Out of Hand: Matthew Gardiner


Multimedia artist, programmer and oribotictist, Matthew Gardiner perfected his practice by following his passion and curiosity for origami, code and interactive new media.


Although graduating with a BFA in photography, grew Gardiner practice in new media. This training helped solidify this practice and love for the arts under the guidance and mentorship of Peter Hennessey and Patricia Piccinini. To truly integrate all aspects of art and science, Gardiner collaborates with composers, musicians, technicians and the industrial sector throughout the creative process. He also works heavily with different science departments to create interactive instalments, which resonate different messages and themes.

His most well-known work is ‘Oribotics: The Future Unfolds’, which he defines as “a melding of the ancient Japanese art of origami and robotics”.


Gardiner first coined the term “oribot” in 2004 and has since worked in the field to refine research and build a bridge between art and science. “Oribotics is a field of research that thrives on the aesthetic, biomechanic, and morphological connections between nature, origami and robotics. At the highest level, Oribotics evolves towards the future of self-folding materials” (Matthew Gardiner, 2010).

The inspiration for Gardiner’s piece came from a paper on ‘the geometry of unfolding tree leaves 1’ by Biruta Kresling, he states that the paper revealed the natural mechanisms that later became the foundation of his work. Kresling’s illustrations revealed clarity and understanding, which Gardiner then wanted to explore the mathematical and technical side of his piece.

Gardiner not only wanted to mix art and science together but also wanted to integrate digital mediums into his work. This was implemented with the use of a 3D printer, which created the external fabric for the origami blossoms, “‘origami of nature’ takes microseconds to complete thousands of folds, and a single folding error can profoundly effect the survival of the lifeform” (Matthew Gardiner, 2010). After testing different materials, Gardiner found that creating a material from polyester and printing in a 3D printer would create longer durability. Gardiner also used digital sensors for movement and light to create a systematic pattern that would change when a person got closer or further away from the work.

“Micro-interactions occur with sensors, inside each bot a proximity sensor measures objects in front of it’s “mouth”. As an object (a human hand) approaches, the oribot blossom opens, causing 1050 folds to actuate in the bot. Macro interactions occur via the network and software; each micro interaction is broadcast to every other oribot in the installation, causing the sympathetic movements of over 50,000 folds across the entire installation, creating a stunningly complex moving image” (Matthew Gardiner, 2010).

It is from Gardiner’s sensory movement that I would like to use as part of my final project. I have no ideas as to what I would create but creating a piece that functions off interaction would be something I would like to look into further.


Aphids 2017, Matthew Gardiner, viewed 27 March 2017, <http://www.aphids.net/people/Matthew_Gardiner&gt;

Gardiner, M 2010, Oribotics [futurelab], Matthew Gardiner, viewed 27 March 2017, <http://matthewgardiner.net/art/Oribotics_futurelab&gt;



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