Building Bridges and Making Connections

Still vs Moving | Organic vs Manmade | Time and Space

This semester has me gravitating towards ‘less waste’ and using recycled materials where possible. Sitting in a friends kitchen, listening while he complained about a recent project of his as a structural engineer / project manager. In particular he was discussing the construction waste due to designers trying to ‘re-invent the wheel’; resulting in mounds of excess materials ending up in the skip bin (not to mention building budgets being blown sky high and taxpayers money being flushed own the proverbial toilet), internal questions were raised around universities, makers and even the general public being more mindful of their own project materials and resources.

A good example of taking the initiative to be resourceful in making is Christchurch based workshop Rekindle

Can we collaborate with construction sites and project managers to source these perfectly intact byproducts of eccentric design? Thereby reducing rubbish while lessening the financial burden of sourcing new materials – sometimes for temporary installations that will add more waste to our environment. There are available resources if we as artists take the time to establish connections within our community, build relationships and perhaps offering trade of goods or services for these materials. In my case, I needed a pile of materials for this semesters project and instead of buying new 2×4 timber from the hardware store – I cooked dinner for my project manager friend.

Public Domain

‘The Bridge’ is a project that encompasses both the practicality of NOT re-inventing the wheel by using da Vinci’s self-supporting bridge, while I continue to critically think about Bridges as a concept during the making period. What makes a bridge? Does is need to be a physical construction that is climbed or conquered? What do bridges in our learned language represent? Architecture, new life, adventures, still, supporting, permanent but allowing for expansion and exploring. Inventive.

Bridge research – architectural, tensegrity and sculptural inspiration:

Bridge Construction:

Testing structural integrity of the bridge. It’s not an easy bridge to climb without additional support and perhaps thats a good thing. Quite fitting for the challenges we face in uncertain times.

What about building bridges within our communities? During lockdown 2.0 conversations around mental health were highlighted: people feeling isolated, depressed, bored. How can art establish connections and ‘bridge the social distancing gap’? Perhaps through collaborative works and reaching out to the wider community. Establishing trade as a form of payment: goods for other goods, services or koha. Dissecting trading as method in making.

Resources can be re-used or re-invented if time is taken to have these discussions, encourage communities to work together, donate, trade and actually speak to each other! A social construct that already dying from anti-social behaviours long before Coronavirus made us even socially distant).

I would like to learn more about what other artists and makers do to stay connected and see how I can incorporate these ideas into my own on-going practice. Unfortunately our future is not still or certain and there are no guarantees that I can continue my studio based practice to finish building a physical bridge. Each lockdown not only confining me physically but challenging my time, space and emotional capability to keep the creative momentum going. Adaptation becomes key to invent or re-invent the idea of Building Bridges.

Welding, 3D Printing and CAD Design (SolidWorks)

Prepping/cleaning metal for welding
Welding workshop

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