Hacking the Urban Environment

Using traditional techniques with modern technologies to create my final piece.

Drawing inspiration from kintsugi (golden repair), I used silver pigments mixed with resin to re-join selected shattered pieces of the mask. The resin needed to be injected with an eyedropper so working quickly in sections while using multiple custom cut droppers proved most efficient. A few layers were built up in more challenging sections. The silver colour brought an element of industrial metal back into the otherwise very organic looking overall structure.

The next stage was figuring out a way to display the finished mask in a non traditional format while combining organic and urban elements. The mask is already deconstructed to a degree and drawing the focus into “the spaces between” instead of the piece as a whole fixed element. I looked at artists who drew inspiration from pattern play in nature and topographical design. Rolling mountains, jagged rocks, drips in still water to create rings and bringing 3D design into fixed wall sculptures to create continuous movement.

Supplementary Research – Artist Inspiration:

I used a combination of 3D design using Tinkercad (which I found to be most user friendly when time poor, but limited in design features), CNC routing and paint to design the display back for the mask. It helped to create digital mockups to see a rough idea of placement for each mask section.

I discussed both CNC and laser cutting options with the technical staff at AUT and decided on CNC. Even though laser cutting is more cost effective, the design would be built up of layers and I would lose the rounded inner sections of the design. Atheistically the CNC option would be closer to the initial design and less 2-dimensional. Instead of the traditional rounded water drop effect seen in nature, the geometrical sides of the “circles” added another layer of urban affect.

I liked the idea of creating a gloss white background over using concrete to create an urban texture contrast (concrete/cement being an unsustainable material source) – similar to Daniel Mirchev‘s work. The MDF was too porous and would have required a few layers of primer. Due to time constraints I skipped this step and as the paint was soaking in too rapidly, I changed my process midway to bring back a concrete effect to the wood with layers of paint being added and removed while still wet (an effect I initially experimented with earlier this semester and enjoyed the randomised “weathered” results).

Using digital processes of photography and video to change the scale of the piece: the viewer is immersed into a hostile landscape of mixed materials. Magnified shots turning the jagged pieces into caves and moss covered rocks. Adding smokey volcanoes that conveniently sit in the router circular housing.

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