formal dimensions), and your creations ? Could you give us some relevant examples in expanded glass creations ?
MD : For example, the development of biodegradable glass is primarily used for bone stitching in medicine. However, in a different context, it allows an artist to work on a micro metre level.
MF : You have produced really strong projects, like the Bio furnace, Obsidian, UpCycling, and also Face Saving (« Nose Cartilage Moulding »), could you tell us more about theses projects and particularly about Face Saving and Obsidian ?
MD : All my projects come about through playfulness, happy accidents, overheard conversations and chance meetings. The trick is to capture the overall picture, problem solve and leap creatively as well as being willing to work as part of a team and understand the true nature of collaboration.
MF : Which are, for you, the limits in the use of digital technologies in glass art today ?
MD : How would you put your personal signature on something that's automated ?
MF : For you, the use of new technologies should be accompanied by critical reflection on new technologies themselves in social, political, ecological, economic, terms ?
MD : It always comes down to the audience and the audience will tell you whether it is good design or not. The upcycling of glass is a very current issue because we've now hit the tipping point in glass production. There is now sufficient glass product across the world that we don't need to use the raw materials to create new glass...we can just upcycle what we already have. This one example, points to the potential future effects on not only the ecological and economic situation, i.e. reduction in production and waste and the various implications of this both positive and negative but also the changing social and political situation as education and attitudes reflect the changing technologies.
Photo : Matt Durran, Face Saving, (Nose Cartilage Moulding), 2010.