Acceleration Still

  • November 6, 2009

Acceleration Still - recombinant sculpture, original mix
still; Cocooned escapes, you, me;
X-1 Papillons”

Mixed media on aluminum; dimensions variable.

A 2D-3D-4D Painting>Sculpture>Installation 

A two-dimensional painting, hung three-dimensionally, to be reconfigured over time. The initial image is a lepidoptera wing containing a collage of hundreds of aircraft blueprints. The initial sculptural configuration is a form suggestive of a cocoon, an airplane cockpit, an aircraft engine.

The  27’x16′ flat painting (on 288 aluminium panels) are hung three-dimensionally  over, through, and around a metal infrastructure. (In this iteration, the sculpture is of 12′ h  x  5′  widest diameter.)

The 2D elements are the work functioning as a flat ‘painting’;  a butterfly wing (the beginning image of the work);  the aircraft blueprints; the initial 12′ x 6′ line-drawing (in metal) of a jet fighter/butterfly wing that becomes the sculpture’s infrastructure; the words found on the blueprint schematics; the thin aluminium panels on which the work is painted; the shadows thrown by the sculpture.

The 3D elements are the cocoon/fuselage/engine sculptural arrangement (and future sculpture/installation reconfigurations); the X-Y-Z axis arrangement (for structural support of the painting) of the component parts of the metal line-drawing.

The 4D elements are the painting/sculpture as it’s rearranged/deconstructed over time. Panels and sections can be regrouped, shifted, spun, etc; the work can be hung on the wall flat or bas-relief; it can be free-standing, hanging, flowing around corners; condensed, expanded, atomized (no pieces physically connected), intermixed with other works, etc. Additionally, all the painted surfaces — the iridescent blues, opalescent whites, and substrate silvers– change appearance according to the movement of the viewer, and the work looks significantly different  according to the light (direct, spotlit, ambient, barely lit) over time. And the cocoon>butterfly reference relates to transformation… as does the ascension from 2 to 3 to 4D upwards…


The painting/sculpture is ephemeral: it will never be in the exact same arrangement twice. (It is a physical object… that is not.) The inside of the sculpture becomes the outside becomes the inside (re: Escher; Mobius; a 3D shadow of a 4D object: Fourth dimension – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  ) The exterior 2D image and 3D shape are echoed by the interior 2D line-drawing but 3D arrangement of the metal infrastructure.

The black, flat, lines of the blueprints in the painting reinforce  the  butterfly-wing outlines and veining of the overall image, and the cockpit shape relates to the jet wing which relates to the butterfly wing which relates to the cocoon shape.

The ‘process’ is the work– you are to see how it is made (glimpses of the infrastructure; ‘backs’ of the panels) and can watch the reconstructions/remixes as a live performance.

Some other connections & ideas: The scales on a butterfly wing = the ‘scales’ (panels) of the painting = panels used in jet construction (including rivets/bolts). Panels = grains in a Buddhist sand-painting, shards in a mosaic, pieces in stained glass, brushtrokes in Cezanne, planes in cubism, pixels in a screen…

Linear flight of a jet vs. non-linear flight of butterfly = grid of panels vs. arced panel arrangements; machined linear lines of a jet vs. biomorphic curves of butterfly wing

Analog vs. digital: curves of the painted lines vs. bits/bytes curves of the arcing panels… handmade painted curves vs. reproduced blueprints

Creation / Destruction:  the sculpture is created, get uncreated… cocoon ‘creates’, jet fighter ‘destroys’… Hardness/softness: metal jet, metal panels, protection / paper cocoon, butterfly wing, protection. Technological/biological: machined, machine, metal, data (blueprints) / hand-made artwork, organic but architected cocoon. Yin and yang: ‘femaleness’ of  butterfly wings; ‘maleness’ of a jet…

Uniqueness: a cockpit/fuselage, manufactured to exacting specifications, would always have the same shape; a cocoon, though made by caterpillars for eons, always has a unique shape.

The reconfigurable painting/sculpture series (past and ongoing), as a whole

…function like a quantum wave but exist as a quantum particle (all possibilities collapse to the current iteration of the work.)
…are about potential–each piece contains all previous and future combinations
…Is like music; the ‘notes’ are the panels; the work ‘samples’ (uses collage); like a song, can be interpreted by someone else (uniquely arranged by the owner, etc.)
…is also about the unknown– the idea that the work will have completely unforeseeable versions in the future…
…touch upon the idea of the non-linear, in the sense the digital/random-access ability to take pieces (bits) of the work and shift them anywhere…
…invite participation…the audience/owner/curator is able to become involved in the works (mentally, as in “What if…”, and/or physically constructing or suggesting a configuration or installation…)
…can be intermixed, and so also explore the idea that everything is interconnected…
…thematically  explore opposing but complimentary ideas… (see below)
…Is always unfinished, as is each individual work
…works the grid, twerks the grid.


Yes, the title is a haiku. Hopefully many of you stopped reading there, as all the rest is redundant (obvious?)

And FYI  the sculpture reminds me of  “A Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” by Duchamp  Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Acheulian hand axes: –which are a) weapons b) tools and c) some of the oldest art objects created by man,     Acheulean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  ;  Frank Gehry’s work:  Frank Gehry – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ; and Zaha Hadid: zaha hadid dubai – Google Search and  even Peter Eisenman: Peter Eisenman – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

UPDATE: new views of Acceleration Still:
shattered version

turbined version

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