- The frame and structure
The construction of the main frame is almost complete, it has been a monster effort to get all the dimensions accurate enough for the whole structure to spin and be balanced enough to serve as a musical instrument. I thoroughly enjoy the kinetic aspect of the sculpture, I’m not sure I would be as satisfied with a stationary sculpture and I love the whole piece almost breathing and moving powered by solar energy in this case, but wind or any sustainable energy source. My welding skills have greatly increased on this piece and although Im still learning as I go, burning myself slightly and setting a few things on fire, my welds are becoming cleaner and most structurally sound. I am on track and hope to have the main structure finished this week so I can move onto the paint and decorations.
- motor gears and speed
The motor and gears have been a little bit of a struggle, I have unfortunately burnt out a few motors and have finally settled on a lower powered, but higher RPM drive that I will gear down to the main axle. The electronic components have been the easier aspect of the whole piece and the main solar inverter, timers, gear switches and lighting controllers were all done in a couple of hours as seen in the above pics. The sculpture will be set to rotate from 6am until 12 midnight for 18hrs of 2amps (36amps/day) and the lighting from 6pm until midnight for 6hrs of 5amps (30amps/day). This will give me 66amps of power needed a day and with the 120watts of solar panels and the 132amphour battery, more than enough power to balance out any cloudy days.
- Coal and coral wall coverings
One of the biggest things that has been on my mind while constructing the main piece has been the covering of the outer arms. The inner arm will be covered in succulent plants, giving the appearance of colourful coral and life, but I wanted to have the outer arms really explaining the purpose and theme of the sculpture by having the contrast of life and death of coral due to the climate change and directly coal mining. So my thoughts have been moved towards a black and white theme. Black coal wall on one side and bleached white coral wall on the other. As the sculpture rotates, the black and white surfaces of each of the six arms will display themselves to the viewer giving the appearance of life and death in cycles.
How to achieve this has been the biggest issue, I have gone through several options for the coal wall, including fake rock walls, pebble create, styrofoam painted and was even playing with the idea of having a printed 2d photo of coal and coral that would be mounted on the outside of the arm. I really feel that this would be a bit ineffective and wanted to have it be 3d and textual to express the feeling better for the viewer. I have finally settled on finding some charcoal that I will break up and glue onto a flat surface. This is ideal as it is lightweight and looks exactly like coal in texture and reflection.
For the bleached coral wall, I am at this stage going to either find or mould some fake coral pieces and paint them white. I feel like this stage of the decoration could be time-consuming, so I have been calling on some arty friends to help with this in a couple of weeks, once I’m ready to put it all together.
- Poseidon theme
The whole theme of the sculpture is ocean themed and attempting to make the sculpture appear as it had come from under the ocean in Poseidon’s kingdom while being on land has been a big thought. I believe I can achieve most of this via paint and coverings. My fear is though that I don’t want it to look like a kindergarten class has glued plastic sea turtles all over it. I have a collection of shells, barnacles and ocean life creatures that I will be covering the main body in once all the other aspects are attached with the aid of some advice from my friends. I am leaning towards a black and white main body with deep blue and gold leaf veins running around the structure to make it appear like it has lived it’s life under the ocean. The arm that will be holding the chimes will also be fashioned like Poseidon’s trident and sticking out from the top at an angle.
- Music composition
I have been playing around with the music score for the actual sculpture melody and the full song for the past month or so and have decided on the Ab Major/F minor key for the bulk of the composition. I wanted the score to be happy and positive along with the lyrics, but to also incorporate some off-putting sense that the reef is dying too. The following playlist has a few of the refined compositions and my preferred ones are 04 and 07. The 07 V3 is a combination of both the 04 and 07 loops with a basic structure of the song. I could add a lot of layers, but I’ll work out the basic structure and main melody and then leave the song open for collaboration with a bunch of local musicians. I have about 30+ players available from 20+ bands I’ve approached and it will all happen fairly fast towards the end of this month. I want the actual sculpture playing the melody before I lay down anything solid for the popular music song.
- GOMA visit
Finally, with so many things going on recently with the sculpture (I have put in 250 hours of work in the past 4 weeks), I decided to take a break and head to GOMA in Brisbane to take in some other sculptures and artwork to clear my mind. It was a nice weekend and the trip on the train proved to be as meditative as the gallery itself. Also actively taking the time provided some reflection on the whole process and a reaffirmation of what I want to achieve.
- Possible Slogans for the paneling around the base of the sculpture.
- Earth’s Largest Living Organism
- Please Save Me!
- Mine not mine
- Let Me Live!
- Don’t Let Me Die!
- Dead Barrier Reef?
- Marine Sanctuary or Mortuary?
- Great Barrier RIP