2016 2017

August 20, 2019


Our intention is to create a generative recursion between a digital, ideal space and real space to create a mixed reality sculpture. Starting with a virtual object, a material collision is simulated in a virtual 3-D environment.  The results of the virtual impacts are 3-D printed and then re-imported into the 3-D space to simulate further collisions. As a final step we generate a physical sculpture of the end results.  


  • Christie DeNizio, Yale School of Art ’17 (painting/printmaking)
  • Stephanie Gonzalez-Turner, Yale School of Art ’17 (painting/printmaking)

Featured technologies:


  • Sprout Pro by HP computer workstation
  • Dremel IdeaBuilder 3D printer
  • FlashForge Creator Pro
  • MakerGear M2
  • Z-Corp ZPrinter 250
  • Artec Spider 3D scanner


  • Unity
  • Netfabb
  • Meshmixer
  • Simplify 3D
  • Artec Studio 12


  • PLA, PVA filament
  • Powder composite with Zcorp glue binder and CA glue (post-processing)
  • White nylon plastic raw
  • Procion dye
  • Concrete

What is the meaning of a collision? What is gained and what is lost when objects try to inhabit the same space?

To explore these questions, Christie DeNizio and Stephanie Gonzalez-Turner created A Different Kind of Disaster, a material project that moved back and forth between the digital and real worlds — and that referenced disciplines from astrophysics to engineering to game design — with the goal of creating “a series of mixed reality sculptures.”

Their project began with a material collision simulated in Unity (a software used to develop video games and simulations for computers, consoles and mobile devices), generating artifacts that were 3-D printed to fix in physical form all aspects of the hypothetical impact. They then 3-D scanned the resulting objects back into the program to run a successive simulation, introducing new variables to the virtual process and creating a generative loop between digital, ideal, and real spaces.

Noting the importance of modeling to a range of disciplines, Gonzalez-Turner says, “How could we capture artifacts of a digitally-simulated collision and re-integrate them into subsequent iterations? How would the translation between the virtual and physical manifestation of objects create both information loss and accumulation?” 

3D models of some shapes.

As an analogy DeNizio uses the idea of a meteor, which holds in its form the history of material encounters. On one hand, a meteor collision can be seen as a kind of disaster. “On the other,” she says, “it is also a generative process. The matter from the meteor combines with what strikes it — or what it strikes — that then creates a composite material that is introduced to the galaxy.”

A screenshot of a modeling programmed called "mesh mixer"

As the project moved forward and the pair learned more about both the capacities and limitations of the technologies, they had to be flexible and problem solve for both efficiency and aesthetic considerations. As of this writing, they are working with a 3-D printing company to create the final nylon sculpture, which will be printed in several segments, reassembled, dyed, and suspended from a concrete armature. Other artifacts of the process — including  scale models printed for each round of the recursion — will be included when the sculpture is exhibited at the Yale Center for Collaborative Arts and Media in the fall of 2017.