Parabiotic Elasticity: Submission for Acadia 2011 by T. Jordan+B. Ballok

PARABIOTIC ELASTICITY: The anatomical and physiological collision of two or more organisms in which the total kinetic energy of the particles remains unchanged. Elastic properties, relative tensile strength and translucent qualities fuel the use of castable urethane elastomers. Once tension and mechanics are introduced to the cast urethane component, a response follows in which a variety of deflections and expansions occur simultaneously. Advanced prototyping and research has led to the acute control of deformations using differing combinations of hardnesses at key moments in the urethane component. This allows connections and structure to resist deforming while other key parts stretch, expand, release and bend in x, y and z directions. A polymethyl methacrylate (acrylic) structural grid absorbs stress and translates as a fully interactive freestanding object allowing the multiple urethane components an improvised reaction in concert transposed across a dynamic subsurface.

A computer generated cnc milled high density foam mold serves as the casting medium for the flat-cast liquid urethane component. A tooling path is embedded in the mold to allow a subtle surface texture to capture and reflect light qualities. Each unit is then assembled through a series of folds, bends and creases to create a fully realized three dimensional form ready-made for active engagement in an array using two stage poured cast urethane connectors embedded with flat cut aluminum reinforcing plates. The urethane component and the connector are attached with a pin connection allowing float under varying stresses.

The freestanding grid structure consists of a series of flat-cut struts designed with a snap fit assembly using translucent acrylic sheets, fire polished at all edges. The substructure was composed to predict and harness reactionary kinetic forces projected by the urethane elastomer system. At several key moments the urethane component system engages the structure using three dimensional standoffs fabricated as cut and bent aluminum pieces.

Lighting of the individual urethane component is achieved with battery operated LEDs mounted with hidden fasteners and concealed within chest cavity of component. Light is washed out of cavity and thrust through each of four curved tentacles. Batch LED strips concealed at lower and upper struts of structural grid admit light through acrylic and transform polished edges into a radiant and defined array of linework which, due to the translucency, appears to float behind the urethane system.

Each system and relative connections in the parabiotic elasticity installation is derived from computational anatomies designed to explore the interrelationships between cast urethane elastomers, polymethyl methacrylate and 6061 aluminum. The urethane component system was designed using a series of digital data inputs which congeal into a fabricated output, transforming latent (flat) analog material into a highly active and exposed raw stream of energy.

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