The Atmospheric Tide is a sculpture that modifies its appearance to be explicitly in-sync with the climactic conditions of Broomhill Sculpture Park. A series of rectangular metal panels coated in a specialised thermochromic blue paint are minimally stacked and supported via a narrow and delicate centre pole. As the metal panels rise into the sky their colours change from an opaque and bright white to a rich deep blue. The colours of the panels slowly change and shift throughout the day, their colouring affected by the panel’s surface temperatures. The result is a sculpture whose form is constantly in flux; passing clouds, heavy cold winds, and bright light directly modify the sculpture’s appearance.
The Atmospheric Tide explores the connection to elemental qualities (in this case, minor temperature variations) of the environment that we often take for granted.
This week I’ve been in the workshop prepping all of the panels. Each panel is 65cm x 65cm x 12cm and is strengthened via a centre ‘X’ brace. At the centre of this ‘X’ is a steel lockring which will allow the panel to be fixed onto the centre pole.
Each panel is 3mm thick and they are very rigid and strong; certainly ready for a life outside in the elements!
The rest of this week will include finishing all of the panels. Next week I’ll be painting and prepping the panels and getting them finalised for the installation!
The connection, prepped for MIG welding:
Welding in action:
Grinding makes the corners nice:
A finished panel, before painting/coating:
It’s early April and we’re just now entering week two of the Broomhill Sculpture Award work. As with most projects, the beginning is often a lot of sketching, a lot of writing, and a lot of speaking with fabricators, and over the past week I’ve been waiting on a few parts to come in for testing, while considering two primary considerations.
The first consideration has to do with number of panels. While I’m quite comfortable with the sculpture’s height, the actual arrangement of panels now needs to be carefully considered. Here are the three primary option I’ve been considering. The decision on this comes down a bit to how the panels are connected to the central axis and standard sheet sizes. As it stands right now, the best option is the 12 panel (far right) option.
The next consideration involves rotation.
I’ve often shown photos of my sculpture proposal and have heard numerous times the the question “Does it spin?”. Naturally one would think that, given it’s form and focus on wind and temperature, but for some reason it had not even occurred to me until after my submission. This is a great idea and one well worth exploring in these first few weeks. Is it possible? Is it in budget? Will it stand up well for a year and continue to spin without the need for any maintenance? These questions are being explored as I speak to manufacturers about sealed-ball bearing systems that would allow the panels to freely spin with the wind. Additionally, will they all free spin or will each panel be connected to its neighbouring panel to maintain a more refined shape?
The Atmospheric Tide was my proposal for this year’s annual Broomhill Sculpture Award for 2015-2016.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting here updating this blog with images and written updates on the progress of going from initial sketch & rendering, through construction planning and material tests, into the build, and finally to the installation this coming late May. I will be cross-posting some entries to my website’s blog at www.michaelpecirno.com and will be tweeting from @mpecirno.
In the meantime, this week project planning commences looking at the next few weeks and the first materials get ordered for 1:1 testing!