Many Molds: Robotically Carved Materially Reconfigurable Molds

Every object that is cast suggests the existence of a mold. Typically out of view, molds are part of the forgotten matter and energy that goes into making.

In traditional mold making and casting, liquid or semifluid material is poured or formed into a rigid mold, where it hardens, holding an impression of the mold. In this way, objects that are cast are afterimages of the molds of their manufacture. These operations are then repeated, hypothetically ad infinitum, producing many identical copies.

This project explores the use of malleable materials, such as non-hardening clay, in the mold making process to allow for reconfigurability. Clay is formed into blanks and robotically carved, eliminating the need to produce patterns. The matter used to produce a single mold can be used to make multiples of a given object and endlessly reconfigured to produce many unique casts. Sand casting provides a similar potential for reconfigurability, though it requires the production of patterns

In this system, the relationship of mold to cast is many-to-many, rather than the traditional one-to-many of the same. This project applies the logic of nonstandard seriality to a process that is predicated on a rationale of fixity and reproducibility. Whereas the traditional mold might be understood as the 3D version of the woodblock used to produce many identical prints, the reconfigurable clay mold is more akin to the moveable type printing press where letters can be rearranged to produce infinitely variable information and meaning.