My twin box project

Today I’m going to tell you about my Process and Skills Twin Box Project.

The assignment’s essential goal was to make us think of how to represent two opposite abstract concepts with two 3D objects. Other classes had to do it with plastic bottles, we had to do it with boxes.

I first made a list of more than 20 concepts (black/white, big/small, yes/no, full/empty etc). Then I shortlisted it to three final opposites : reality/fantasy, night/day and silence/noise.

I decided to go with silence and noise.

What first came to my mind when I thought of those was that the noise box had to be loud. Early ideas where to splat it with paint versus the silence being just plain white. The idea was quite expected and I guess something that anyone could come up with. Also, the thought of a box being just white could have the feeling of something I finished. A second problem was that the filling of these boxes was something I also had to think about. So I moved on to the next idea.

At the same time we had to do this project I went to see Chillida Rhythm – Time – Silence at the Ordovas Gallery here in New York. The exhibition consists of eight pieces of Spanish artist Eduardo Chillida, whose work and style are the symbol of the basque country in the North of Spain. I really recommend you to go and see it if you don’t know the artist.

My family happens to be from the basque country so I have grown up being surrounded by his work and when I saw the exhibition it made me think also of Jorge Oteiza’s work. Chillida and Oteiza are the greatest sculptors in the Basque Country, and life long enemies. Both artists worked essentially with traditional basque rural materials such as metal and concrete and their relation to space and light. Their pieces translate their willingness to create a rhythm and a real relationship with the natural elements surrounding them. They create a conversation with nature by using it as an additional material.

While researching more about their work I realized that silence and noise are actually sensations and so each box had to be built in a different way in order to feel a different way.

That is also when the idea of making a sound amplifier as my noise box came to me.

Putting all of these thoughts together I started making sketches and then cardboard prototypes.

 

My idea for the silence box  was to make it in metal. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to the metal workshop and so I decided to go with wood that I then Spray Painted. To cut all the parts of my box, I had a little help and had them drawn in Autocad so I could then Lasercut, glue and paint them.

Moving on to the noise box, this was a real challenge.

I first wanted to make a wooden sound amplifier, but the only way I could think of was doing a topography style wooden box. This means I would have to draw more than 30 designs that then would be sticked together to form the box. The person helping me with the autocad designs suggested I could do it with concrete, that it went well with the concept. I was scared to work with concrete at first but I eventually discovered it is not that hard (by watching youtube tutorials).

Since I had to build a mould for the concrete I drew once again the pieces and then had then redrawn in Autocad in order to lasercut them. Autocad use was necessary here because as you can see all the pieces look like a 3D puzzle, and all of those little teeth on the design had to be checked before they were cut.

Once the mold was done I just mixed the concrete mix with water and filled it. Once the concrete was dry I unmolded the block. This is when I discovered that the mold hadn’t been properly designed and that I couldn’t actually unmold the inside of the box. In order to finish unmolding I went to the wood workshop and tried to take out the wood with a chisel, which only destroyed it. As I had a second block, I sanded it with the sanding machine. And this is the final result.

My final boxes represent Silence and Noise.

Silence is represented by the space filling the box and its relationship to the wood wrapping it. The box is light, but the wood is sharp and black.

Noise is made out of a concrete and wood block. It is really heavy but soft to the touch and it amplifies sound (with a little help from an iphone).

My intention was to represent Silence and Noise as two opposite concepts that could be interpreted in more than one way. For some, silence is soft and soothing and bring calm. But for others it is something hard and awkward. In any case, silence is still represented by space that becomes “visible” specially in those awkward moments when it has to be filled. Noise, being for me something that feels heavy and thick, is for others something that has to flow. In this case it is both. Because the box is filled but it also let’s the sound “move” through the wood and amplify.

 

Hope you liked it!

Maria

*  For some reason I couldn’t upload the photos I wanted to enclose to the post.

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