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THE UNKNOWN LAND

In this piece I want to envision the unexplored, extraterrestrial body of land. This desire dwells on the dream about the universe influenced by the uncanny imagery of other planets and outer space accessible in media. I aim to fabricate this “land” by employing early science-like machinery and the energy of nature. This fabrication method will feature both man-directed approach and the element of contingency.

This series consists of three sculpture-machines designed to utilize natural elements and produce different types of relief-like surfaces. Each machine is operated manually with the aid of basic mechanics. Built with no contemporary hardware and only using old-fashion woodworking techniques, these machines include detachable parts made for easy assembly and transportation.

The first machine  holds different types of magnifying Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight onto a slab of wax. It functions similarly to a tripod: rotating, extending and changing the angle of the lens. It also has two protractible arms holding a movable frame for the lens to slide in. I use two types of magnifying Fresnel lenses, which are able to produce different melting effects on the wax surface. By changing the lens I will shift from sculpting major forms to sculpting fine details. When the process is complete, the slab of wax becomes similar to an unexplored planetary surface.

The second machine utilizes rainwater to shape plaster powder into a solid texturized form. This machine includes three levels. The top level consists of a series of hand-carved wooden funnels filled with gravel. The middle level contains a tray with an inch-thick layer of plaster powder. The bottom level has four scotch yoke mechanisms – one under each corner of the tray. As rainwater filters through the funnels, handles can be cranked to operate scotch yokes which will cause a vibration in the tray. It helps distribute the water evenly throughout the tray and mix it with the plaster. The texture of this surface will be created by water dripping from the height of two feet and the vibration of the plaster powder. There are also lids designed to open and close each individual funnel to be able to shape the surface by controlling the amount of water dripping on a particular area.

The third device using the wind power is not designed yet. It will be based on the same principle of combining the power of natural elements with basic mechanics and manual work.

After each sculpture-machine is complete, I start using it to produce relief-like surfaces. When I accumulate a series of sculpted surfaces, I will photograph them and make black and white high resolution digital images creating the illusion of scale and a look of extraterrestrial landscape. These images can be exhibited as digital prints or a projection in a gallery.

Suncarving device: technical drawings

techdr sun

techdr sun1

Rainwater device: technical drawings

techdr rain

techdr rain1