Saturday, March 14, 2009

Structure as Material

At long last, here is my progress for Phase 3.

I am developing a double skin structure that uses opposing tension and compression to hold its form. I'm taking advantage of the natural flexibility and resilience of paper to form components that lock together.

I am very excited about the qualities this system is exhibiting. As hoped, it is more like a material than a structure. It exhibits a quality that is much different from traditional man-made materials in that it is shaped and formed by the size and shapes of its components, not by an outside force or frame. This aspect of the material is more like biological tissue which is grown one cell at a time with each cell's size, shape and function determining the shape of the greater whole. It is created with a simple gradient script and the gradient determines the entire assembled shape.

So far, I am happy with what the system is saying about my beliefs in regards to material authenticity. Every part of the whole is visible but to varying degrees and there is nothing added for decoration purposes. Its success would falter if I were to add anything or take anything away. I don't want the whole system to be immediately understood because that leads to a short and ungratifying experience. Instead, I want visitors to experience an opaque exterior shell, only discovering the compression posts and tension pins on the inside. The outside layer does relinquish some clues about the nature of the system. The tips of the posts are visible and the joints are bigger where the skin is thicker.

My thoughts on the issue of Change vs Stasis become evident in the nature of the grid exhibited in the whole assembly. It is a grid based system but, instead of repeating the same component over and over, every component must change slightly to lead the material in a new direction. From this, one would derive that I believe in a slow gradual change (evolution), which is mostly true. However, I also think that, as humans, we have the ability to cause abrupt change due to free will if necessary. I think I could express that by introducing a "rock" into the flow of the pattern. By generating a system that adapts to an agitator. I know this system can do that but it is easier said than done so we'll see about that.

Any input would be appreciated!


  1. The images are looking super sweet! It is becoming very refined and dramatic. The idea of introducing an anomaly (or in complexity science lingo: a "strange attractor") could be very effective infusing an element of free will into the evolutionary system. This would really take it to another level - but - there might not be enough time left. Be careful. Maybe this is best explored in Project 5.

    There is a sleekness to the system, much like the snake in image. Elegant, smooth curves, and smooth, flowing gradient effects. How do these qualities of sleekness, smoothness and elegance color the theme? How do they flavor the meaning of the system? Or another way to ask it: how do the inclusion of these qualities give a more particular spin to your view of evolutionary change and authenticity? Or are they extraneous?

  2. Please also see my response to Christine's previous post. Jeff and Christine both engage the theme of evolutionary change, but they do so differently...


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