These variations on foiling kites act as a flexible skin that only gains its structure when it is occupied by the section of sky it cordons off. Unlike the rigid airframes of the box kites, while flying these foils you can watch the air occupy this temporary vessel. Watching the kite rise higher, it seems it is searching for steady air.
In the summer of 2015 I was sailing on the forty two foot Oday named the Pamina. While sailing in the Long Island Sound, I began to talk about my fascination with drug smuggling submarines. These vessels operate just beneath the surface of the water, almost undetected by the naked eye. In my research I’ve found that there is some uncertainty around where the plans for these submarines came from. It is speculated that the plans were created by Russian naval architects, as they bare a striking resemblance to the subs operated by the Russian navy.
The submarines are assembled in dense mangrove forests where shipwright’s carve out the ground into a makeshift dry dock. Maybe the most engaging part about these submarines is the materials. To avoid suspicion, the builders of these submarines avoid the standard steel and composites used by Navy’s, instead they source their materials locally. Everything that is used to create these submarines can be purchased at a common hardware store.
The propulsion is a combination of a portable generator running to an electric motor, similar to how nuclear-powered submarines operate but easier to refill. The exhaust is run through a hose to a snorkel above the water. Navigation duties are completed through a monitor streaming live video from a video camera attached to a pole above the surface of the water.
It is unclear what the launching ceremonies for these craft are like, but before the launch a channel is carved out of the mangroves that makes a slipway which leaves behind a gash flooded by ocean water. Once underway, the captain of these crafts are deemed so valuable that if they that if caught by the authorities, they are instructed to scuttle the boat before they offload their cargo. If the boat is scuttled, and the captain of the vessel is left in the water, maritime law requires that his pursuers come to his aid, as his vessel came to grief. Washed away by the salt water, whatever was once in the boat is now gone, and the captain is returned to his country of origin with no legal action.
Back on the Long Island Sound, I didn’t understand my audience. I was quickly informed that one of the members of this particular sail boat was a lead engineer at Electric Boat Company. Electric Boat houses the docks where most of the United States Navy nuclear submarines are manufactured and refitted. He was very quick to shout at me “It’s not a submarine it’s a semi-submersible!” Letting it go, we prepared to tack.
Transcribing technology reserved only for governments and industries into something that an individual can own is an exercise in complex scaling while maintaining function. Though the drug smuggling submarine is an extreme example, and it’s motivation is questionable, it is still technology and a tool kept almost exclusively for governments, or cast in concrete for museums. I asked a similar question about the role of satellites and how they change our perspective. I found myself at a time period where kites were the main tool to change our perspective. From the 1870’s to the 1920’s, kites were the bleeding edge of scientific research and exploration. They were used for everything, from carrying scientific equipment, to taking aerial photographs, or even a method for lifting people off the ground using only wind.
After calculating the overall wingspan of Box Kite 3.0 it became clear that this kite would generate more power than all of the previous versions. With a combined wingspan of just above thirty seven feet the new box kite would require a kite line with a breaking strength above 350lbs. Along with a higher strength kite line a new suite of objects would be developed to safely operate the kite.
Looking through past issue of Kite Lines, a now defunct kite flying magazine, I came across a story of two Dutch kite fliers. These gentlemen were attempting to build a man lifting kite system. Using a French Military style kite the plan was to make 10 kites with enough lift to pull a human airborne. Besides the issues of constructing this many kites they discussed the long flat stretches of the Dutch coast where they would fly their kite train. They described the wind conditions as being constant with very little fluctuation in speed. When fully rigged this kite system would have enough force to pull a person to the ground and drag them. Fearing the worst case scenario of the kite train flying away or taking off with someone in tow completely out of control they looked for a method to temporarily anchor the kites to the ground while in flight. They described the device as a sand anchor.
Sand anchors are a type of temporary infrastructure that exploits its environment. The anchor itself is a light frame that only gains its strength when it is buried in the sand. A method of installation that is unique to environments where sand readily available.
Fearing my own kite could generate a similar amount of lift I set out to design my own anchor system. Sadly the two Dutch kite fliers didn’t leave any plans behind. Looking to the past I came across an illustration of a life saving system employed by early iterations of the coast guard. In this illustration they had rigged up a line used to ferry passengers to shore from a distressed ship. Buried in the sand was the anchor of this entire system. A cross made of two boards with a iron eyelet bracing them together with a running line going up to the surface. If this method of sand anchoring was strong enough to hold a human’s weight and the force of the ocean on the distressed ship it seemed like it would be a good place to start.
Regulations In The Sky
After the development of instrumentalized flight the next man made thing to occupy the sky would be regulations. These rules are put in place for the safety of the occupants of the sky. Kites fall under the category of “Tethered Aircraft” in the Code of Federal regulations chapter 14 Aeronautics and Space part 101. Being labeled as “Tethered Aircraft” I was shocked to find out that the act of kite flying could find itself on the invisible boundaries in the sky.
Understanding that the sky is actually netted by invisible lines and blankets of regulations. The kite could once again become a vehicle for exploration not atmospheric conditions but rather as a tool to expose the unseen regulations.
Targeting specific regulations to locate in the sky new kites would be designed with features unique to each regulation. These features are designed to highlight the line through the activation of flying the kite. Making the invisible visible through the physical form of the kite
“Gleaning” is the practice of gathering resources left behind or missed after a harvest, and was a legal right historically protected.
In Jean Francois Millet’s 1854 painting, The Gleaners, three women are depicted in a field. On the left hand side of the panting, a woman bends at the waist and extends her hand—a symbolic gesture of gleaning.
Crane feeding habits are described as “gleaning”. Standing high above their quarry, cranes pierce through mud, grass, water and silt with their beaks to obtain food. Eventually, they return to an upright position and continue methodical but random steps, which have been imprinted in their mind.
Restoration efforts to bring species like the sandhill or whooping crane back from the verge of extinction are an ongoing battle. It is here, within the restoration, that humans have taken a direct-action approach to conserving these species. Through the utilization of a crane suit, the humans attempt to obscure their physical attributes that categorize them as a human. Their face, body, and most importantly their eyes are all hidden once they don the crane suit. Because conservationists use the suits to educate the birds on everything from eating to migrating, they must hide these human attributes to ensure the crane chicks do not imprint on the humans, thus keeping the cranes wild.
Crane suits, as a strategy for conservation, are clear, but what the human gives up by donning the suit is even more interesting. The action of gleaning is a shared activity for both, and this act of sharing the border between the two worlds is blurred. When wearing the suit, a transformation occurs, in which the wearer lives on the border between two worlds, that of the crane and that of the human. Sharing the action of gleaning where crane begins and man ends is moving in and out of focus.
Constructing the suit was an attempt to recreate the actual artifact. This is similar to the way enthusiasts of films painstakingly recreate props to get as close as possible to fictitious worlds. Borrowing the techniques of taking measurements from existing photos was the first steps in figuring out what the major components of the suits were would be comprised of.
The most important constraint in the construction of the suit was how to obscure the human underneath, while constructing a tailored vessel. This suit would no longer serve its designers original intention of being a tool for the conservation of a species, but instead it became a portal between two economies.
While donning this vessel, the crossing of borders from human to animal happens seamlessly. It happens so quickly, that it appears as a blink or flash. These series of blinks and flashes happen without warning but are unmistakable. The occupant of the vessel becomes unidentifiable in these moments.
Trigonometrical Survey Net
Historically, trigonometrical surveying was a way of mapping geographic locations that started with a single straight line. In 1801, a trigonometrical survey of India started with a single seven-and-a-half-mile straight line at the bottom of the country. The intent was to draw one triangle at a time, until the entire country had been mapped. Projected to only take five years, it ended up taking about sixty-nine years to complete.
Led by the British, it must be said that the purpose of the survey was to address the value of India as an export nation. Though the colonial history cannot be ignored, the British developed a system so robust that it could be used for decades with a consistent result, and this is what intrigued me. Looking at how they developed their system, I was inspired to create my own system that would be just as strong. Through this system, I was looking to find things that were going unnoticed. By creating my own trigonometrical survey net, I was able to locate and explore these hidden things within an ecosystem.
In an effort to randomize my findings, I looked to the process of quadrant analysis as a method of activation. This accepted scientific method is designed to map species in a particular area, and is activated by throwing a grid into that area. This method is a way to maintain an impartial sample set.
The inspiration behind the tool that accompanies my survey net is the work of sound artist, Alvin Lucier. Lucier’s work often employs custom build apparatuses that respond to the subtlest of environmental effects. I wanted to create a tool that, in tandem with my net, would highlight subtly like Lucier’s work.
The creation of the net was intended to serve as a tool to gather data with no discernible purpose but to activate the imagination of the viewer. Looking at the research findings as a collection of evidence, the viewer should get a sense that there is something larger at play.
After the net has been thrown, the next step of the survey is the application of the viewfinder, an important tool that works in tandem with the net. The intent is for the aperture to isolate and heighten areas. When all appropriate forms of documentation are collected, the user can move to the next data set, or triangle and begin the process over again.
Trigonometrical Survey Net Activation
Trigonometrical Survey Net
Master Plan Ocean Beach
One Cubic Yard
This redesigned object is the everyday dustpan and brush. The assigned word imparted and conveyed onto the object is “fragile.” Generally defined through a relationship rather than through objective measurements, fragile can be defined as both strong as well as delicate. For example, a butterfly’s wing is delicate to the hand, but sturdy and durable in flight. A house provides stable shelter against the elements, but is breakable against the strength of a powerful tornado. Understanding this duality, the redesigned brush is an extension of the hand and is both durable as well as fragile. User interaction with both the dustpan and the brush increases the awareness of both the force and impact, giving the user greater control and ease of use.
This stool was born out of the idea of fabric acting as a tension member in the structure of a stool. Combining woodworking and fabric led to a performative aspect of seating requiring the user to zip up the stool before using. Stored Vertically in a closet or hanging on a wall to take up a smaller footprint when not in use.
Working primarily with a 3-D printer, my aim was to explore several different systems of modular jointer. This project was fueled by an impending move to the west coast and the uncertainty of living accommodations, which became the driving force behind finding highly modular joints that, by design, could change, depending on the physical limitations of the space.
Designed in Beijing and produced in Jingdezhen, China, the iconic Japanese soy sauce ewer was the inspiration for the Morning Milk Creamer and Bowl. Taking the iconography of a soy sauce ewer, I transcribed it onto an application culturally closer to the creamer.
Designed in Beijing and produced in Jingdezhen, China, this yellow Tea Pot is a modern, and interpretive adaptation of the formal elements found in traditional vessels from the Yuan and Song Dynasties, and reflects the enormous power of orthographic drawing, as a communication tool. While studying at the ceramic design for industry department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, I worked with skilled craftsmen through every stage of the ceramic process from design to production.