Alterfact is an experimental design studio created by Lucile Sciallano and Ben Landau in 2014.
Since graduating from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2013, Lucile and Ben have worked in tandem on various projects in different mediums. Alterfact’s practice is currently focused on the use of 3D printing in clay as a small batch manufacturing process.
Over a period of five months, Alterfact will design and construct a new ‘flat bed’ 3D printer that will have the ability to produce large-scale clay pieces. Currently the studio makes objects on a domestic scale but the new printer, the first of its kind in the world, will enable the studio to expand its offering and make large-scale objects.
What does being awarded a Creators Fund grant mean to you?
In a very practical sense, this grant allows us to completely dedicate ourselves to this project. It’s really unusual to get the time and the money to just do one thing! But also, we get to be part of a diverse and experimental Creators Fund contingent, making exciting new work here in Victoria.
How important is 'time' to you, as an artist/creative professional?
Time is one of the most important materials. All artists use it. Sometimes we have none, but when we have lots, it's a luxury! Usually in the studio, our time is quite calculated, because we know how long something will take to prepare, print or fire. However, when we’re developing a new project like this one, it can be really hard to predict how the time will go. We might have a lucky break and solve lots of problems, or we might have a day where we break everything, and it would have been better to not even come to the studio.
What's the first thing you did when you found out you were awarded a Creator's Fund grant?
We freaked out. At the time we were working on a giant exhibition called ‘Ornament is Fine’ at the NGV, which opened in March 2018. It’s by far the largest body of work we’ve ever produced in such a short time. So, we were in the throws of making the pieces for the exhibition and focussing on the present work at hand. We didn’t have much headspace for thinking about the next 12 months, and the other exciting things coming up! Of course we’re very excited now, and since being awarded the grant we have started to get all the elements aligned before starting the exciting part later in the year.
What are you most looking forward to over the months ahead?
As part of this grant, we’ll design and construct a new clay 3D printer. Making the printer is going to be tough because we’re changing the type of printer we’re building (we’ve built three other ones before). Our old printers are better at making tall skinny pieces, whereas this printer will be better at making wide flat things. Once it's built, there are two avenues we’re particularly excited about. Firstly, this printer could make very nice tile like pieces, which could fit together to make facades, screens and other pieces at an architectural scale. We will use the maximum size of this printer to move out of the domestic sphere and start to make parts of buildings themselves. Secondly, towards the end of the year we have a residency at the Australian Tapestry Workshop. We want to take this larger printer along to the residency and see what we can make there. The combination of the larger printing surface and our interest in investigating the thread-like nature of the extruded clay is very exciting!
Where would like to see yourself at the end of this process? How do you anticipate your career will develop as a result?
This year is going in our record books as the busiest yet, and the development of this new machine will only open new doors. With our ability to print larger pieces, we’re interested in facades and other flat surfaces at an architectural scale. We could also start to make small sculptural works which move away from utility and the domestic environment. No doubt, the kit which we will build from this grant will expand our opportunities. As for our careers, our studio is still small and we like it that way. We’re more interested in deeper conversations about making, technical interventions for greater accuracy, and time to experiment and make mistakes with clay, which is such a magical material.