The black stair cancer burst forth in a spew of yellow innards…
Our project is about creating an environment and invoking feelings, be it attraction or repulsion and to be a celebration of our often-shunned materials. We wanted to invite touch smell and sense and to almost give it a life of it’s own. In recognition of light and movement in the space, we wanted to delineate the already fractured space further into various parts, where each contact and vantage point would create a different sensation and alteration to the structure.
“Nothing you can make that can’t be made” once sang John Lennon. Well I guess we would make a complex “structure or feeling” with the used rubber and rope feeling a part of the world and feeling apart from it at the same time.
TESTING TESTING 1-2- 3 (in a dark room)
Rubber nets with lights projected through
Rubber nets and rope nets with lights projected through
Light on fused plastic
Projection on fused plastic
Layers of nets providing a magnifying effect against the wall
Layers of blue propylene lights, through rubber nets onto a fused plastic screen
With ideas of a room with lights cast through net projecting onto walls of fused plastic sheets we moved forward to our RMIT site – beneath the level 11-level 12 staircase.
Limitations: In surveying the site, we realised that the shadow under the stairs wasn’t dark enough to provide the environment we needed. Thus we proceeded to create a dark habitat using black rubber and yellow polypropylene rope, in hopes of creating a playground for light and projection.
We snipped and we cut, and we split them (the tyres tubes) open, the ugly belly of the thing emerged, powdery dust flies and sweeps across the room, sparing nothing and no one in it’s path – our clothes, our hair, our skin. Scrub we must, scrub we must! Soap and hot water, soap and hot water. The fumes are unforgiving. Smokey, toxic intense waves of smell slowly rise and consume us and catch in our throat. Our strokes are hard and heavy, now we will spare you not rubber. Let’s see who’s in charge! Hanging and drying, oh beautiful shiny black, how smooth you look in the light…. Oh joy! Dryness, but you’ve turned back to a powdery texture again. Oh well, you are what you are….
And then it was about stitching it all together:
The repetitive nature of the sewing as it travelled up the thick flexible, almost velvety black surface. Looking forward to a thin piece that would give slight relief to the soreness and eventual roughness of our finger tips, we followed the harrowed yellow threads on its journey of discovery, journey of purpose – to hold together, to provide structure, to create change.
We sew as much as we can and start attaching the rubber cells to the our site – underneath the staircase mezzanine between level 11 and level 12, the cells turn out to be heavier that expected and rubber strips are used to provide structure and strength. It takes all our might to sew the pieces on. Everything we can use for support – tables, chairs, bulldog clips, our bodies are used, stretched and contorted to get things done. As we attach, we keep sewing, adding pieces, to create our dark secret space. We look forward to finishing so we can get totally inside and go crazy with yellow rope and create our own secret world – our own Wonderland, our own Imaginarium, our own platform 9 and 3/4…
Inside you we talk and talk and talk and laugh and sew and we hear secrets above.
It was a quiet place, it was a private space, no one comes in uninvited…
Limitation: We notice that no one moves to inhabit it as we do. But from the outside…
What are you? What do you do? Why do you just hang there? Can we get in? Why can’t we see in? We touch you and you sway in pleasure. We beat you but you don’t beat back. We smell you and you repel us, make us giddy. A living breathing, growing, grotesque organism
No legend has been addressed,
No story has yet been told,
In this place you do not see, or you think you do not see
You do not live, you do not die, you just want to be
The record spins on, we must find you another home
A morphing of design – each site provided qualities that we picked up and moved forward with and thus the design was emergent in that regard, but how can we design something whose emergence is dependent on the broader community? Does it need a purpose? Should it bring joy? Should it be a hindrance? Does it need to instruct? How can it signal? Should we work to adjust / destroy that which exists? Is it about changing context? Is context blinded for us because we had a vision?
We realised that the space underneath the staircase did not truly highlight our creation’s form and feel and texture so we analysed the elements that we appreciated about our cancerous rubber growth and the elements of the site – movement, obstruction (how can people engage with it and the site) and thought about harnessing the kinetic energy apparent – people bounding up and down the stairs, always in a rush, how can we harness the movement from their pounding feet?
We thought about a reduction of elements, paring back from the plastic screens, the light and the projection. We go back to basics – black RUBBER and yellow ROPE.
Rubber has had its life, to stitch can bring new life and then it evolved and this creature came forth.
“In biology, an organism is any contiguous living system (such as animal, plant, fungus, or micro-organism). In at least some form, all organisms are capable of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development, and maintenance of homoeostasis as a stable whole.”
In giving up a certain element of control we allowed this creature to bring itself forth.
We followed the lines of the tires and split the strings three by three and attached them like fronds to each stitch. We strung them where they reached and coiled their remains into eggs of string, tucked into nests within its belly. The rushing crowds cause it to vibrate and the eggs spill forth, and in generating growth, this creature performs in its subtle quivering and spilling within the well of the stair.
Generative design is a not just the result of a set of parameters but also of the conditions that surround and interact with it. It is a metabolic network, feeding off its surroundings. This has never been a static objects in time but rather a dynamic processes, always changing and always transforming, however subtle. It is always becoming and always decomposing.
It is invasive in its presence. They look up. Look down. It turns them around. They strum the strings, the eggs tumble and they jump back, guilty of destruction. The creature smiles and spreads its fronds, reaching further, encapsulating the stairwell. Mischievously becoming a hazard, this creature is asked to move on. This rubber organism, unwanted once more, where will it go? What will it become?
Adelle Lin and Phoebe Smith