SCULPTURE - ALUMINIUM
This project using sand casting(scratch mold) and aluminum foundry pour focused on performative aspects of sculpture. This project was particularly tricky because there were specific deadlines to follow, for example, when to finish creating the scratch mold, and when to be prepared for aluminum pour. The timelines were very exact and everyone in class had to follow them with no exceptions. From this project I learned how to mix resin, catalyst, and sand to harden and ultimately make a sand mold, how to forge metal rods to create a sculpting tool, and how the foundry works to melt / pour aluminum. Again, I utilized using threaded cold joints to put together the parts I sculpted separately to make an enclosed aluminum box. I learned how to solder wires from another class this semester, and because I’ve been soldering things all the time, I thank the other class for giving me the inspiration for this project. For this project focusing on the performative aspects, I created a “time bomb” with a kitchen timer and abundant amount of wires. I threw the viewers in a secluded, dimly lit area underneath a staircase and told them abruptly that they must cut the right wire at the right location in order to deactivate the time bomb. To control the speed of this performance, I limited for only one person to cut one wire, one at a time. Despite my warning of “cutting the right wire at the right location”, in reality, there were only 4 wires that actually altered the destiny of the time bomb while there were more than 20 other decoy wires that lead to absolutely nowhere.
It was really delightful to see how people were really excited about this idea. However, I could improve a lot more in terms of delivery of instructions. Instead of shoving them all in one area and blurting out the instructions(I thought it would cause confusion but due to lack of conversation about my project I’m assuming that perhaps some people were too confused about what’s going on), I could’ve delivered the instructions beforehand in a separate room and urge everyone to run to the time bomb to see what kind of strategies rises to deactivate the bomb. Also, the wire cutter I had placed was fairly dull which I think successfully provided a sense of frustration of whoever was on the spot trying to cut the wires. Viewers commented that it was hard to access the object because the space I set this up at was so cramped. On the other hand, other viewers said that this felt more natural, and produced more anxiety and fear. After the “official” critique, a fellow classmate came up to me and asked about the figurative component of the “face” of the object, and I explained that this was derived from the “mouth of truth” in Rome, and that it used in ancient Roman as a torturing tool where a fraud would put their hand inside the mouth to get their hand chopped off. He expressed amazement about the meaning and disappointment about the fact that the class was primarily focused on the wire and time bomb aspect, when there were clearly some more meaning behind the face. While this was an extremely kind gesture, I believe that the face not being mentioned during the critique meant that the viewers really harnessed the fear and anxiety produced by the object, which was the main show anyway. Also, the other viewer pointed out that the combination of the craft with the face and the environment worked successfully, so I don’t think my work behind the face-sculpting disappeared in vain. While this object provided fear and anxiety, it was also delightful to see that this was fun, in a way like an escape room game. It was lovely to see people working together as a team trying to find the right wires.
These are the insides of the kitchen timer I utilized
the wires that actually alters the life of the kitchen timer, pre-existing wires were cut open and stripped for extension soldering.
the addition of ton of “decoy” wires melted straight on top of the plastic that leads to absolutely nowhere
SCULPTURE - WOOD
This project using wood was primarily focused on how object and gravity worked together. Incorporating a “found object” and using 1x8x10’ plank of pine, I created two structures that can’t stand on their own, but could stand upright using each other’s presence. The structure needed to be as tall as myself(5’6) or as wide as my height, and the final result of the structure easily exceeded the dimension requirement using minimal materials. Previously before this project, I already knew how to use a bandsaw as well as miter saw(chop saw), but I have not used nail guns or the table saw before. Mainly for my previous wood projects I utilized drills and nails, but I newly learned making various types of joints(compound joints, butt joints, miter joints) using the nail gun and wood glue. The wooden structures were made with thin bars of pine wood that were put together by multiple butt joints and miter joints. Because both wooden structures included similar components like the unclosed rectangular hooks on the top and the closed rectangular feet to ensure more surface area for secure balance, in theory, these two wooden structures were similar. However, the slight modifications in their design allowed for these two structures to stand together, clasping with the corresponding spiral joints and securing the “found object”, a clear bowl of water, at the foot in a stable manner.
During the critique, my peers reacted positively to the simplicity of the structure. Viewers loved the top joints, the spiral of right angles, and the delicacy, the airiness, the whimsical but not anxious interaction these joints provided. The joints were also perceived to resemble a shape of a heart, and also to deliver feeling of relationship. The balance was perceived to be a bit off(this structure was leaning backwards), because of the extension between the balancing point and the connection of the joints. This unstableness provided a clumsy moment but elegantly composed structure, and the structure could be read differently from different angles. When a viewer wished that there would be more elements reflecting the nature of water, I pointed out that the triangular shape of the sculpture of the top and bottom shares one congruent angle and two congruent plank for the sides and therefore is a similar triangle. This reflection of the triangular shapes showed the rational reasoning behind the structure, which maybe was not clear enough. During the process of making this project I recall being frustrated at how fragile the wooden structures could be. At some point I got so frustrated and abused the nail gun and just nailed the wood excessively and therefore some of the joints are a bit messy. I was also really anxious during the critique, because this object didn’t have stable structural integrity, so if someone were to just breathe next to it, it would tip over and crash. Hopefully more precision and more stable bottoms would’ve fixed this problem, but I was happy that I still exchanged the simplicity of this project with the structural stability, which I think was a pretty fair deal. Main takeaway was to learn from the accidents that came along with the fabrication / production of the objects, the importance to identify them, thinking about what they are actually doing, and learning to utilize those accidents.
SCULPTURE - METAL