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Symbol- Language and Sound into System

Language has a strong symbolic meaning to the mankind. It is not just a sound but with meanings which then allows to self-express, communicate and inspire. The mechanism of the sound system of languages is translated into visually represented geometries using Chladni’s Law.
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3-Dimensional computer generated Chladni Patterns 

When the frequencies increase, the pattern gets more complicated.

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BabelTower of Babel – The origin of different languages

“Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. […] Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:3~4)

(The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel)

It is the story from the Bible but also architectural structure found in Mesopotamia Civilisation – called Ziggurat. It was made of asphalt and baked bricks with total dimensions of 90m x 90m, 90m high. This is equivalent 30th floor building.

The united humanity spoke a single language and agreed to build a city and a tower that is ‘tall enough to reach heaven’. God found such behaviour as rude and disrespectful. He confounded man’s speech so that they could no longer understand each other. 


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Concept Development through systematic studies of Ziggurat

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The frequency and nodes of the word is analysed and recreated as two geometrical forms. They are proportioned according to the Ziggurat Algorithm ratio and timber pieces are stacked up vertically reaching the highest deck at 8m above. The structure encourages to climb complex geometry.

While reaching the top, less intense the space becomes. The LEDs are placed underneath the timber pieces which are concentrated on the top of the tower and scattered following the central void of the structure. Lights illuminate with the voice reactive sensor placed at the top of the tower.cymatictotal2

Human always wanted to reach higher points either physical or spiritual. The height of architecture symbolised one’s power and control. This can be observed from the tower of Babel and continues in architectural history. Such expression of the desire of heights lead to competition of building higher structure.

High rise buildings were often found in religious architecture where they had few typical characteristics. First, it was the only tower to observe your land and the only tower which can be seen from everywhere in town. It has a visual meaning that the land within the perspective is the land within control. Second, religious architecture often had music instruments embedded within. This represented the control of the land where music reaches. And finally, high-rise tower was a representation of the centre of universe and sacred space in religious term. The tower, architecture of height is a spatial symbol of man’s deep desires.

The ritual is all about finding the true desire of your own. This begins with constructing the tower where the ritual follows the biblical story of Babel. Climbing up 8m high construct is a challenge then the climbers are rewarded with the beautiful panoramic view of Black Rock city. The climbers will also interact with the installation by continuously stacking up the Babels with anything they can find. Eventually it will deform from the original shape. Then the Babels will be the collective symbol of the Burners’ pure desire.

 

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• SOL •

The Ritual of Light

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SOL is an architecture designed by Burning Man for Burning Man as a celebration of its surrounding landscape.The design creates an enclosed space, which is flooded with light daily at 12pm for a limited time. This ritual occurs only when both sun and architecture line up, becoming one entity.

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SOL is 9m long, 3m wide and 5m tall. The entire structure is made out of 18mm birch plywood, cut with CNC and assembled on the Playa.

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SOL is directly connected with its surrounding landscape, mimicking the silhouette of the harsh mountains. A series of 9 chimneys, which rise from the ground create several sloped surfaces where users can lay down to relax and embrace the natural surrounding. During daytime SOL will be a climbable structure, which can also provide shelter from the challenging conditions of the desert.

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SOL was designed to act, appear and generate different experiences based on the user’s position. Frontally viewed it acts as a sun clock aligning with the sun at 12pm.

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The overall shape resembles a series of monolithic rocks emerging from the playa, which are inspired by the landscape. During night time, SOL is dynamically lit by LED strips both internally and externally, producing a colorful light show, which celebrates the darkness of the night through artificial light.

Over the years, Black Rock City has seen a multitude of projects which have been created to animate the Playa.

SOL aims to be a playful, interactive and informative design, which enhances the relationship between humans and celestial bodies, in particular with the sun. Human history has been driven by the cult of the sun, and divinities and architecture have been dedicated to it. With the help of parametric design and environmental analysis, SOL is a direct representation of a particular moment on the playa: 12pm of everyday.

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Internally, the light that penetrates and cast itself on the floor for only 30 minutes, wants to make the user aware of the sun’s movement in a more evident way. This phenomenon is a daily ritual, which brings people together in order to experience a connection with our universe that we sometimes take for granted since we cannot directly perceive it.

The wooden structure will be lit on fire on the last day of the festival since it was designed to exist only at Burning Man for the length of the festival.

My inspirations has a direct link to archeoastrology, a science that looks at the relationship between celestial bodies and architecture, i.e. Stonehenge, Chiceniza and the Parthenon in Rome. The common element between these projects is the attention, precision and relation with the sky and the movement of the sun. All of these projects and many more, create a different dimension where the architecture only becomes a tool to admire and contemplate what surrounds us.  

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In conclusion, SOL aims to be an example of how architecture can be shaped by the use of datas and parametric design, in order to deliver a project which is directly derived from its surrounding environment.


Whatever your creed your reliance on the sun is unquestionable.

We have worshipped it as a God.

Spent lifetimes studying it through science.

Yet human hands will never touch its surface.

Celestial Field brings our sun to the Playa for us to dance in its glory.

Triggering our own solar flare.

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Internal perspective of the Celestial Field Pavilion

 

From the dawn of time the sun has been a constant in human life. It has been central to the beliefs of nearly every civilisation throughout history. What was once an astrological wonder sustaining life; dictating when to plant and harvest our crops; evolved into a god and deity, woven into the stories and teachings of nearly every culture, from the Egyptians to the Ancient Greeks and even Christianity.

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Sun symbolism from across the globe and through the ages

 

The oldest man-made structures in the world have resounding astrological connections to both the sun and constellations, covered in carvings they unquestionably align to major astrological events.

Newgrange in Boyne Valley, Ireland, thought to be built in 3500BC, has a tomb in which sits a stone basin lit by a single beam of light at sunrise on the winter solstice.

 

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Newgrange Tomb- Borne Valley, Ireland; built around a single beam of light that exists only for a moment each year

 

The Egyptians, Greeks, and Christians have all referenced the sun within their religion and beliefs.

The Egyptians in 3000BC had Ra, the Greeks in 400BC believed Helios to be God of the sun, and Christians have often depicted Jesus in front of what is thought by many to be the solar cross.

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Ra, Helios and Jesus all depicted with solar symbols

 

In the past the sun has been depicted as a 2Dimensional disk of light travelling across the sky before dying only to be reborn at sunrise.

The Ancient Greeks believed Helios to be the personification of the sun. A man with a many rayed crown of light, pulling the sun across the open sky with a horse drawn chariot. The Helios named after the Greek god has been used and adapted through the ages, with one of the most recognisable iterations being the logo of global corporation BP which symbolises “a number of things – not least the greatest source of energy … the sun itself..” – bp.com

 

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Building the Helios

 

This once celestial being has now become a tangible thing. Through advances in our technological and scientific capability we have gained an understanding of the suns chemical make-up, uncovering many of its secrets from sun spots to solar flares. Although we have developed an increased understanding of the forces driving the sun, it is still no more accessible to us mere humans than on the first day on earth remaining an impenetrable sphere in the sky only to viewed from a far.

 

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Physical model light testing

 

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Digital animation of lighting tests

 

The suns surface has taught us much. Galileo’s sun spot diagrams unknowingly demonstrated the unique fluidity of the suns chromosphere. Further study of these sun spots and magnificent solar flares proved that the surface of the sun is covered in billions of interlaced magnetic fields all interacting together to form the whole. When these fields cross swirling plasma burst in an instance out into the corona bringing with it immense light displays that can be seen on earth as the aurora.

 

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Recording magnetic fields with computer models and physical experiments

 

In an age where endless streams of newfound knowledge are accessible with the touch of a finger – it is easy to lose our sense of innocent amazement and unquestioning awe. We have a constant need for explanation of why and how phenomena exist, no longer blindly excepting their beauty and revelling in it.

The indescribable beauty of these gigantic magnetic fields can often be lost and forgotten in the mundane when scaled down to earthly objects. Viewing them at a micro scale allows us to connect with their other-worldly nature.

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Macro photographs of physical tests of magnetic structure using iron filings

 

Science has taught us how a magnet attracts and repels enabling use in industry, medicine and everyday life. And as our knowledge expands, we move from child to adulthood and our desire to play diminishes – burdened by explanations and reasoning; we are no longer in awe of our ability to make metal move without laying hands on it. It has become the norm and the expected, it is no longer ‘magic’.

Life should be fun and full of mesmerising moments. Our increased knowledge should enable and enhance our experience of ‘magic’ not hinder it.

 

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Experimenting with magnetism to define levels of sensitivity for large scale interaction

 

Celestial Fields captures the unexplainable wonderment the sun once held and makes it accessible through modern mediums, combining two worlds; science and enchantment, imbedding them on the Playa at Black Rock City, Nevada, for people to explore and lose themselves in.

Thousands of swaying rods made of tubes of one-way mirror form an undulating field, rising high above your head, and falling like the plasma pulled in all directions by the phenomenal magnetic forces found on our sun.

By day a field of mirrors reflect and intensify the suns natural beauty and power. Creating a maze of ever changing light to explore, push through and play within. At sunset everything transforms. The field morphs, bursting into a sea of glowing beams reacting to movement and mimicking the fluid, almost pulsing nature of the suns corona.

Like the chromosphere, magnetic fields have informed density and pattern, creating patches of pure brightness and areas as dark as sunspots. With each rod built on a spring loaded base it can be pushed a manipulated, enabling you to forge your own path through the densest areas of Celestial Field, parting rods like magnets repelling polarised iron.

 

Individual rods are clad in a one-way mirror film - creating a reflection of the desert in the day and an illuminated environment at night

Individual rods are clad in a one-way mirror film – creating a reflection of the desert in the day and an illuminated environment at night

 

Movement through the sprung rods creates interest not only for the participants but also onlookers. During daylight hours people weaving in and out can be seen across the playa through the constant glinting of the sun on the reflective rods. An ever changing shimmer, like sunlight dancing across water in the distance, drawing people in from all directions out of wonder and intrigue.

Once the sun has set the lights come on, and the show only gets better. The rods now glow and pulse, changing colour, transforming the world around them – each equipped with a sensor so as to react to movement as people push past; creating tracks of swirling light shifting like the turbulent surface of the sun. Areas of intense and overwhelming light can occur when people team together to trigger a cluster of rods forming a concentration of light evocative of a solar flare.

The sun is not solely about light, with it comes inevitable darkness. Shadows too have been used throughout time as a symbol in opposition to that of the sun; and in this instance the areas of shadow formed in the magnetic layout create areas of calm within the thrill of the lights where one can sit and ponder everything from the dessert to the sky and the sun that brings life to earth.

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The pavilion layout is informed by the patterns of sunspots and flares forming on the suns surface

 

What was once worshipped as a distant god and celestial being can now exist on the surface of the earth as a Celestial Field in Nevada. The sun has risen and set, bringing with it heat and light; powering life on earth since the dawn of time, a focus of incomprehensible wonder and fascination for each and every culture across the globe.

Celestial Field intends to reignite our faith in the intangible, while showing us there are powers and beauty still to be found in the modern world.

 

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Dream Catchers by Nick Huard

Legend of the Dream Catcher

‘The legend of a dream catcher began long time ago, when the child of a Woodland chief fell ill. Unsettled by fever, the child was plagued with bad dreams and unable to sleep. In an attempt to heal him, the tribe’s Medicine Woman created a device that would ‘catch’ these bad dreams. Forming a circle with a slender willow branch, she filled the centre with sinew, using a pattern borrowed from our brother the Spider, who weaves a web. This dream catcher was then hung over the bed of the child. Soon the fever broke, and the child slept peacefully.

It is said that at night, when dreams visit, they are caught in the dream catcher’s web, and only the good dreams are able to find their way to the dreamer, filtering down through the feather. When the warmth of the morning sun arrives, it burns away the bad dreams that have been caught. The good dreams, now knowing the path,visit again on other nights.’ (Oberholtzer, 2012, p9).

 

Origins

Dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe, a tribe of Native Americans scattered throughout the areas of the lake country in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and along the southern border of Canada, along the shores of Lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan, whose survival relied on fishing, hunting and trapping.  

Traditionally, the dream catchers were made by tying sinew strands onto a few inches in diameter round or tear-shaped frames of willow and were often wrapped in leather.

The spiritual life of the Ojibwa centred around the Midewiwin, the Grand Medicine Society and focused on the individual spiritual growth, gaining the insight through their dreams or visions.

 

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Grey Owl repairing an Ojibwa-style shoe

Mystical Experience

My project is a re-interpretation of the beliefs that dreams have magical qualities with the ability to change or direct one’s path in life. The bawaajige nagwaagan intends to create a mystical experience, where people are caught inside, similar to the way that bad dreams are caught in the dreamcatcher’s web, and good dreams escape through the centre. The participants are encouraged to climb through the centre and escape their bad dreams and feelings, releasing their spirit through the enclosure. Now they can sleep in the peaceful environment, stimulated by the fantasy of glowing feathers and luminescent rope structures. The pavilion aims for people to sleep, relax and free themselves from stress while being protected by the magical webs of the dream catcher.

 

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The Bawaajige Nagwaagan at night

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Close-up render at night

Romantic essence of the Native American Culture

The proposal is a celebration of the romantic essence of the Native American Culture. The large scale, three dimensional net is inspired by the native methods and techniques of making dream catchers. It is a manifestation of the traditions and significance of the Native Americans, paying respect and pledging support to the indigenous people of America.

The structure situated in the Burning Man festival commemorates the ceremonies of Native Americans, dedicated to acquiring an insight through dreams and visions. Fasting, or giving up of certain necessities for a certain length of time was a common practice used to enhance one’s ability to access different dreams or visions. Another method was to pour water over hot rocks to produce steam, which enhanced the occurrence of dreams, used as source of introspection. These rituals relate to the festival’s assertion of disconnecting from the necessities of our contemporary world, supplemented by the extreme weather conditions, which are hoped to encourage reflection.

The pavilion responds and works together with the Black Rock desert’s environment, and adds to the wider cultural context of leaving behind the essentials and expectations of the contemporary world while creating a moment for contemplation and tranquility in the magical weaves of the dream catcher.

 

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The Bawaajige Nagwaagan during the day

Proposal Development_System

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Form Experimentation_Platonic Forms

Hexahedron

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Development Model

 

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Diagrams explaining model assembly

 

Tetrahedron

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1:10 Model

 

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Diagrams explaining model assembly

 

Physical Description

The structure will be composed out of three, seven meters in diameter, dream catchers, tilted to form a tetrahedron. Each dream catcher’s net will be made out of 275 meters, 18mm, synthetic hemp rope which will be entwined in 1320 meters of 3mm fluorescent cord. Attached to the frame uv lights will make the fluorescent rope glow at night. Three rings hold the net structure together, with the bottom ring anchored to the ground, made out of T-shape plywood frames. The web of the frame will be 4 layers of 15mm ‘banana’ shaped pieces which will create a circle, together with 4 layers of 230mm x 2400mm x 9mm flange pieces bent in shape of the banana edge. Smaller rings, supporting the centre of the dreamcatcher net will be of similar structure, with 2 layers of banana pieces and 2 layers of 150mm x 2400m x 9mm flange pieces, bent in shape. The frame will be wrapped in 13500 meters of 8mm synthetic hemp with attached fluorescent fabric feathers.

 

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Frame’s web assembly

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Frame’s flange assembly

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Initial assembly diagrams

Testing Ideas in 1:1 Scale

 

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1:1 Scale Test Model exploring the possibilities of glowing net structure and its connections.

Assembly of the net is inspired by a macrame knotting technique rather than weaving which means that the net could be made out of smaller 15 meters long pieces, rather than one 275 m coil of rope, making it easier to assemble and repair. Rope is anchored to the frame with thimbles and shackles, attached to the bolted staple on the plate. The rope is connected with simple S-shape stainless steel hooks. After testing the net I found that although these are easy to assemble, they can create some movement in a connection, therefore I am planning on exploring the idea of ferrules, which could be crimped in place.

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Photographs of 1:1 Scale Model

 

 

 

renders01The project is inspired by the interaction between people. It celebrates the female and male union and brings together people that already know each other or are completely strangers. Its interactive, it challenges its visitors, its playful.

It invites people to take part and be interactive with each other. It is called like that as it challenges people to reach the final gate and come together. It acts indeed like a mistletoe. Mysterious and magical. The moment you stand beneath the final gate you stand where all the magic happens. You feel the power and need to kiss the other person. Its design celebrates this union and offers a magical mutation.

It offers a labyrinth of complex, intriguing that seek to nourish individual experiences.

Black rock city seems to be the promised land, the promise of freedom, of self-expression, of immediacy and creativity and community. In a community like Burning Man you can assume the right to approach any random person and have an interesting interaction. You can overly express interest and curiosity. The Desert Mistletoe aims to give people a chance to be more expressed, more playful. Its for those people who want deeper connections, more meaningful interactions, less seriousness and more play.

Hugs and affection are a particularly significant aspect in which to expect more from strangers. We all need love, hugs and kisses are one of the best ways to deliver it. Take the risk to go in for a kiss. Of course some people will be hesitant. The project challenges people to express affection and admiration and relax. Hugs and kisses bring us together. At Burning Man, the endless parade of people flaunting their unusualness brings joy and excitement.

The unusual is both delightful and challenging. People love the unusual, the extraordinary and anything out of our everyday lives and routines. At Burning Man you do not need to sacrifice your wonderful weirdness. On the contrary you are challenged to explore your playful impulses and discover or express your freaky freedom.

The project is inspired specifically by the people of Burning Man.

‘Burners respect the gift of being touched’

 

Inspiration – The Symbol of Sri Yantra

axonometric explanationSymbolism

The Sri Yantra is conceived as a place of spiritual pilgrimage. It is a representation of the cosmos at the macrocosmic level and of the human body at the microcosmic level. It is a Journey. A spiritual journey from the stage of material existence to the union of the individual soul with the divine. The spiritual journey is taken as a pilgrimage in which every step is an ascent to the center. It represents a movement beyond one’s limited existence and every level is nearer to the goal. All the stages are within a gated frame, which is called the ‘earth citadel’ and forms an enclosed space.

The geometry

The symbol consists of nine interlocking triangles, centered around a bindu ( the central point). The five downward pointing triangles represent Shakti; the female principle. The four upright triangles represent Shiva; the male principle. The nine interlocking triangles form 43 small triangles each representing a particular aspect of existence.

 

The Concept – Fractals & Koch Snowflake

The proposed project is inspired by the concept of fractals – a never ending pattern, applied to a specific geometry. They are infinitely complex patterns created by repeating a simple process over and over, creating patterns that are self-similar across different scales. Fractals are images of dynamic systems that are driven by recursion.

The idea is based on the Koch Snowflake, a mathematical curve which has a finite area bounded by an infinitely long line.

For the project a script was created in Grasshopper and different patterns were created based on the triangles extracted from the Sri Yantra symbol.

fractals-experimentsBelow: Acrylic model based on the fractal pattern that was created above

fractals-experiments-model-01The model below is based on the fractal pattern created by

  1. the triangles representing the Female principle
  2. the triangles representing the Male principle

Together they represent, like the Sri Yantra symbol, the union of female and male. A celebration of our Creation.

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Developing the design and the creation of a journey through a structure

The initial idea was to extract some patterns and create something that will look like gates. Gates that could provide a journey to their visitors.

first-attemptFurther development of the gates was undertaken. The final concept consists of 4 gates which intersect with each other in order to provide a journey. There are 4 different designs for each gate. Each gate has a dense pattern in order to create something elegant and ornamental. The pattern is based on the Koch snowflake concept and has been applied to multiple directions. The gates have different heights and dimensions with the last one reaching up to 10m height. This was designed in such a way to provide a climax of the visitor journey at the final gate/stage.

final-gatesThe design is all about a journey. A personal journey with different experiences. A welcoming structure, inviting the visitors to interact with each other. It says a story, it represents a story and it invites you to create one.

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Experiment model in order to understand at what points the gates could intersect. At this point, the gates are connecting only on the top.

This has as a result to have an ’empty’ structure on the sides.

initial-ideasFinal Design Concept

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All the gates are connected with each other not only at the top but also on the sides. To achieve best results and better connections, the 3 gates are duplicated and connected with each other. The second gate will be connected with the third one only at the bottom. The 4rth gate has three sides creating a triangular central space. The gates have been rotated along the 2 other sides allowing for its visitors to enter from different directions. This also creates an enclosed space, like the Sri Yantra symbol.

The proposed installation aims to be part of this beautiful journey of self-discovery. It takes part of expecting more from strangers, while noticing the weirdness of others and encourages everybody to express themselves. With expecting more of strangers it increases the likelihood that the people you meet will become a part of that sometimes elusive network of connections we call community.

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The Symbol

The Mandala – Sacred Geometry in Buddhist Art

“We can also discuss the mandala in terms of the soul. The soul is the totality of the mandala. Essence arises in the soul, but for a long time… the soul is not completely essentialized; only part of it is. The rest of the field of the mandala – the rest of the consciousness of the soul – is composed of all your mental, emotional and physical experiences. The thread is defined by the center of the soul, and we can know that center most specifically and in a delineated way by recognizing the essential presence and what quality is manifesting.”   – A.H.Almaas                                                                                                                                 

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The word Mandala derives from:

manda =essence, la =container

Thus, the word Mandala translates as “the container of the essence”

However, as an image the mandala is a symbol representing both the mind and the body of the Buddha.

In esoteric Buddhism, the Mandala’s main principle is the presence of the Buddha in it. This can be represented either as a tree, a wheel or as a jewel, or in other symbolic manifestations.

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The Centre

The Mandala is consecrated to a deity. In its creation, a line materializes out of the dot, while other lines are drawn up to the point where they intersect, creating in that way triangular geometrical patterns. The central area of the Mandala is the residence of the deity. Each Mandala has its own resident deity, with whom the mandala is identified. The circle drawn around the deity’s residence stands for the dynamic consciousness of the initiated. It is the gathering point, in which all the outside forces are drawn.

The centre is visualised as the essence and the circumference as grasping.

In its complete form Mandala means:

Grasping the essence.

The residence of the deity is located in the square structure concentrically within the surrounding circles. The outlying square symbolizes the physical world bound in four directions, which are represented by the four gates, which in turn symbolize the bringing together of the four boundless thoughts.

Loving Kindness

Compassion

Sympathy

Equanimity

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The Square

The square structure is divided into four isosceles triangles by lines that run from the center of the Mandala to the four corners. Each detail in all four quadrants or triangles faces the center, where the deity of the mandala resides. The square form defines the architecture of the Mandala described as a four-sided palace or temple.

Palace – Residence of the presiding deity

Temple – Contains the essence of the Buddha

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The Colours

The four quadrants of the Palace or Temple are divided into isosceles triangles of colour.

white, yellow, red, green, dark blue

 Each of the aforementioned colors is associated with one of the five transcendental Buddhas, further associated with the five delusions of human nature. These delusions obscure our true nature, however spiritual practice can transform them into the wisdom of these five respective Buddhas.

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The Concentric Circles

The series of concentric circles surrounding the central palace or temple follow an intense symbolic structure.

Ring of Fire

Ring of Thunderbolt or Diamond Scepters (Vajra)

Eight Cremation Grounds or Graveyards

Ring of Lotus Leaves

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The Complete Mandala

A person meditating on a mandala visualizes himself going into the mandala and making his way through the levels of images until he arrives at the center. Buddhists believe that the Mandala meditation helps concentrate spiritual power and bring freedom from suffering.

 

Drawing the Mandala

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Component Diagram

After thorough research on the Indian Mandala, I started designing mine taking into consideration the various symbolizations and components that constitute the traditional Mandala.

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Mandala Layers

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Model Concept

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Three Dimensional Mandala

The Final Proposal – The Cubic Mandala

 

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Day Render

According to Buddhist religion, the mandala appears as a series of concentric circles that are a representation of the process of transformation that human beings are asked to undergo before entering the sacred area, located at the centre of the mandala. In other words, when meditating in front of a mandala, human beings move through the different layers, liberating themselves from the delusions that obscure our true nature, and consequently reach the centre of the mandala and attain enlightenment.

Based on that theory, the Cubic Mandala is a three dimensional, cubic representation of the traditional Indian Mandala and is designed in a way so that all the fundamental elements of the traditional mandala are being incorporated into the design. For instance, the central area, the palace or temple, the four quadrants along with the four gates, the ring of fire, the lotus and diamond ring, as well as the eight graveyards. The aforementioned are of great significance and vital to the process of transformation and the attainment of enlightenment and spiritualism.

This process is further emphasized by the introduction of 4 layers that form each side of the cubic mandala and represent the different stages that human beings have to overcome in order to reach the centre of the mandala. The cubic mandala is an actual representation of the difficulties one is asked to overcome in order to put an end to human suffering and acts as a means to discover divinity by the realization that it resides within one’s one self.

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Night Render

The Cubic Mandala is a 4,5 m high timber and acrylic construction consisting of layers that form four concentric cubes, creating a journey to the centre of the mandala. The twenty layers that form the four concentric cubes are made out of timber. However, a 10mm acrylic sheet is attached to the five layers that form the first cube as well as the third concentric cube. LED strips will be attached at the edges of the acrylic sheets, lighting up the whole structure during night-time.

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Exploded Axonometric Diagram

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Exploded Diagram – Front View

Each cube consists of five sides, instead of six, as the bottom side has been removed and replaced by a base that holds the whole structure. The sixteen vertical layers of the structure are being inserted to the pockets that have been created at the base of the structure. The remaining four horizontal layers are attached to the horizontal elements.

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The Base

The Experience

While observing a mandala, a kind of spiritual essence surrounds the one observing it, which as a result allows him a higher level of awareness and consciousness. Consequently, the creative mind of the individual is allowed to escape reality and run free. The mission of the “Cubic Mandala” is to encourage people to focus on it, absorb the beautiful designs and allow their minds to wander. People are tempted to let the “Cubic Mandala” absorb all their attention, by moving into the mandala and gazing into its patterns.

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A feeling of lightness is what people are going to experience, while falling into the mandala. Intuitive thoughts might arise. People are encouraged to relax, embrace one another and let the feelings come to them. According to the tradition, the making process of the mandalas involved four monks – one at each quadrant – working simultaneously until the mandala was complete. Having said that, the original process of making highly encouraged interactivity. Therefore, the purpose of the “Cubic Mandala” is to bring people together and, through the ritual of mandala meditation, to raise their spiritualism, to promote self-expression and finally, to liberate them from the everyday life.

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Interior View

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Interior View

Harmonesthesia’s form embodies the serendipity of chancing upon a beautifully spiraled shell in the sand and realising that when placed next to the ear, that momentary experience can be conjured up in an instant, through the soft sound of waves, hundreds of miles away from its conception.

Harmonesthesia is a play on synesthesia, a crossing of the senses, that interchanges both visual and aural harmonies. The ritual production of art and music is defined by juxtaposition and harmony; Harmonesthesia will turn light into sound and sound into light.

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A 5m shell will project from the ground with a low opening at its base, inviting participants to climb up into its interior. The internal structure will consist of tensioned plywood ribs that will also provide safe steps to climb up to the pinnacle, where interactions will be intimate. The exterior will be wrapped in 9mm plywood strips, curved around and nailed to the ribs. Their organic curvature will juxtapose the angular appearance of the ribs and steps partially concealed beneath. Wrapped between each strip of plywood will be LED strips. The interactive animation of these LEDs, along with loudspeakers placed inside the spine of the structure, will be controlled by a polar array of light sensors and microphones around the shell.

The spiral is a phenomena that occurs in much of the natural world from galaxy arms to snails, even the cochlea (from the Greek word for snail) or inner ear. It is a spiral-shaped cavity, in humans making 2.5 turns around its axis. Sound vibrations are converted into the sound we interpret by thousands of hairs within the cochlea; the spiral cavity allows each of these hairs to pick up slightly different frequencies which collectively can be interpreted as sound. Harmonesthesia’s form is inspired by this spiral, whose shape allows the conversion of sound into electrical impulse.

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Once thought to be extremely rare, synaesthesia is now believed to affect between 1 and 4% of the population. The Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman reported seeing equations in colour. The artist Wassily Kandinsky tried to recreate the visual equivalent of a symphony in each of his paintings. And Vladimir Nabokov wrote;

“One hears a sound but recollects a hue, invisible the hands that touch your heartstrings.  / Not music the reverberations within; they are of light. / Sounds that are coloured, and enigmatic sonnet addressed to you.”

Human cultures around the world have all to some extent cultivated their own sense of music; processional movement and dance are closely associated with these musical vernaculars, their combination a sort of synesthesia whereby one evokes the other by association. In this way Harmonesthesia will become the focus of a ritual procession and generator of harmonious music.

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Please participate by downloading and exploring Harmonesthesia in digital form via this link. Unzip the folder and open the file and you will be able to control an avatar in the virtual playa; ‘WASD’ keys to move; ‘C’ to crouch; ‘M’ to hear the music; and ‘L’ to turn on lights. Enjoy!