BØN541 v3.0

BØN541 v3.0 is the third in my BØN541 series, exploring the form of bonsai trees, using recycled & salvaged materials.

This work was created to be a setpiece for the 2018 staging of Rent, the musical, by Matt Ward Entertainment, at QPAC Brisbane. It is the largest work I’ve produced so far, and is constructed primarily from corrugated plastic water pipe, which is suspended using the truss and chain from my 2012 work Reconfigure.

The work features three major parts:

The play’s designer provided a bunch of old car hubcaps as a material she wanted featured, as well as decorations for the branches, in the form of aluminium cans cut into flower-like shapes, which the cast and crew produced. The designer also provided icicle (fairy) lights, to match the look of the hanging points of light I had included in my VR-based design.

Aside from that, the actual form of the work, the construction solutions and the materials from which it was made, were my responsibility.


Background of the Project:

I was approached by the designer of the play, who had seen my earlier work BØN541 v2.0 and wanted something similar for the Xmas tree that is created by a character in the play. The designer had a goal of involving “real” fine artists on the project, on account of the play being, in aspects, celebration of the 1980s New York art scene.

My initial idea was to build a welded steel armature of triangular cells, almost like 1980s-era computer graphics, into which various junk could be threaded. This was my first option, since welded steel is the only way to get the necessary combination of spannable distance, thinness and (relatively) light weight. Unfortunately, the production lacked the budget to spin up this process.

Bamboo Version

The next idea I proposed, was to use dozens of long stalks of bamboo, in place of a traditional tree trunk. I also developed the base in response to feedback that the specific shape of the base of BØN541 v2.0 was a highly desired part of the project. This would be both cheap, and solve the engineering problem, since bamboo is self-supporting.

However, the response was that it wasn’t “metal” enough, and that the design was being kept very literal to the script, the tree being specifically referred to as made of metal.

From these constraints, came my eventual solution – to use the hanging infrastructure I had already created for 2012’s Reconfigure, to create a vertically-suspended version of 2014’s BØN541 v2.0.

Coincidentally, at this time, I was working on a Virtual Reality project at the Cooroy Library makerspace, and so I was able to use this new VR toolset to actually design the work at life-size:

The choice of materials was dictated by budget – we couldn’t afford the stainless steel braided pipe used for the other BØN541 series works, but I realised there was something I had worked with previously – agricultural water pipe, which I had used when creating my 2011 sculpture This?

Sprayed silver, it would have a metallic appearance (in a Dr. Who sort of way), and the corrugations provide a way to secure the hanging points so that they can’t slip along its length.

So, with a decision on materials, and a clear vision on the form of the work, I was ready to begin production.


Construction:

Building the base.

Strengthening the truss.

truss
Upgraded, strengthened and complete.

Creating the trunk.

Packing everything away for bumpin.


I did this project for free, and loaned some rather expensive equipment to the production, because I wanted to see it succeed.

I wish the show well, and hope that my contribution is acknowledged.

Special thanks to the QPAC people I worked with – a brilliant, professional rigging team who got my work hoisted and in place at the Cremorne Theatre.


2018 – Week 45

A busy, and exhausting one this week building the gates for the Drone Racing programme. Lots of construction in PVC pipe, and running around getting parts.

I also had my wall sculpture C45C4D3 bump in to the local library makerspace, though that may not end up working out, as they’re cladding the room in dark blue sound deadening tiles, and the edge of it is going to come right down against the work.

I ordered a new pano head during the week, it’ll be interesting to see if I can get any improvement in results with a more sable set of geometric stops.

Finally, over the weekend was another Immerse conference, where I attended a VR filmmaking workshop. It was an interesting experience, a bit too rushed to come out of it capable of really doing all that much, but it pointed a lot of directions to think in. I might also have a potential way to monetise some of my Pano photography, by creating panoramic background environments.


2018 – Week 44

Lots of organising materials and budgets this week, preparing to build the race gates and obstacles for Drone Racing in a couple of weeks. I managed to find some workspace at the still-in-construction Noosa Library, and had another meeting with the guy who’ll be moving my C45C4D3 sculpture in to the makerspace, where it’ll go on permanent display.

Saturday was another drone racing workshop day, although I was only there as an observer. However, I did managed to meet a guy who is head of department at a local school, a school that has welding bays. I’m going to pursue that contact to see if I can get some sort of Visiting Artist thing happening, in order to get access to their facilities.


2018 – Week 43

Well this week was a bit all over the place. I followed up on that building with the developer. I had to check some aspects of it with the planning dept. of the local council, and found their interpretation of the plans didn’t quite match the developer’s. When I asked said developer if there was someone at planning he’d been working with, assuming that perhaps the person I’d spoken to didn’t understand some subtlety of the project, the developer then threw a hissyfit, and said he’d refuse to sell a unit to me.

So that’s that option eliminated.

Saturday, I was at another School’s Drone Racing Programme session.


2018 – Week 42

42, the most significant of numbers. A relatively quiet one – I had a VR demonstration on Wednesday, and then the first class in Drone design for the Drone Racing series.

I’ve also found an interesting building that might suit my purposes as a studio space, and place to park my share of my father’s estate. I might be able to afford it, with a small mortgage, that would be no larger than what I’m paying currently for storage.


2018 – Week 41

Another fairly quiet week, admin stuff, experimenting with Lego. The biggest event was a part of my Artist In Residence role – a meeting with people involved in this schools drone racing programme, for which I’m building the race gates.

I also spent a bunch of time trying to reconfigure my video setup with a Mac Mini and Bluray player to go to the one TV – a TV which doesn’t accept audio input from analog sources while HDMI video is active, so I had to find a device which adds audio to an HDMI stream, then plug that into an HDMI switchbox, so that everything could connect over the one cable to the TV.


2018 – Week 40

Well the Australia Council grant went in on Tuesday. The rest of the week is a bit of a blur in post grant-writing comedown.

Did some tidying, and sorted more Lego, for a photography project.


2018 – Week 39

A week of paperwork, applying for an Australia Council grant, to fund some serious structural welding, as well as rigging training, so that I never have to find myself in another situation like I was with Rent, where we didn’t have a rigger.

Also, the welding training should cover TIG welding, so I can hopefully get the training I tried to get through TAFE, but couldn’t, because my local campus are shoddy and unprofessional.


2018 – Week 38

This week I finished a little room upgrade, that’ll make my ability to shoot object photography a little more capable.

A 3m curtain rail, that I can use to hang a backdrop on, which when combined with the rolling workbenches I built, means I can set up an object photography / cyclorama system over my bed.

Other things this week, we had the prize-giving for the Immerse High VR filmmaking competition. The results were a great mark for representation, with both First and second places going to female students.

First Prize:

…by a young woman in Year 11.

Second Prize:

…by a girl in Year 7. Astounding camera work in this piece.


2018 – Week 37

…in a row?

Continuing to clear out and reorganise my storage space – getting to see and reconnect with all the stuff I’ve hoarded away, most of it for potential sculpture projects, it’s inspiring. Makes it all the worse that I have no studio space.

The job should almost be finished by the beginning of next week, however – all my stuff will be accessible, so that if I WANT to make things, I can.

The library asked me to guide a group of four people in exploring VR on Friday, continuing my ambassadorial role as the Artist In Residence for the library service. Eventually only one turned up, which made for a relaxed session.

Also, the VR filmmaking competition for which I’m a judge had its closing date extended by a week.

Closed the week with a night of making Japanese food, drinking Japanese beer & whiskey, and watching the despecialised version of Star Wars.

Han shot first. Han has always shot first.


2018 – Week 36

Another week continuing the features of the previous. More work done on these tables, though they’re more or less finished, another VR supervision at the Makerspace, and more time spent on arguments with the bureaucrats in companies, this time a credit card provider.

This is an interesting one, local banks here are charging “overseas transaction fees” on PayPal purchases, when PayPal has handled the international side of things, and issued a charge in local currency, from their local subsidiary. At the moment the case is with the Financial Industry Ombudsman’s Service, for which I had to put together a 24 page report with supporting documents etc.

All this for less than $4, which has already been refunded to me. Fighting fights because they have to be fought, even for no benefit on my part, seems to be a pattern in my life.

The week ended on a high note – Noosa Library Service has offered to formally extend my position of Artist In Residence indefinitely. It’s not a high paying gig, just a small stipend to cover my expenses, but it’s an appointment to a formal position, nonetheless.