Information from wind and temperature sensors on the roof of the building is relayed to a digital controller. This information is compared with historical temperature and wind data. The discrepancy between real-time readings and historical norms determines how quickly the sculpture opens and closes as well as how rapidly the interior pulses with light. The controller drives a geared transmission that pulls and releases cables attached to the top of the sculpture via pulleys arrayed around the gallery ceiling.
While sculptures languish in the elements, Grade must wait months, sometimes years, for a response. With Capacitor, the process of disintegration is removed, but the response from nature is immediate. Created with perforated fabric skins stretched over mechanically fastened wood frames, the massive coil, inspired by organic and geometric forms, physically responds to the weather patterns outside the Arts Center. Sensors on the roof of the building send information regarding wind intensity and temperature to the sculpture. Grade’s team calculated statistical means based on Sheboygan’s weather patterns over the past one hundred years and keyed the information into a mechanized controller. The brightness and movement of the one hundred sculptural components is determined by the degree to which the current wind and temperature patterns differ from the established means. As information about wind speed and air temperature is communicated to Capacitor, temperature changes dim or brighten its lights; the shifting winds contract or expand the entire sculptural form—which opens and closes like a blooming flower— so that, as the artist states, “The whole of the sculpture appears to be very slowly breathing.”
Alison Ferris, Curator, Kohler Arts Center, describes and contextualizes the project (2013):
“Irrevocable change and natural disintegration are central to the work of Seattle artist, John Grade. Grade's sculptures are built from the traditional materials of wood, resin and clay paired with novel polymers like corn and potato-based resins and binderless paper castings. Over the past decade and departing from the Earthworks model of shaping the landscape itself as a sculptural medium, Grade has become known for extrapolating organic motifs and materials into works that rejoin the land via decay. His sculptures are often immersed for extended periods of time in tidal bays, the high desert, or snowfields. Their slow decay is charted and documented via drawings, photographs, video and, ultimately, the transformed materials. Inspired by the erosion of the natural landscape, Grade hands over control of his art to this inevitable decomposition - a process that Grade describes as "an interesting conversation" between the landscape and the sculpture.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.