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Deepwater Horizon

This project presents a data-driven design physicalisation indexing the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (DWH) that took place on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico. The design binds two modes of datasets: the pixellated values of a satellite dataset, retrieved through NASA's archive, with a point-cloud model of my face. The collapse of scales registers anthropogenic actions (digital record of the DWH Oil Spill and the designer's computational gestures) in the form of a  3D printed face mask. The process uses agent-based simulation and computational fluid dynamics, to induce a set of force fields on the point-cloud model. Such conditions exert fictional forces such as artificial gravity, turbulence and pressure, to harness unseen morphologies outside terrestrial laws. In binding local (self-portrait scan) and global (marine oil spill) scales, the 3D printed mask shows the environment becoming an infestation to the self. It exposes an ecological intimacy, where the Earth's scars are manifested through scarring the face. 

The project bifurcates into two design phases:

  • Data-driven design exploration presents a series of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations performed onto NASA's satellite dataset to generate 3D morphologies, generative animations and design diagrams to inform the design development of a subsequent mask.

  • Data driven materialisation explores a series of projection mapping techniques and point-cloud experiments extrapolated from my face, to design and materialise a 3D printed mask bearing index of the petrochemical spill as material depositions.

This project was funded by the Institute of Academic Development (University of Edinburgh).

Project type:




Design Research

2019 - 2021

Agent-based Simulation, Computational Fluid Dynamics

Data-driven Visualisations, Generative Animation, 3D-printed Mask

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