Practical Nature

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 @ 4:13 am

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With the SIM Big Show coming up, and submissions being called for, I decided to submit something I’d been meaning to make since early in the semester.  I have a penchant for thinking up practical objects using whatever I see, like a tree that’s a lamp, for instance.  And that’s what I originally had set out to make.

My original intent was strictly something practical and usable.  My room has a pretty dim overhead light, and I wanted to amp it up a bit.  For the show, though, I put more thought into it.  It’s hard for me to make projects with any artistic intent without that intent being very thoroughly and carefully thought out and planned, so that the manner in which the project is executed and displayed echoes its initial intent as a piece.  This project was less thought out, and changed as I learned the skills required to make it, and all the while I felt very self-conscious about that, and hesitant where I wouldn’t have been otherwise.


It’s interesting to note that difference in how I approach a project depending on what its purpose is; almost like writing a story from a character’s point of view, or organizing a screenplay so that what’s seen portrays the story instead of narration or other exposition.


Anyway, I wanted a tree with obvious wiring and lights on it, and blatantly fake leaves.  It was meant as a comment about “commodification” of nature, about dressing up and “making beautiful” something as simply and naturally gorgeous as a tree, and about the absurdity of re-using nature for something “better,” or “more practical,” since what could be more practical than manufacturing oxygen?

So there were ideas, vague, but there was a direction, and I convinced myself that was enough.  I got to learn a good deal of foundation electronics stuff, in terms of simple wiring, currents, soldering and LEDs and power usage.  It was a good introduction to the topics of working with electronics, and I’m looking forward to taking an electronics elective next year.


Something related I’ve found online since the project is Peter Bristol’s American Standards lamp.


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