This project attempts to formalize an ‘informal’ chunk through an attention to different surface articulations. It expresses an interest in defining the various surfaces of an existing sculpture as well as a use of the processes and constraints of the seminar (switching between modeling and fabrication techniques) to produce compound definitions of surfaces.

The chunk comes from Francesco Somaini’s Verticali-Assulone, a sculpture produced in 1959 during the artist's informal period. Somaini wasn’t interested in the sculpture’s formal properties, but instead was interested in its relationship to space. He thought of the work as a mass existing in the present. It is something that replaces space, which existed in the past (the space that once existed where the sculpture now stands). Immediately when you take a chunk of this sculpture and place it in a digital modeling environment where mass and space don’t actually exist, the sculpture falls apart and you are left with a composition of undescribed surfaces. Through both polygonal mesh and nurbs iterations, we created digital models through individual surface articulations. The chunk has two distinct surface types: large, curved areas (singly curved channels cut through the mass) and rougher areas of intense texture and variation.

The final chunk serves as a diagram for the processes of the seminar and these superimposed definitions. They are individually defined through two different techniques and then reincorporated into the final chunk that has its own architectural qualities. The central portion is a high-fidelity reproduction of the sculpture using 3d milling, based off of a quadrangulated polygonal mesh. Each side of the central chunk is pulled off of the milling and reinterpreted with a sheet material fabrication technique that further defines the surface. Triangulated facets provide a quantitative measurement of levels of detail on a surface through the density of faces, and curves provide strict seams that differentiate the two distinct sheet material geometries as well as a measurable quality as a ruled surface. The model presents a linear comparison between these geometries.

The chunk itself originates at the mass at its center, giving it orientation in relationship to the original sculpture. The two surfaces are doubled and pulled apart. Egg crate support structures are adopted to form the curvature of the curved sheet material. The facets, through folding, become self-structural but still maintain their linear relationship to the central object. Through isolation, repetition, and reinterpretation, the model provides context and definition for the surfaces.

Spring 2017

Partner: Christina Moushoul

Instructor: Julia Koerner