Realizing the materiality of Earth and the Moon in new forms, artist Craig Dorety is rendering natural forms in light and engravings.

For the Moon, he turns to carving techniques to mirror new data about the lunar surface – and, thanks to an SF Awesome Grant, he’s got some spare change to upgrade his CNC router. It’s a beautiful example of how art can make use of data, bringing together disciplines. (Okay, there isn’t any motion here to speak of, but the relevance of the 3D imaging technology here is clear and inspiring.)
Lunar Topography Carvings

Geeking out for a moment about space, you can thank the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for their KAGUYA missions, which combines three satellites for new, precise imaging of the moon. The data in these relief sculptures comes from the LALT (Laser Altimeter for Lunar Exploring Satellite SELENE), which, as Dorety writes in the description above, “will enable us for the first time, to construct a global, accurate and precise topographic map of the Moon.”

In his Light Objects series, Dorety responds to the natural world closer to home, with animated LEDs, wood, and imagery of fire and water. See video below. As Dorety tells CDM, “the Light Objects animations are derived from still images of natural systems, like fire and water – which gives them astounding natural motive beauty.”


8 Pane Window of Perception
Acrylic Sheet, Birch Ply, 96 Animated LEDs, and imagery of fire.
Each discrete pane has three layers, each layer of each pane contains four, RGB leds. Each LED is addressed via a microcontroller.
The box is essentially a one dimensional display, folded into three dimensions. In this case images of Fire and Water have been formatted for this box such that each line of the image is a ‘frame’ of the animation. Only the nature of fire or water remains in the playback. Viewers may not recognize the imagery of Fire and Water, but their palettes and fundamental behaviors are obvious. This Window of Perception is a continuation of Dorety’s ongoing investigations beyond human perception and into the sub-liminal; beyond the threshold between representation and abstraction, of analog and digital information.

We’ve covered Mr. Dorety before – and I met him at Maker Faire, where he had a light-up MIDI controller and some synth builds. Previously:

For those in SF, Craig adds:

I have a solo exhibition reception in San Francisco this coming Friday at:

The JellyFish Gallery
1286 Folsom St, SF, CA (at 9th)

7/13/2012 — 6:30PM – 10:30PM

I use both a home-made CNC router and a LaserSaur to craft my objects.