Jan '07 - Jun '07
Our six week summer studio engaged the sport of bouldering. A form of rock-climbing, bouldering limits its terrain to a single boulder. The climber works without ropes and stays typically within a few feet of the ground. Individual hand and foot holds become the intense focus of the boulderer as they must read the surface, both visually and tactilely. The holds are so subtle that often a fraction of an inch provides the necessary leverage and friction. For this reason, the studio began with field research through lessons at a local gym as well as a weekend trip to boulder fields at Joshua Tree. Upon compiling a catalog of configurations and terminology each group mapped an individual boulder, focusing on a single path of holds. After modeling the surface in Maya, a second primitive was introduced. Rather than represent the climber, this primitive was more an abstract figure employed to demonstrate the forces required to traverse or ascend the surface.
The examination of topology through the physics of climbing allowed the studio to conduct an indexical study concerned with the describing of morphology through forces acted upon it. The professor, Jason Payne, often focuses his classes on the performance of forms and a Manuel Delanda view that forms are best described through a vectoral, relational model (as opposed to an undifferentiated Cartesian field). The output of the studio was 3d prints as well as line drawings that employed color and vector arrows as analytical tools.
My partner and I sliced our first primitive (the boulder) into a series of horizontal ribbons. This created a series of cantilevers intensifying forces where each ribbon met the second primitive. Hold conditions were then thought through the intersection of rotational forces as opposed to just representing gravity as a vertical force. Spending more time on micro conditions than the other groups, the various holds were translated into fluctuations of the ribbons.