Baskets is a system for making drawings in space that describe physical vessels. Each drawing is imagined as an unraveled basket, spatialized through a logic that is infinitely variable and modular. Certain drawings are used to make physical works in collaboration with the Tohono O’odham basket weaver Terrol Dew Johnson.
The drawing of a Basket is an action where lines curve through a three-dimensional lattice and eventually circle back to form continuous loops. These lines are the structural guides for basket materials like grass and fiber, ensuring structure and continuity. Technically, the looping is accomplished through fragments of circles that grow and connect using L-systems. It is a circular drawing system that at its core refuses its own limit, which struggles to be endless.
1. “n” for new basket.
2. Left or Right arrow to toggle between different orthographic views.
3. Left click + drag to spin around, right click + drag to zoom.
4. Double click to return to drawing view.
5. “i” saves view as png.
6. 3D files will be made available for download.
Unique Properties for each Basket:
1. Number of loops.
2. Loop thickness and color.
3. Size and complexity increase with rarity.
Working like this is our way to question what a basket can be. Since 2007 we have been making baskets with the artist Terrol Dew Johnson, a prolific Tohono O’odham weaver from Sells, Arizona. Before Terrol, we had always described our approach to design as computational, since we preferred to use software and computer code to create our work. Our exchanges with Terrol taught us something else: that with any technique—whether one calls it craft or computation—there exists a certain disengagement from the object being formed; the process becomes more about the relations around that object.
Terrol spoke of basket-making as a process that brings people together, both those around him and the ancestors through which he continues a tradition. He spoke of many voices in that object, as if each basket was, in essence, a conversation. So too, we began to think of making things as conversation between themes of universal significance, such as geometry and matter, with the actual experiences through which these become manifest. It is a boundless and inspiring conversation, one that reminds us that designing can be about communing between two worlds: one entirely abstract and coded, the other very real and alive. The baskets also teach us that the truly inspired moment of design comes in realizing that neither of these worlds is of our own making—both were always there, and somehow discovered along the way.
The Baskets project began in 2007 at Artists Space in New York and continues to this day. They have been shown at the MoMA, Institute of American Indian Arts, MOCA Tucson, Chicago Biennial, Volume Gallery, Sarasota Museum of Art among others. Several works from the Baskets project are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.