I wanted to capture an aspect of natural history in a state of suspended animation. I was hoping it might be beautiful, but also sad, as if the software I’d used had inadvertently caused its demise. It would be simultaneously alive and deathly. Of course, sculpture has always contended with this problem. As much as I wanted to reiterate the very objecthood and kinaesthesia that sculpture tends to engage in one way or another, I also wanted to cast a shadow of doubt across the current tide of digital effects and media. I decided that a manta ray would be suitably complicated – they seem to drift between post-millennial spookiness and weird evolution, a natural phenomenon that is already coloured by the way we understand modern design. They are obscure but familiar, gentle by nature but large enough to be intimidating. They are often referred to as devil rays. I started working with an industrial designer to produce the sculpture. I wanted geometry to do most of the work for us – in other words, to build a ma