The Fractal Hourglass

The Fractal Hourglass counts down to the singularity, the moment that artificial super-intelligence triggers an unprecedented shift in human civilisation. The concept of recursively self-improved AI is portrayed by a tower of iterated fractal trusses, in which time is measured by a cascade of light.

Triangular steel trusses array to form a 15-foot tall hourglass silhouette, where scaled repetitions within each truss form a lattice of increasing complexity and infinite bounds. The visual density of each truss intensifies at each fractal iteration, culminating in the filling of the lower hourglass bulb, representing the finite time remaining until the singularity. At night, a dynamic cascade of LEDs will flow on and off from the upper to the lower bulb, a spectacle alluding to sand pouring through an hourglass.

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The steel tubes forming the piece range from a diameter of 1.5″ in lengths from 1 to 3-feet, which are hammered flat and bolted to form the main structure, and 0.5″ diameter tubes welded inside to form the decorative fractal repetitions.

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On approach, the tense drama of time running out is visible through the concentration of material in the bottom of the hourglass, provoking an instinct to stall the process. Burners have a choice of how to experience the hourglass- whether that is to ascend the structure to experience the inversion of the hourglass as the bulb empties, where ascension serves as a sanctuary from the saturation of technology and AI in the lower bulb. Or they can recline on the ground and let their eyes weave through the layers of trusses and bathe in the saturation and complexity of technological advancement. Or simply to turn away and let what effectively has become a natural process to take its course. At night, the cascading light display forms an even more immersive encounter with the hourglass, as waves of light repeat the process of time as it funnels through and fills the lower bulb, swarming anyone who is inside.

 

The finite nature of fractals in the hourglass represents the capacity for infinite artificial intelligence- each increment provides an equally stable steel structure, whilst having the capacity to use less and less material, but only to a point. It is not possible for this fractal to reach infinity and be constructed at a human scale. This poses the question of, at which point on the way to infinity do humans get before their intelligence can be overtaken by AI- the moment of the singularity. Is it too late to invert the hourglass and, given the choice, would you want to?

The Fractal Hourglass allows for Burners to take a moment to relish on their existence as humans, with the capacity to orchestrate their own experience, something which AI’s currently don’t possess. Artificial intelligence is currently an opportunity to shape a future experience where humans can outsource themselves, freeing up valuable time and energy. The hourglass serves as a visual symbol that human existence is fleeting so long as AI is permeating our lives, and provides a timer for the impending singularity, a moment that will transform the world as we know it, a reminder that we still have the alluring capacity to define and create.

 

‘The first ultra-intelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.’

I J Good

 

 

Crit One

Some joyous proposals for both Burning Man and Buro Happold’s London office at yesterdays crit, the first of the year.

Our guest critics were Andrew Best, James Solly, Andrei Jipa, Harry Charringdon and Ben Stringer. Thank you all for your inspiring comments and tireless enthusiasm throughout the day.

Here are some images of the exciting work coming out of the studio this year, more to come 🙂

Frozen music pavilion by Toby Plunkett inspired by the soundwaves inside a cube
Frozen music pavilion by Toby Plunkett inspired by the soundwaves inside a cube
Diana
Diana Raican’s transforming cubes model

 

Diana Raican
Burning Man proposal by Diana Raican exploring fractal cubes

 

Garis Iu
Bent timber pavilion by Garis Iu
Naomi Danos Andrei Jipa
Guest critic and DS10 alumni Andrei Jipa with Naomi Danos’s hypar surfaces model

 

Inspired by Cairo tesselation, playful pavillion by Sarah Stell
Sarah Stell’s model capturing the translation of cubes into dodecahedrons
Lianne Clark’s animated keyframe light and shadow explorations
Jon Leung’s bismuth inspired pavilion
Aslan Adnan’s perturbated pavilion inspired by crystal growth patterns
The Tower of Power by Tobias Power
Rheotomic surface installation by Tobias Power
Charlotte Yates animated jitterbug model proposed for Buro Happold
lorna
Lorna Jackson’s spidron installations at different scales
joe
Joe Leach’s pavilion of timber tension
ttt
Tom Jelley’s anamorphosis experiments remapping geometry
Tom
Tom jelley’s magical anamorphic proposal

21st November 2014 Tutorials

We are approaching the first “crit” of the term and our students are already proposing joyful projects for the Burning Man festival and Buro Happold’s newly refurbished HQ on Newman Street. The talented photographer NK Guy (http://nkguy.com/ and http://burningcam.com/) gave an excellent evening lecture at our campus to inspire our students and for the release of the book “The Art of Burning Man” (Taschen) which will feature some of our studio’s work. Here are couple images of the student’s project and of our buzzing DS10 space (pictures by Toby Burgess):

Aslan Adnan's early proposals for Buro Happold and Burning Man
Aslan Adnan’s early proposals for Buro Happold and Burning Man
Aslan Adnan's Explosive Recursion
Aslan Adnan’s Explosive Recursion
Joe Leach's early proposal for Burning Man
Joe Leach’s early proposal for Burning Man
Tom Jelley's Mirror deformation of 3d geometry using the inversion principle.
Tom Jelley’s Mirror deformation of 3d geometry using the inversion principle.
Lorna Jackson's kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )
Lorna Jackson’s kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )
Garis Iu's Curved Folding Components
Garis Iu’s Curved Folding Components
Toby Plunket's 3D Cymatic
Toby Plunket’s 3D Cymatic
Lorna Jackson's kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )
Lorna Jackson’s kerfed Spirohedron. (spidron ™ )
DS10 WeWanttoLearn's  buzzing Studio Space
DS10 WeWanttoLearn’s buzzing Studio Space
Ieva Ciocyte's Tree Bundling Truss
Ieva Ciocyte’s Tree Bundling Truss
Naomi Danos Folded Hypar volumes
Naomi Danos Folded Hypar volumes
NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students
NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students
NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students
NK Guy, author of The Art of Burning Man giving a lecture to our students

21st November 2013 Tutorials

Another great tutorial day this Thursday. Here are two projects that are materializing into beautiful models. The first project is by Sarah Shuttleworth, it is a simple folded component which drives a curved surface that is used both as furniture and shelter, the other project by Henry Turner is a series of intersecting plywood waves which create a playful landscape on which people can lounge.

Polypropelene Modular Origami by Sarah Shuttleworth
Polypropelene Modular Origami by Sarah Shuttleworth
Intersecting plywood waves by Henry Turner
Intersecting plywood waves by Henry Turner

8th and 15th November 2013 Tutorials

Here are couple pictures taken during the two last tutorial sessions. Promising breakthroughs from several students. Time to create a believable proposal (including large model and drawings) for Burning Man or any other festival.

Shiren Pattel's helicoidal tower inspired by Manual Baez
Dhiren Pattel’s helicoidal tower inspired by Manual Baez
Ieva Ciocyte's Euclid Tower
Ieva Ciocyte’s Euclid Tower
Ieva Ciocyte's Euclid Tower
Ieva Ciocyte’s Euclid Tower
Jessica Beagleman's study of the Zome structure
Jessica Beagleman’s study of the Zome structure
Josh Haywood is applying the Hankin's method to the Muqarnas
Josh Haywood is applying the Hankin’s method to the Muqarnas
Paul Thorpe's Modular plywood Tower
Paul Thorpe’s Modular plywood Tower
Garis Lu's Motors accelerate with proximity sensors
Garis Lu’s Motors accelerate with proximity sensors

8th November 2012 Tutorial

Great Thursday tutorials at Westminster! Thank you to former DS10 students George HintzenJoe Magri and Chris Mount for their presentation on their trip to the Burning Man festival last summer. We have just started Brief02: Template. Students will start designing a temporary structure for the Burning Man festival or an Open-Source Construction Set.

Above: Jessica Beagelman’s beautiful laser-cut plywood experiments

Above: William Garforth-Bless scanned his ferofluid and will turn them into inhabitable fountains

Above: Sarah Shuttleworth’s beautiful swarm generated wood structures

Above: George Hintzen, Joe Magri and Chris Mount presenting their Burning Man experience