Experimentation: unbalanced – 2

Einstein wrote “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” (well, according to one website the original was in a letter in German, and there are a few different translations around)

It fits with what I saw of gymnasts recovering balance (3-Jan-2019). Maybe I could fluff it into some “deep and meaningful” statement, but let’s not.

Back to the 30 day challenge. What does unbalanced/precarious/… look like?

Day 10
A classic approach, with basic geometric shapes and primary colours. Can I fool the eye / expectation by mixing materials to play against size | weight expectations?

Day 10


The dark blue was a poor choice for the small but heavy round fishing weight. I didn’t anticipate the impact of the line of the cardboard (used to block the distracting background). It adds to the feeling that the right side is sloped down, heavier.

Day 10 – in motion

It was actually really difficult to get this to balance long enough to take a photo, even with some tactical use of bluetac. An upset in motion provides a more dynamic photo.

Workbook day 10

I also tried a couple of drawings to see if I could get something more interesting to happen. Not convincing.

Day 11
This version was easier to photograph, as it was actually quite stable.

Day 11

A slight change in the cropping of the photo makes it a little more dynamic.

Re-cropped photo

The blue disc is no longer centered, reducing the sense of balance, plus the full shadow seems to be reaching up and almost pulling the tip down.

Day 12

Day 12

More balancing of simple shapes. The large egg, possibly fragile (actually rubbery) and the small disc. Yawn.

Unbalanced!

This was another difficult one to photograph, as it wasn’t very balanced. The failure is more interesting.

On reflection I realised my theme is meant to be un-balanced. The last few days were way too literal and way too static.

Day 13
Reading about Yayoi Kusama in Part Object Part Sculpture. A couple of snippets: “One is lost in a sea of apperceptions, as haptic and optic no longer seem demonstrably different from each other.” “… allows one, how counter-intuitively, to lose one’s boundaries …”.

This had me thinking about the loss of balance as one disperses in the seriality and repetition of the environments created. Which led to consideration of precipice/unbalanced/danger as a loss of orientation. Which led to Tony Tuckson, the sublime, Rothko – work which fills the vision, which I sway in front of. The shimmering movement. Leading to the shimmers and distortions and teasing gaps in the vision before a migraine. Which does actually circle round to danger and loss of balance.

Day 9

Having got this far, I noticed the reflections on the little corrugated piece on an earlier experiment. With movement or lighting changes or a bit of breeze that could give a shimmer.

Kitchen foil, folded and corrugated

Some kitchen foil, folded to fit through the little corrugating press.

It was then carefully unfolded. The result was firmer when forming a new shape (those clever corrugations!). The changes in direction caused by the different folds create points of interest.

Unfolded. Corrugation tool in background

Tried some more complex pre-folding, to get more changes of direction.

Just pressed, then opened

Day 8’s experiment was used as a stand.

Potential for lighting effects.


The photo looks rather static. Close cropping doesn’t help. With some extra shimmer from a breeze and some thoughtful, maybe flickering lighting, this has potential.

Could using it in a mobile increase the flickering I was thinking of? I made some more pieces of corrugated foil and put them on an early mobile conveniently hanging nearby (see 26-Dec-2017). A lazy photo gives a blurred indication of the result.

Sorry about the blur!


Plus: The foil is light and the large surface area collects any air movement going. This mobile is constantly on the move.
Con: Mobiles are all about balance, not un-balance. This version floats gently in space.
Possibilities: More complexity. A wider space, more pieces flashing and flickering past each other. Random puffs of air from the ceiling, creating a bit more vertical as well as rotational movement. Complementary (strobe?) lighting. Add colour to try to get reflections.
Also: Take a look at stabiles. My attempt 9-Sep-2017 has a gawky, ungainly, risky looking movement to it.

Slight variation:

Left side corrugated twice

The foil on the left above went through the corrugation process twice, unfolded and refolded between times. The surface is a bit less regular, the reflections broken up a bit. A small change, but could be a nice refinement.

Day 14
Thinking about loss of balance, I attempted to give an idea of a spinning top losing speed and balance over time. The sequence or passage of time is indicated by scale and intensity of colour.

Day 14 – first version on the left; with addition of “shadows” on the right

The “shadows” added later provide a lot of information to the eye. The whole thing doesn’t quite make sense, there isn’t enough variation and plausible change, but somehow I accept it.

Day 15
A reo-wire figure was quickly put together, with a total disregard for actual body proportions. It allowed some quick and easy posing with fishing line and blu-tac.

There’s a lot of cricket on TV at the moment, hence a “catch” as the first pose.

Day 15

I like that the shapes formed aren’t necessarily physically possible with muscles, tendons, etc. I’m definitely interested in the lines and proportions of the human body, suggested but incomplete or not quite right. Our minds put a lot of work into interpretation as something well known.

Day 16
An actual photo of an amazing catch was the basis for this outline.

Catch!

Given foreshortening the proportions seem a little out. Note again the impact of shadow, assisting interpretation.

“Real” proportions

This wireframe plan was based on a photo, still and full frontal, so at least in theory should be close to “real” proportions. I wonder how much variation there is in practice.

This week I’m going to summer school, Anatomy for Life Drawing. Hoping it will provide lots of relevant inspiration.

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