Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The great outdoors

With the formats and materials I used so far, my sculptures suit indoors much better than outdoors. Yet bamboo and nylon can withstand outdoor conditions, it just needs some more considerations.

I was a bit surprised when I brought a larger structure to the market on a rainy day. It lost considerable amount of tension, and also its delicate balance. Some similar happened when I spray painted a larger structure and left it outdoors for drying, on the next day it had gone into a dangerously floppy state.

My last experiment involved a 4-strut tensegrity, which basically could be balanced upside-down, with one strut fixed into the ground, and three struts floating in tension. The model reaches about 160 cm up, which gives me a bit of leeway for the tension. The first build felt okay, could be handled without disintegrating and lots of movement throughout.

I installed just before a rain storm broke out, with some significant winds. The next day, I found it still in place, yet the top three struts had folded down. The rain must have allowed the strings to stretch more than a healthy amount, although no connection become undone, the overall tension didn't suffice anymore.

With the strings still wet, I simply tuned the model by looping the strings in their grooves, taking care that the overall symmetry wasn't gone. Only 12 strings are needed to keep the 4 struts together, but I wished I had more than two hands while I tried to give it more sturdiness.

I sealed the top of the struts with a glue gun once I was happy with the overall tension, and gave it another go.
New life (in a mist of breath in a cold night)

The Melbourne weather brought a bit of sunshine the next morning, so I could finally hope for a shot in daylight. After straightening the structure in its base a bit, I was quite happy with the result. The visibility isn't too great, but I guess the sun will bleach the struts which currently blend into the background a bit.

I can only hope that the council won't rip it out too soon, it's along my favorite unicycling route so I have a fair chance to keep an eye on it for some longer. It's very accessible, and I rather have it taken by a flooding Merri Creek than over-eager council worker or some destructive neighbours. Time will tell.

New life (in an old Willow tree)

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