Technical supervisor Stephan Kuderna started working at the Rijksakademie in 2000, at that time the workshop was organized more traditionally: "it was more like a smithy that was mainly used for welded structures, the rough work.” That’s of course still possible, but now the workshop also specializes in mechatronic applications, that are designed and built in close collaboration with the electronics department. This collaboration resulted for instance in the life-like heads designed for the complex installation ‘Giantbum’ by Nathaniel Mellors, which later was shown at Tate Britain and the Venice Biennale.
Old technologies do not disappear, there are always artists who want to forge iron or cast bronze. At the same time the workshop follows the latest developments and has recently purchased a 3D-printer and scanner together with the ceramics department. There is also a lot of contact with companies outside the Rijksakademie. Stephan Kuderna: "Some services are very affordable, and you do not necessarily need to have them in-house. Here, you should be able to do anything you can’t do outside the academy, so you can experiment.”
Many artists are self-taught mechanics, but do not know how to develop themselves further. That’s why providing them with professional knowledge on a high level is essential to Kuderna. "Most residents who come here are not experienced technicians. But I want them to try new things and to feelthat they are free to do so. They are here only once, for two years. That will never happen again. This is an exceptional place and you need to get as much out of it as possible."