Client: Brown University
Location: Providence, RI, United States
Completion date: 2016
Kuan Ju Wu
Fernando Diaz Smith
Waveform No.2 is part of an ongoing series exploring the dynamic relationship between nature and artificial spaces. This installation was installed at Brown University, and responded to the site's heavy and modern building design, by Diller Scofidio Renfro architects. The work featured twelve sheer voile fabric cubes, each suspended from the ceiling by monofilament. Each pulley was connected to an independent, counterweighted stepper drive that could move the fabric up or down. The work was guided through live data gathered from sensors placed outside the building. Wind and motion outdoors caused different patterns to emerge upon the sculpture.
Our goal was to create an experience that both contrasted and complimented the unique piece of architecture during the beautiful springtime in Providence, Rhode Island, using minimal, lightweight materials. We wanted to tie the experience to natural motion of light and air outdoors using sensors, and then activate the materials using pulleys and motors. Another goal was to offer a reflective and poetic space, where passersby could spend time, during the day or night.
This collaboration was initiated through shared interests of exploring kinetic sculpture, driven by natural phenomena. We approached the work as a collective, working under the name Natura Machina. The idea was independently proposed to the curators of the Granoff Center for Creative Arts, at Brown University about six months prior to install. We evolved the concept and design through a series of conversations with the gallery, and by conducting small prototypes with the activated fabric in our studio. We tested various configurations and control scenarios until we settled on a 4x3 grid of large fabric cubes that could drape onto the floor, keeping themselves steady while being drawn by a single strand. The artwork required several days to install, and ran continuously for several months.