Monday, May 26, 2008

Wellington Street Art Competition 2

[image property of Richard Smith, of Jennifer Macklem + Kip Jones artists]

This past Wednesday Kip and Jennifer presented our art proposal to a jury of about a dozen multi-disciplinary critics at the Routhier Community Centre on Guigues Avenue. I played a low-profile role at the presentation, mainly to show supplementary views of our proposed sculptures. Both Kip and Jennifer did a great job presenting our ideas to the jury. Most of the questions were pragmatic in nature; none of those were directed at our conceptual position which is a long leap from my usual pedagogic critiques.
Will there be sharp edges? [no]
Can the etchings be aged? [yes]
Are those the actual plinths you envision? [in some cases, yes]
What material are they? [reinforced concrete plinth, aluminium + bronze sculpture]
What sort of longevity does it have? [1000 years]
Have you considered spotlighting? [for some, yes]
Have you done this before? [yes]
All these questions were expected by Jennifer and Kip and they answered each one with some persuasive flair (elaborations of the above yes/no answers). We walked out feeling good about the presentation. The results came back a couple days later however and we didn't win the project unfortunately.

TRACES:: We started with Jennifer's mock ups which involved translating them into FormZ on my computer:
Some of these mock-up schemes were abandoned because of major constructional issues. To form aluminum or bronze casts for sculptures as complex as these, there's a high chance of error in forming hard bends and curves. Even though the process of solid casting is over 5000 years old, a construction of this sort is by no means a quick process.

[image property of Richard Smith, of Jennifer Macklem + Kip Jones artists]

This initial development created numerous "sheddings" which formed a sort of junkyard of types which we were able to work with in FormZ:
[image property of Richard Smith, of Jennifer Macklem + Kip Jones artists]

With these pieces, we eventually evolved the project into a system of deforming a language of serial types which we had modeled out of our central idea of "weaving". Points, lines, and planes were shaped in an aesthetic way that eventually reached contextual sensitivity:

These surviving models were favoured for both their aesthetic quality, and their ability to be constructed. Different methods include water-jet cutting the aluminum, solid casting either aluminium or bronze alloy, or bending the solid planes of aluminum over a roller. All of the etchings would be done with a hand-held etching tool, and Jennifer had considered using public designs as a means of initial community involvement in the project.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wellington Street Art Competition

Since the end of studio, a job literally landed in my hands which I've been fully immersed in for the past couple weeks. I've been doing digital renderings of sculptures for an art competition with Jennifer Macklem + Kip Jones. The project coincides with a broader 20 year plan to redevelop Wellington street. The city of Ottawa plans to rezone certain parts of the street for new land development as well as fairly substantial improvements to public space and the streetscape and road improvements. That includes widened sidewalks, new landscaping, and artwork. Art pieces are to occupy a number of sites stretching from Bayswater to Western. The budget for the art commission is around $260,000.

After Thursday, which happens to be the jury decision date, I'll have some images posted of the work we did.

Jennifer Macklem and Kip Jones' website with past projects.
Wellington Street Reconstruction Project at the City of Ottawa website.
An article about the Arts Quad in Hintonberg.