Client: Weber State University
Location: Ogden, UT, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $400,000
Between the Currents is a kinetic sculpture commissioned by Weber State University for their new Noorda Engineering, Science and Technology building.
The sculpture is inspired by the invisible forces of nature that are acting all around us. As in nature, beauty emerges when diverse forces converge, blooming into unexpected forms of color and shape. Animations of motion are constantly evolving on the sculpture, and are based on equations that are used to model forces in nature. These forces flow in waves. Similar behaviors may be found in electromagnetism, fluids dynamics, material science, gravity, and beyond – often obeying the same fundamental equations. We’ve taken a selection of these equations and remapped them across this surface to represent the beauty that appears in nature.
Integration with the building design was an important part of this work. The architecture thesis for the building was to expose the inner workings of the building, in order to give architecture, engineering, and science students a view into what professionals do in the making of buildings. With that in mind, we designed this artwork with the goal of exposing the inner workings of both the artwork itself, and also the inner workings of the natural systems at work in creating the scientific and mathematic equations that describe these processes. All of the functional parts of the sculpture are exposed, including the wiring, motors, circuits boards, etc. We also exposed the process at work in creating the sculpture, with an accessible video of our process, linked via QR code within the building display.
119 hand-folded Tyvek origami shapes create this flowing sculptural surface, hanging on a curved aluminum frame in the building atrium. Custom software drives a series of electric motors, moving the origami elements in gentle harmony. The sculpture is choreographed to follow animation sequences of different forces in nature, following real-time mathematic models of natural behaviors. The sculpture also utilizes building energy use data as sculpture movement input.
We built this sculpture in our studio in Brooklyn through the winter of 2021, and installed it in Utah in summer 2022.