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Arch 101 final learning portfolio Chris Hiner Fall 2011 T, Th Instructor Jerry Lum


A Pathway In Time Intention: a specific purpose in performing an action or series of actions.

Process: the action of taking something through a set of

procedures or steps to convert it from one form to another.

Conclusions: when a question comes to an answer; when an idea or thought is settled.


Final project: Mobiles • Moving sculptures that express self, place, space and time.


First Iteration • •

Objective: My goal was to learn to how to balance weight, twist wire, and increase movement with springs. Process: For this piece I wanted to try a top down building approach to see if this was the easiest way to balance weight during the construction process. From a chain I attached a large upper wire to create a fulcrum and a support for all the pieces that would hang underneath. In the center I used springs connected to each other and hanging like a pendulum to add a little vibration and bounce to the overall movement. Site selection: At this time my site selection was on the wall in the courtyard so I mounted this piece on a three foot threaded rod. Seeing the thin wire supported by such a thick shinny piece of steel I realized that this type of mounting would overwhelm and dominate a delicate, flowing sculpture. I also decided that being attached to the side of a wall was not the best place to mount a mobile and it definitely didn’t make any sense to a movement along a pathway in time.


Second Iteration • •

Intention: Increase movement and mechanical complexity. Process: For this piece I was focused on harnessing wind power and increasing random unpredictable movement. I decided to hold a wooden dowel frame together with small springs at the joints, supported by one large bouncy spring at the top. The dowels went in five independent directions, and on the end of three I placed triangular wind paddles( four white and one orange ). Conclusion: I was happy with the materials and the overall mechanics of the piece, however I felt that the paddles weren't big enough to capture wind and create the amount of movement that I was hoping for. First and Second iteration combined: At home I hung the dowel mobile from my first wire mobile to explore the idea of a primary and secondary combined in one piece. This informed my future designs with wire, wood, and wings because I started to consider the way these materials interacted with each other mechanically as well as esthetically


Third Iteration wire mobile • •

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Intention: Build small from the bottom up Process: Jerry suggested building small in the early phases to save time and material. Up to this point most of my work had been large so I took this as a design challenge. I also wanted to build from the bottom up, starting with small parts, balancing up as I went. Just for practice I started building the tiniest wire mobile that eventually, to my surprise, grew into a useable piece. Conclusion: This was an important learning experience for me because I realized that I had more overall control of the weight balancing if the lower, smaller pieces were finished as I put together the larger supporting pieces. When building from the top down I had to guess how much weight would be on a support before hand, and that was limiting.


Third Iteration •

Intension: To combine a wire mobile with larger moving parts in order to generate random movement. Process: In order to capture energy from the wind I decided to build a single seed pod style wing that would cause sway back and forth, conveying movement.To create a gentle, flowing movement, most mobile designs put flat panels of different sizes and shapes at the tips of wire pieces. For my design I wanted large springs and the single wing to be the main “engine” of the piece while the wire mobile floated around, as if carried on the wind. This was two dowels attached a few inches apart. They had some independent movement but were fixed to each other. Conclusion: Some ideas were starting to take shape, but the piece lacked the complexity of motion that I was searching for.

insect wing


Forth Iteration • •

Intention: Expand existing design and add new materials. Process: This was my first version of a three level, two wing design. I added swivels so that the different parts could move more independently, and I used bells to add to the sensory experience. This piece has two wire mobiles, one in plain steel and the other done in black and red wire. The colored wire was a useful way to add expressiveness, however it doesn't photograph well. Conclusion: I liked the middle tier being perfectly balanced on its fulcrum while the wings were off center. It has an element of risk being large, delicate, and at the mercy of the wind. The wings, being of the same design, responded to changes in wind direction in about the same way. My goal for future iterations would be to design wings that would act very differently from each other, maybe even rotate in opposite directions.


Fifth Iteration • •

Intention: Wind cup style wing and a chaos generator. Process: I liked the double wing design of my last iteration but felt that they didn’t work with my developing narrative because they were too much alike, both in appearance and performance. In order to have more control over the direction that the wing rotated in I decided to try a wind scoop design. My goal was that it would be more likely to move clockwise. If I had success I could make the smaller wing scoop move in the opposite direction. Two wings connected but responding differently to the same air currents was becoming one of my central ideas. Inside the wing I placed a rough draft of my narrative so that you would catch glimpses of text on the ribs as the wing rotated. The lower object was a prototype for what I call a random chaos generator. My goal was to have a third object that influenced the over-all movement of the piece, after the springs and wings. Conclusion: The wing responded well to the wind but wasn’t made well, too heavy and fragile. I was working on other chaos generators that were of a double or triple pendulum style but realized the piece already had plenty of movement.


Increasing my craft skills

My wing designs needed to be stronger and lighter so I started building a model airplane with Seth to increase my skills. While we were working I was noticing the way he would approach a challenge, get frustrated,but keep trying until he got the piece to do what he wanted. He didn’t take the whole project too seriously. I was reminded of myself, working with tools at his age. While I was building the next mobile iteration I couldn’t help but think about how I could express our conversations in my work.


Sixth Iteration • •

Intention: Double wind cup upper wing Process: Because of craft issues with my last iteration I decided to take Jerry’s advice and build a model airplane with Seth. I had already decided that this piece was about father and son and building together informed my future designs. This wing was lighter and sturdier that the last one. My goal was to have two wind scoops on the same wing so that it would rotate mostly in one direction. In order to keep the asymmetrical felling of the past designs I made one scoop larger than the other so that it took up two-thirds of the wing. I was careful to match the dowels with the inner support triangles in a way that the weight was balanced and the sharp tip of the wing wouldn’t droop forward or rock back. Conclusion: I thought this piece was very informative to my final project. The triangular wind scoop design was sturdy but this particular shape, being two-thirds one direction one-third the opposite really tossed this piece around like a broken kite ( see second photo). My goal was to have more control over movement and I liked the esthetics of the past asymmetrical designs so I decided not to pursue this style again.


First site selection Imagine t he p oss ibilities with wind, light, an d mo isture in the c ourtyard. The des ign ch allenge w ill be to creat e a p iec e tha t s eem s w eight less , flowing , in moveme nt, b ut a lso st urd y enou gh t o weat her an unfo reseen s tor m of rain a nd wind. I wo uld like t o inco rpo rate t he idea of time into my piece, th e pa st, present , and futu re. T his will be ac hieved in the size, sh ape, and g rou ping o f my co ns tructed sh ape s. Also the c olors and t ran sluce ncy of objec ts can c ome into play. One wa y to ac hieve th is might be t o use smaller see -throug h piece s clust ere d tigh tly tog ether to repr es ent the pa st while t he p resent is b old, co lorful, and in grea ter mot ion while t he fut ure is the m os t ab st rac t and ex pressiv e. When w e wa lked aro und a s a class to ident ify po ssib le are as to dis play our wo rk I was imme diate ly drawn to th e wa ll in th e cou rtyard. I would like t o take an o ld bolt ou t of the wa ll and see if I can locate so met hing w ith the sa me t hrea ds tha t stick s o ut a bou t three fee t from th e wa ll. If I’m una ble t o locat e a larger bolt then I’d like to fashion so met hing t hat c lips ont o a b olt tha t can protrude far enou gh from the wa ll to ho ld my work, in w hich ca se the possi bilit y of the large clip becom ing a p art of the piece, and n ot jus t a ho lding d evice, cr eate s new de sig n poten tials. Page 1


Anot her possi bilit y would b e to hang a cab le from the over-han g abo ve the studios over to the top of the wa ll or to one of the h igher bolts. Whet her I locate a s uitab ly threa ded long bolt o r han g a c lothe sline type ca ble I would like t o inc lud e my classm ate s in the proc ess . Not only will we acc omp lish more a s a tea m in finding p arts b ut a lso in the ph ysica l inst allat ion and c reat ive proce ss . I can imag ine several long ext ension s o f uniform length protruding f rom the highe r pa rt o f the wall or several piece s han ging f rom the same ca ble, o r even mu ltiple cab les, crea ting a n enc losu re similar to a pa rtial roof. This will provide the most direct cont act w ith the open air an d bring co ntinuity with some of the w orks g rou ped toge ther creat ing a wh ole.

First site selection Page 2


Final site selection After much co ns ideration I have chang ed my s ite from the wa ll in the c ourtyard to the c orridor out sid e our c la ss roo m wind ows . This ne w s ite mak es more s e ns e to my project physically as we ll as to the de velopme nt of my narr ative. At firs t th e cour tyar d s e em e d like the per fe ct place to dis p lay a piec e of work. On th e oth er han d it’s a little too s a fe and obvious with a fixe d, almos t s tagn ant fee ling. I cho se the corridor b e caus e I like th e w ay it frame s the view o f my work from ins ide the class roo m as y ou loo k out th e w indow, where it ma kes a bridge be twe en th e insid e an d th e out sid e world. Firs t you no tice th e mo bile and it’s movement s a nd then your gaze g oes to th e so ccer fie ld down b e llow. After that you ey e s travel up a nd down the h ills c over ed with tree s a nd hou ses , finally no ticing th e eas t b a y off in th e dis tance . As y our e yes come b a ck to the piec e a s ens e o f conn ec tion to t he co mm un ity is a chieve d . The mobile is a n inter ac tive pa rt of the lens e t hat th e v iew er obs er ves an d conn ec ts with the out s ide. When you lea ve th e class roo m and wa lk out sid e you a pp roac h the piec e at th e nort hern end o f the long c orridor wher e it’s mo tion and energy is conn ec te d to th e movement o f the pa th .


Narrative My project was orig ina lly inspi re d by a p ath way in time . As I furth er d eve loped my id eas , conver sa tion s w ith my so n came into fo cus a nd eventu ally b e ca me t he main fo cus of my work. This p iece rep rese nts my relation s hip with him, ho w we are very similar in s om e w ays b ut d iffer ent in oth ers , ind epend ent yet co nnect ed . He is no w a major foc us of my projec t. Starting from inside the classroom the first view of the north end of the corridor is through the middle windows of our studio. From inside the window the corridor frames the view of the soccer field, the hills covered with trees and houses, and the east bay beyond. After walking outside along the edge of the courtyard to the north end of the corridor a long pathway comes into view. The mobile sits at a place that can sometimes be busy with people walking but is more often used as a long observation deck to stare off into the distance or down at the field below. My mobile will be at a crossroads from the classroom to the outside world and also between the courtyard and corridor

Page 1


From insid e, t he mobile w ill be right i n the view e r’s line o f s ight whe n the y look o ut the wind ow. Wind tr ave ling up the corridor will ca us e the piec e to move, giving a n ide a o f wha t wind and wea th er con ditions o uts ide are like. The differe nt wings and ar ms of th e mo bile will b e s hifting a nd sw iveling aroun d th e fulcr um. That will b e the firs t glimps e of the moving sc ulpt ure . After wa lking ou ts ide its p oss ible to wa nder a roun d th e pie ce as it da ng le s from a lo ng s pr ing attach ed to the third s tor y p la tform railing ab ove . Two chairs will be p lac ed n ea r the o bjec t for viewing , one fa cing ea s t to wa rds the city a nd the ot her fac ing s out h so that t he lo ng corridor b eh ind th e work will provide a va nish ing point an d ad d de pth to the spa c e.

Narrative page 2


Designing with intension •

My final piece consisted of two groupings of objects, one representing me and the other Seth. My objects were on the top and middle levels, supporting the third level, which was all Seth. We both had a wing that was of the same design but facing in opposite directions so a shift in wind would cause them to respond differently from each other. I made spring loaded chimes to represent our love of playing music. Mine were larger with a deeper tone and had a square wind catcher to represent being solid, while his had a higher tone and a round catcher to imply movement. He and I each had our own wire cluster to express ourselves with. I wanted to use mine to represent the past,or a starting point, so I used pieces of my icebreaker from the beginning of the semester and shaped it into a classic Calder style mobile. With all of the main ideas and mechanics settled I decided it was time to bring Seth into the final design process. He was full of great ideas, and added a life and death saga into his grouping. He wanted wire shapes that were repeating, getting smaller and smaller to represent infinity, some sort of time piece, a tiny hanging plant and a working light to represent life, and a dark, sharp object that was life's perils to be avoided. I cut a metal sheet into a jagged shape and surrounded it with dark wire to represent danger. To represent life I used a photo of Seth in a tree from my icebreaker collage. It was mounted on orange paper so when I cut it into a circle it looked like the sun from one side and a tree from the other.


Framing the view •

The view from the classroom and the corridor were both important. I had two specific angles that I wanted the viewer to experience the piece from. My idea was to place chairs at those two points but I didn’t want to obstruct the flow of the pathway. Jerry suggested marking those two spots with chalk or tape to guide the viewer to the place I needed them to go. I choose orange duct tape because it matched some of the pieces of my mobile. In the photo Jerry is standing on the x that puts the corridor in the background. The vanishing point at the end of the pathway helps to convey a sense of travel. I’m presenting my work from the spot that looks out towards the east, into the open view of trees and houses. That was the space that felt like a launching pad from the classroom out into the world.


Learning new crafts •

One of my favorite things about ARCH101 has been learning to use new materials and tools. I had so much fun making springs, wind chimes, and giant paper wings. The pipe cutter was easy to use and I’m sure Seth and I will be making wind-chimes for Christmas this year. The grandparents are gunna love it! To make springs I wrapped wire around cans, a broom stick, dowels etc. to get all kinds of shapes and sizes. The wings were a nice place to post my narrative, which could be seen in glimpses as the wing rotated, added a little mystery and depth to the piece.


Hair caught in a spring again?

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Luckily my girlfriend has been pretty patient while I worked many late nights filling our apartment with large objects that are easy to trip over. Yay Liz!


Arch 101 final learning portfolio