Monday, December 19, 2011

VoltaDom Installation / Skylar Tibbits + SJET

VoltaDom is an installation created for MIT’s 150th Anniversary Celebration and FAST Arts Festival. It populates the passageway between Buildings 56 and 66 on MIT’s campus. Designed by a multidisciplinary research based practice SJET, founded by Skylar Tibbits in 2007, the project is one of the firm’s recent experiments in computational design. The project revisits a historically paramount structural element-the vault, attempting to find its contemporary equivalent through various assembly and fabrication techniques. This reference allows one to appreciate the installation both as a sculpture and a research in materiality and digital fabrication.

The installation lines the concrete and glass hallway with hundreds of vaults, reminiscent of the greatvaulted ceilings of historical cathedrals.It can be seen from inside and outside, creating spectacular views. The vaults provide a thickened surface articulation and a spectrum of oculi that penetrate the hallway and surrounding area with views and light. VoltaDom attempts to expand the notion of the architectural “surface panel,” by intensifying the depth of a doubly-curved vaulted surface, while maintaining relative ease in assembly and fabrication. This is made possible by transforming complex curved vaults to developable strips, one that likens the assembly to that of simply rolling a strip of material.

Pin-plant Installation Created with 5000 Colored Buttons / Design With Company

Pin-plant is an installation designed by Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer from Design With Company like a series of experiments – an examination and interpretation of humanity through anthropomorphism and color. Finding the fantastic in the systematic. What do our desires to personify computer parts express about us? It all began with an old computer motherboard. At first it was a city scape, then a vast mechanical microcosm, with circuits leading this way and that- a garden of forking paths if you may- immediately immense and endless. Aggregating in intense exchanges of information- where color became landmark and organization revealed a scale of part to whole most basic in its arrangement, yet complex in possibility. It’s efficiency a testament to its time. Technology of foreign pieces. But what did we want to do with it? We wanted to give it life to understand it. Aestheticize it until it could be more than a commentary on the mechanics of things. Through sculpture, the conventional exformative connections are disconnected.

Geometry reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller is structurally efficient until it is not. The 5000 buttons are each an self-sufficient display unit, complete with a devices for hanging and protection; at once a painting, one pixel of digitally sampled color, and an entire portable museum. They are minor figurines, used over and over again to compose the major chimerical figure – an encrusted scape of colorful scales. Each one is hand made and unique yet part of community.