Below are some digital experiments showing my first attempts to replicate the wax structures I created with hot wax in water. To achieve these I used maya fluids converted to meshes, then rendered. The difficulty is in understanding the fluid parameters which define it’s density, gravity, viscosity, friction, velocity, turbulence, dispersion and so on. Like with the physical experiments I have begun to add obstacles to see how the fluid reacts.
“Fractal Cult” is an installation consisting of two types of structures that aim to create an intriguing, mesmerising, explorative, playful and interactive experience for visitors of the 2013 Burning Man festival, an annual art event and temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.
The geometry of the installation is based on the work of Swedish mathematician Niels Fabian Helge von Koch and in particular his invention of the Koch Snowflake, one of the earliest fractal curves to be described. Specifically, the structures are an adaptation of Koch Snowflake’s principles into a three-dimensional environment that essentially starts with a regular tetrahedron and recursively generates new tetrahedrons on each of its faces resulting in a complex, yet simply and efficiently defined, end result.
The installation is consisted by 4 timber-made, fractal pods that symmetrically surround a space frame-like structure of a similar fractal nature and with climbing nets dressing the faces of the geometrical shape that is created.
The timber pods, during daylight, are the first structure that a visitor encounters and both initiate and welcome the exploration of its symmetric but complex structure. Visitors are also able to enter the pods and experience an even more intriguing spectacle of the formation of faces and joints that create a kaleidoscope-like effect. They can also be used as temporary shelters from wind and sun, or even a meditation space. During the night, these timber fractal pods are illuminated from their interior, creating magnificent patterns of lighting that will attract visitors and welcome them to explore the site.
The imposing, central structure, during daylight, attracts visitors with its fractal nature, yet simple construction, and invites visitors to climb and engage with it with in all sorts of ways. Climbing the exterior and attempting to reach the top or even getting inside the interior and enjoy the complexity that the multiple layers of nets create. Moreover, the structure can definitely be seen as becoming a much more live thing during the festival, with people using the nets to create temporary shelters from the sun by weaving cloth materials or similar, forming a patchwork effect on the structure’s faces. It is difficult to predict exactly the kind of behaviour that visitors will have towards such a structure but more likely than not its lightweight nature, great size and the multifunctional nature of nets will allow for several different scenarios which would be great to observe. During the night, the structure maintains the same use but it is symmetrically lit with stage lights pointing from the ground up that will give the structure an illuminating effect and hopefully attract visitors from far away.
Last but not least, the geometry of the structures is strongly spiritually connected to Mekabah, a divine light vehicle allegedly used by ascended masters to connect with and reach those in tune with the higher realms. “Mer” means Light. “Ka” means Spirit. “Ba” means Body. Mer-Ka-Ba means the spirit/body surrounded by counter-rotating fields of light, (wheels within wheels), spirals of energy as in DNA, which transports spirit/body from one dimension to another.
Overall, “Fractal Cult” aims to offer a great variety of fun and explorative options, as well as serving as a place able to transform to temporary shelter or meditation space for visitors, while at the same time impose beauty through its fractal and symmetric nature.
This project looked to understand and develop a construction set that could be open source such as the WikiHouse CNC construction set. Through the material research done, I have predominately focused on the use of wax in construction. Experiments have explored its use as a form-finder, form-work and as a composite material. To apply this system as a Wiki, I strived to develop potential products, along with build information, which could then be open source. However the nature of the research, the complexity of the processes, and the functionality of the final products led me to question whether the Wiki route would be feasible. As an alternative, I have begun to explore taking the system along a business route, whilst considering making parts open source for individuals.
Weighing up the options:
1. Open Source
If someone wants to make an item then they have the information available to do so. This could be particularly relevant for the environmental products which could act as cheap DIY alternatives for those that can afford to buy specialist systems.
2. Private copyrighted business
The nature of the WikiWax processes makes it difficult to replicate, they are also not items of necessity nor would they be built as a collective. These are just some of the reasons why the systems developed don’t naturally lend themselves to be open source. As beautiful items they could instead be made into unique designer products and sold.
3. Open Source but protected form big companies
This approach allows for both systems to operate. Individuals can make their own table for example or develop and modify the processes, allowing for innovation and growth. But also products can be patented and sold. Through this strategy architecture is open to 100% of the population rather than the 1% if limited to sale only.
For further information on my research and material experiments see my portfolio