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Together with painting and music, sculpture is considered one of the Fine Arts, for its intrinsic aim of expressing beauty. It consists of the art of modelling clay, sculpting stone, wood, and other materials to create three-dimensional objects. It allows us to shape materials, and research a reality that produces knowledge of the world, and of ourselves. With its rich expressivity sculpture can be considered to all effects a language, given to children's hands, and offering them a way of communicating the interior world, creatively expressing thoughts and feelings. What happens when an artistic expression strongly associated with materiality encounters the digital? We speak today of hybrid materiality, of space and time “spime” objects, of digital fabrication and indirect manipulation of artefacts. These new forms of digital sculpting enrich imaginaries and meet original artistic visions. Relations between materiality and digital are increasingly complex and interesting, so that we wanted to explore this in a school context, with a group of 23 children at the Primary School at the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre in Reggio Emilia. The intent of the project design that supported this research, was to experiment in parallel ways with different sculpting proposals (clay, 3D pen, digital manipulation, and 3D printing), asking the children for their comparative analysis.
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