Saturday, 21 April 2012

Homage to Pars

When I came across the website of Marcelo Pars, a Dutch tensegrity artist, I knew that my explorations wouldn't find an end soon. The site looked a bit different at the time, but had already some fantastically inspiring pieces on display. I had the impression that he builds models on a larger scale than I do, and much more with 'redundant' struts that I explored so far.

Besides exploring basic geometry, he managed to give his objects a solidity in appearance (and potentially in mechanical behaviour) that eluded me. I totally enjoy the ethereal appearance of some of my own structures, and managed to resist the call for more solid struts.
Parsed Rastafarian (12 strut tetrahedron)
While I consider the tetrahedron (in some educated believe in Fuller that the tetrahedron comprises the smallest unit in universe) a very appealing shape, most people exposed to my work prefer the icosahedron when it comes to 6 strut structures.

Parsed Rastafarian (sitting on a tetrahedral face)
While playing with the Java tensegrity viewer by Bob Burkhardt, a pioneer of constructing tensegrity structures, I realised have easy it should be to build a 12 strut tetrahedron like Pars did. I had a small colourful tetrahedron lying around, and decided to transform it. 

Parsed Rastafarian
The tetrahedron 'proves' that one and one add up to four, and it hides 3 pairs of orthogonal edges in it. Three colours suffice to show this twisted pair of edges. While I love many visual aspects of the small version, it's tricky to balance it on all corners, and the relative large diameter in relation to the length of the struts brings the struts nearly into contact.

Homage to Marcelo Pars (12 strut tetrahedron)

The proximity of the struts could easily be changed by upsizing. The corners are held together in a single spot, I'm tempted to connect the corners to the center. Well, as the first emanation with 60 cm struts already has quite a large prestress, I might delay this idea until the next build. 

Homage to Marcelo Pars
The larger build unveiled the space in between the intricate weaving patterns in the center of the sculpture. I'm still hesitant to play it hard, I had some accidents during the build and it feels so taut that I fear to break some of the flimsy struts used.

Genesis revisited (4 strut x-modul)
My attempts to scale the classic 4 strut x-module up didn't succeed. The 30 cm strut version, very taut with only nylon string, can easily be held in balance by slotting into a relatively heavy base. I hope my lungs didn't take damage from drilling the fibreglass base...

Double plus good

Using two colours for the tendons allows to show the 'centre' and 'periphery' of the x-module. Using two colours for the four struts will enhance the polarity of the struts, could be fun be find out how a chain of x-modules behaves. I did this before, very early in my tensegrity exploration, certainly worth doing again.

Pented up
The small 30 strut dodecahedron I had lying around didn't really invite for playing, so I thought in combination with a basis its wobbly qualities come into good use.

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