IN-HOUSE PRODUCTION OF FIBRE COMPOSITES
After many years of working on pre-fabricated strings, the in-house production of fibre-reinforced elements facilitates a much wider spectrum of building components and the examination of fundamental principles of the major materiality used for the investigation of bending-active structures. Proceeding from observing the intraaction within glass fibre composites, the structural as well as the material range is being widened to study composite material behaviours of rovings, fabrics, glass, carbon and natural fibres, biodegradable resin and thermoplastic.
SHAPES OF COLLABORATION
Transformable bending-active structures as well as the making of paper are following recursive processes of self-organization. Within an artist collaboration with Iranian fine artist Asareh Akasheh, initiated at Cité internationale des arts in Paris, the intertwining of these different fibrous materialities is executed to create a new body of work and expand each other’s artistic understanding. Emergent characteristics are unique while each domain is incorporating the other’s particularities to widen its own scope.
HERZ UND KREISLAUF
While pumping liquid through a sequence of rooms, this installation is referring to the “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad and was set up in a group exhibition at Villa Schapira in Vienna, Austria. It is addressing the untenability of clear-cut categorization. Based on a quaternary topology of an encaged tetrahedron, the structural concept is dealing with the de- and re-synchronization between the pre-defined clocking of an impulse generator and the self-organized and material-based character of a heart.
In a cooperation with MPÖ, experimentation on expired medical products is executed to redefine the functional orientation of medical products as tools of research. The wide range of components of medical systems and the functional fidelity of this equipment points out huge potential for this intersectoral exchange. While also referring to the irreplaceability of plastic in the medical sector, these products, reframed as objects of exploration, can maintain their importance by different means.
As society happened to distinguish between weekdays and weekends, Fridays have been selected not only to connect these two domains of common time management but to also bring together different people to share their approaches, find intersections and collectively develop new ideas. Whenever there is a reason to meet – it could happen on Friday. Whenever it is Friday – there is a reason to meet. Starting as regular gatherings in physical space, with the beginning of the first lockdown in this pandemic, Collective Fridays started to also be organized virtually. This, providing the possibility of easily reaching people outside one’s own region and strengthening those remote social connections, led to the particular aspect that Collective Fridays became a main hub to further entangle domains of the physical and the virtual. After laying the basis in Austria, Collective Fridays have now also been established at Cité internationale des arts as occasions to meet new people and potentially initiate new artist collaborations.
In collaboration with a growing number of partnering organizations, an initiative was started to foster the rise of collaborative efforts within our society. Following the deleuzian principle of (n – 1), a multiplicity of projects and initiatives, a growing fabric of societal strategies dealing with the merging of approaches, backgrounds, persons, ideas and other entities is being developed and implemented to continuously pick up such fragments of our contemporary understanding.
The cross-disciplinary perspective on catalysing effects of adaptive systems emerged from an interdisciplinary engagement connecting basic mechanisms of proteins in cellular organisms and fundamentals of adaptive architecture. Potentialities of reticular motion capacitate conformational dynamics and changing arrangements of components to generate a certain relevance and applicability for domains outside of their own constellation. Views on the evolution of novel enzyme functions point out the small changes within the stability landscape can lead to the emergence of completely new pathways and indicate a body of thought beyond the contradiction of immanence and transcendence. While providing an understanding across societal, technological and biological manifestations, this strategic tool provides methodological guidelines for a multiplicity of fields.
Through an ongoing interdisciplinary dialogue with various researchers and profound insights in the field of (bio)chemistry, perspectives on how to deal with the characteristics of transformable bending-active structures have changed radically. Grounded in the austrian academic landscape’s strong emphasis on structural biology, and aware of the early stage of exploration of bending-active transformability in architecture and engineering, a steady transfer of tools and perspectives between these fields regarding the movement within stability landscapes has been established. Thereby, not only the comparability regarding energetic relations between different parts of reticular arrangements and their entangled movement is being addressed, but also the overcoming of certain difficulties regarding discipline-specific terminologies.
For the main focus on stability landscapes within this artistic process, the vast range of these ‘lasoidic’ deployable structures represents the very basis. Moreover, they provided the experience that, regarding new materialities, open exploration on a topological basis can easily exceed prevailing geometric certainties and lead to structural findings that can hardly be captured by traditional means. These insights in mind, carrying forward this exploratory practice while widely disregarding pre-defined categories became a major aspect within this process as well as life as a whole. Regarding the interrelation of structural characteristics to human societies, such very personal aspects can be seen as a major driving force for artistic engagement. Now, within this current situation of social change, this connectivity is to be applied on a genuinely societal level.
Within the range of sculpturally examined stability landscapes, one special focus is being put on numerically definable sets of topographical areas. While binary transformations or pairs of states allow reciprocal transformation paths, ternary fields of transformation enable a structure to rotate specific states, from one position to the second and back to the first. Pathways within higher dimensional quaternary landscapes allow the execution of spatial loops. Thereby, not the material itself is object of circulation but the structure’s condition.
After focusing on transformations and turning the head on statics for years, it had become clear that, regarding stability landscapes, static potential does not lie within the basins and local minima in which movements start or happen to come to an end. The actual capacity for static arrangements is to be found on the exact counterpart of these topographical formations, at those tipping points on which structural dynamics take over by themselves – points of delicate balance.
Due to their applicability as bifurcation points, also a large set of uniformal basic components can bear the capacity of originating an innumerable variety of different shapes. This mechanism has been established as one of the main construction systems for the work on transformable structures and is still providing new approaches. From the lasting effects of early events, to the interrelation between predefined factors and experience, to helical folding, to the clustering of particularities and so on – a list of the repertory immanent to this structure could never be completed.
While triangulation is widely known for realizing stable arrangements of building structures, objects based on bending capacities of fibre-reinforced compounds can exceed this property and implement both stability and variability. Concomitant with their specific even or odd-numbered arrangements, structural reducibility may either reach the shape of a single triangle or a single tetrahedron.
Many layers of human understanding can not be verbalized and generally remain implicit to the human body. As part of a research cooperative at Vienna University of Applied Arts, various strategies are developed to access these tacit layers of knowledge. Thereby, at the nexus of design and performance art as well as embedded in the international academic research community, the focus lies on the entanglement and inter-operability within transdisciplinary contexts.
Working on the relation of human bodily movements and intrinsic characteristics of kinetic objects, collaborations with several partners in the field of new circus and object manipulation have been established. This perspective on emergent adaptive systems questions not only boundaries of the human body but points out that also human behaviours are not to be seen as separated from (technological) environments.
Connecting the act of dreaming with contemporary habits of self-observation, two multimedia performances under the artistic direction of Conny Zenk were realized in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland, and Vienna, Austria, to create an immersive experience of the recursive and far reaching overlap emerging from current behaviours and snippets of one’s own memory.
LINES x LINES = DOTS
As moving linear projections meet transformable linear projection areas, new characteristics are exposing the fundamentals of information transfer. This ongoing artist collaboration with media artist Conny Zenk is revealing the open exploratory potential of merging new materials and new media technology.
Embedding insights from prior cross-sectoral investigations into a framework of contemporary discourse closely linked to the research group around Vera Bühlmann at the department for Architectural Theory and Philosophy of Technics at Vienna University of Technology marks a transition within this artistic and methodological studies. The dealing with theoretical disputes ranging from ancient Greeks until present developments and concepts in society, economics, technology and mathematics, provided an adequate basis for further bridging and enriching this body of thought with a multiplicity of additional fields.
STATES ON CANVAS
Derived from the implementation of measures of coating strings of GFRP to shield them from uv-radiation, a long series of works is dealing with the transfer of certain states of transformable sculptures onto canvas. While adaptive sculptures are initially conceptualized in a spatial arrangement, their temporal planarity always goes along with widely unintended shaping. On the contrary, focused on the planarity of the canvas, the distribution of paint does not take into account the actual spatiality of the sculptural stencil. Thus, unpredicted appearances are implemented on both manifestations and information is being translated between the domains of sculpture and painting, establishing a dialogue beyond their traditional limitations.
As an early concept of entangling structural dynamics and societal perspectives, this project is still waiting for being realized in full-size. While traditional seesaws force people that are sitting opposite each other to also move against each other, this solution, on the contrary, provides the possibility of moving together with the person on the opposite side.
COLLABORATION : DOTANK
Within this artistic practice, the collaboration with DoTank, Montpellier, is related to a variety of dimensions on the nexus of art, design and innovation. Merging physical and digital strategies on a trans-sectoral basis while referring to a shared contemporary understanding, among other initiatives, DoTank’s implementation of elaborate blockchain technology is expected to bear the capacity of playing a major role in the future societal fabric.
After studying the diverging and converging of lines of development in cultural history, biology, as well as individual experimentation, this phenomenon could now also be directly observed on a cooperational level. As the first example of closely studying the capacities of cooperational interactions on a professional level, this 150 m² installation at Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, in cooperation with Soma architecture, gave insights into the potentials as well as the difficulties of cooperational practice.
Derived from connecting and and widening prior studies, this search for a generalized understanding which connects certain phenomena occurring in cultural, individual as well as biological contexts, led to a far-reaching strategic implementation of findings and the formulation of an experimental design method which is not objective-driven but based on cross-sectoral investigations. By driving this generator of theoretical examinations and practical implementation, while engaging with the work of Frei Otto, insights from system theory, evolutionary epistemology, generalized theories of evolution as well as contemporary approaches to economics, innovation research and various methods for organizing knowledge, a vast branching series of transformable bending-active objects was developed, which constitutes the basis for the current extensive spectrum of works on fibre-reinforced strings.
MULTISTABLE STEEL/binary sequence
Rollable steel strips of various types have been established as a second material system to allow multistable arrangements and participatory installations of immersive stability landscapes. Various similarities to certain bending-active systems allow profound comparability of nano- and macroscale. Very small differences – side effects in the fabrication process – are constituting significant divergences in the arrangement as an adaptive system. In contrast and also referring to the constitution of societal architectures, by participating in an architecture’s materialization – like in this time of change – also oneself can be such a constitutive factor.
NEUER PLATZ FÜR KULTUR // NOVI TRG ZA KULTURO
Merging contemporary dance with intrinsic characteristics of bending-active sculpture, this performance by Leonie Humitsch took place in the city of Klagenfurt, Austria. The collaboration between the associations of Lendhauer and Freitanz was accompanying a gathering of IGKIKK, an umbrella organization of more than 60 cultural initiatives in the bilingual province of Carinthia.
SUBDIVISION OF BENDING-ACTIVE STRUCTURES
While in general, the scalability of building structures is limited due to the increasing significance of their mass, adjustments of their inner structure can encounter these limitations by spatially distributing the applied material while widening the effective cross-section of such subdivided components. Such an inner differentiation also provides an additional space for variability and the potential for implementing adaptive stability properties. Furthermore, starting with arrangements of non-uniform components, the experimental examination of structural solutions led to the development of highly standardized mesh structures indicating potentials for automated methods of fabrication.
Within the long in-depth exploration of transformable structures, the focus was only recently put on studying the continuous transmission of certain states which emerges from serial arrangements of pre-stressed bending-active elements. Self-assembling fin motion can be implemented in both, linear and circular versions. The applicability of their construction principles is expected to be enormous, reaching as far as wind generators and possibilities of autonomous locomotion. Within the context of the societal correspondence of bending-active structures, this capacity allows remote communication beyond the conduction of vibrations.
The topological approach of conceptualizing grids and the attempt to further increase structural complexities, led to the realization of various hypercubic arrangements of bending-active strings and proved the feasibility of physically building closed manifolds based on 4-dimensional polytopes. While the structural approach is not bound to traditional understandings of shapes, shaping is delegated to material-based self-assembly. Despite their perfectly symmetric structure, the actual form of these objects is highly confusing and not to be idealized within any specific state. They are evertable through every side, following one and the same direction within their spatial framework will directly lead back to the point of origin. Referring to hyperspheric circulation patterns and boundless arrangements of cubicles, vast structural and behavioural correlations with a wide range of fields led to frequently taking up these developments and applying them for various site-specific and constallation-oriented projects.
Synergie is referring to the interrelationship of the art scene and contemporary club culture. The topology of this sculptural work is based on the interweaving frameworks of two dual polycora (tesseract & hexadecachoron). It is referring to the current pandemic crisis, the challenges for these sectors and the potential of dealing with such difficulties by collaborative means. The intersections of these interweaving spatial structures are starting points for a network of curved surfaces exceeding the respective reference frame. They’re pointing out the possibility of creating emergent connections reaching outside of established perspectives.
Initiated at Cité internationale des arts, this artist collaboration with Delphine Bereski is merging different but correlative viewpoints on plastic as a medium of functionality. In contrast to the work within the fields of adaptive architecture and structural engineering, Delphine is using fiction as a tool for anthropologic investigation. Throughout this experimental dialog, a fictional story is setting the framework to which these adaptive systems are being implemented. Thereby, new developments are constantly widening the range of an imaginary space. Thus, this joint exploratory practise did not only launch a dynamic capable of opening new pathways of investigation for both approaches, but keeps entangling these studies into a new and highly synergetic body of work. By examining plasticity as a conceptual and methodological foundation, the collective is bundling correlative attempts to counterbalance taboos and simplified perspectives on such extraordinary potential but highly pervasive materialities.
Conceptualized within an artist collaboration with Helena Eribenne, this theatre performance was premiered in the setting of the participatory installation “Bündelung”. The project provides certainty about the compatibility of complexities in performing arts, theatre, sculpture and mathematics. As a convergence of very different artistic approaches, the play provides a possibility for exceeding linear perceptions of time while streaming along the hypercubic framework of the object.
The perception of a structure as either space or object is based on its relation to the observer. Referring to the ‘Traumnovelle’ by Arthur Schnitzler within the group exhibition Mind Heart Fuck, the staircase of a crumbling villa in the outskirts of Vienna was barred by a web of curved lines. By entangling themselves while moving from one floor to another, visitors were, step by step, dislocating this cocoon towards the basement – nightmare. There, starting as a flexible framework of space, the structure was contracted to a dense object – wakeup.
Exhibited in a sculpture garden in the Austrian alps, this site-specific installation allows visitors to walk in and experience the surroundings through a variety of frames, its dual structure is only being detected if viewed up very close. The method of braiding several elements of fibre-reinforced material showed itself to be a suitable way to achieve higher stability for sculptures of bigger scale.
ON THE MOVE
Since many years, as an early example of looking at seemingly very different fields from the same perspective, experiences from extensive experimental travels have intensively been incorporated into the methodological basis of structural exploratory practice. From cross-sectoral insights regarding the divergence of focal domains, to the usage of sculptures for temporary housing, to orientation on the basis of historical maps until the institutionalization of the act of traveling in the course of an art residency, this sector has more and more become an essential part of this comprehensive body of work.
Being far off a scenery while simultaneously presenting oneself on a single-person stage reveals the ambiguity of individual being. Realized in a collaboration with Experimonde, this participatory installation provides access to the state of social isolation. Now, during this pandemic crisis, this happened to be more obvious than one could have expected.
ASSEMBLING PRIVACIES : CORONAL MERGENCE
Realized during the first lockdown of this pandemic, after some weeks of not sculpting but only focusing on the fostering of collective initiatives, this sculptural work is blurring the difference of human societies and the being of their viral opponents, both anthropomorphizing the virus and identifying with the virus.
fin motion, cubic, communication,..
This participatory, site-specific installation at the “Lendhafen” of Klagenfurt, Austria, is incorporating the very specific importance of this place for the societal fabric of the city. A hypercubic framework had been informed by collected data from interviews about actual situations at the site and enclosed by a cubic arrangement of permeable side parts. Given the appearance of a clear geometrical shape, participants can experience the complexity and variability of the structure only when entering the object. In the course of performances by Markus Liszt and Helena Eribenne, the concept was split up into a spatial and a time-related dimension.
Based on structural developments of early stages within the exploratory process on multi-state bending-active structures, an organizational model has been developed, to map and re-arrange a set of conceptual entities to enable the task of haptically transforming organizational preconditions. In contrast to the rigidity of stable regimes, such a physical representation as an additional organizational layer, allows more flexibility by immersive engagement and ludic investigations of certain scenarios.
Developments happen in the perspective of creating catalysing entities by bridging sculptural and societal dynamics, the main focus lies on the catalysing effects of these interdependencies. Those societal enzymes appear in a multiplicity of manifestations that all correspond to each other. As manifold organizational entities, characters of participation include the performative multisensory engagement with sculptural phenotypes as well as discourse events in both physical and virtual spaces. Verbal as well as and non-verbal exchange is based on telecommunication as well as conducted by sculptural dynamics. Topological proceedings are as well guided by content-based correlations as driven by ludic activity.
During this speech, a space was created around the topic of how to strategically approach the current pandemic crisis by positive means to evoke the catalysing potentials of this time of change. It took place at a roundtable discussion organized by FICEP in the context of Semaine des cultures étrangères 2020, dealing with the position of the cultural sector within this pandemic era. To open up that discourse not only to further participants but also to new dimensions regarding its content, the organizational structure and all contributions of this event are being mapped onto a transformable and interactive hypercubic framework. While originating reticular circularities of high complexity and creating new empty spaces to be filled with information, new and variable intersections of distant areas and waypoints are generated, to not only constitute new cross-links but also evoke beginnings of new discourses.
By entangling collective human behaviour and the alteration of material properties in contingent mechanisms, this adaptive system is capable of processing behavioural information to reveal learning capacities on a non-digital basis. Devices to realize this concept of reactive experience are based on the intertwining of pneumatic as well as hydraulic circuits and transformable bending-active structures to execute feedback loops of accumulating impacts and handing back this bundled information to the participants through specifically modulated configurations. Within the hybrid system, various interfaces are connected to control units that autonomously regulate air draft according to changing arrangements of a multi-state array. In these grids of reversible bifurcation points, creeping of pre-stressed fibre composites is causing decisive reinforcement of directional tendencies. Every participant’s specific involvement is being imprinted to the subsequent behaviour of the device and the way the system performs is converging towards a bundled agglomeration of all previous manipulations.
A PLANET FOR ITS OWN
Following the concept of building and launching a self-sustaining lifelike environment traveling through the solar system, all particular structural developments are being projected into the geological framework of this overarching project. Technological as well as biological components maintain metabolism and circulation systems. as well induce planetary mitosis. The structure’s ability to grow and evolve is accompanied by its need to split, to differentiate, travel separately and reconnect.
This intra-specific communication between two very different potentials of self-organization originates specific characteristics, a certain character, to raise the value given to the omnipresent and pervasive materiality of plastics. “Ivory” is emerging from dynamically synthesizing two major domains within it’s vast spectrum – thermoplastic and fibre-reinforced duroplastic. Alongside the project’s origins of aestheticizing its natural yellowing, this anthropomorphization is aiming at counteracting the current taboo regarding creative engagements with plastics – which is only increasing our problematic use.
It’s a huge deployable plastic seahorse installed in an old horse stable. The concealed appearance of such ‘trojan’ actions refers to understanding the increasing potential of these efforts. Moreover, a closer look reveals that the approach of not fighting but incorporating huge changes into one’s own practice is not only limited to environmental but also to societal issues.
The realization of an experimental short film based on a series of transformable sculptures was dedicated to reveal the catalysing capacities of film as a medium and instrument of artistic research. By visualizing movements within stability landscapes of bending-active structures in a reference to the active potential of enzymes, it successfully tested the cross-sectoral applicability of enzymatic perspectives. A concomitant artist collaboration with Stephanie Krawinkler dealt with the potential of bending-active intertwinings with the elastic characteristics of soap film.
Video | Report (German)
COLLABORATION : SEELAB
Following a pre-defined spatial concept while society’s dynamics are only emerging, is a rather unconventional concept of ‘producing’ a city. Observing and accompanying these developments from artistic perspectives is remarkable as well. Accompanying the changes of the city development area of Aspern Seestadt, Seelab, a laboratory for media art, is bringing together numerous contemporary artists and urban planners.
LOST & FOUND IN SEATOWN
A collective of seven artists, each of them assigned to one supposedly lost person, met in the framework of a multimedia performance to find them. A big deployable sculpture served as a medium to get in touch. Thereby, the interaction of several performers with this object, individually and as a collective, gave important insights into the capacities of other people working with those structures. While, over time, own movements happen to be very clinical, more inexperienced actors don’t only provide a much higher chance of detecting new paths in structural dynamics, but bear the potential of also revealing fundamentals of learning as a process itself.
While our far-reaching socialization enables very few people to maintain or regain access to open and ludic forms of collective exploration, children are not yet bound to these restrictions and can be supported by being allowed act freely to intuitively learn from such an experience. These participatory installations at Seestadt Straßenfest in Vienna were giving the possibility to interact with transformable structures and enter their immersive stability landscape collectively. Each participant is constantly, willingly or unwillingly, changing the surroundings of all others. Diverging narratives are first colliding and then merging.