Big Brother is the older, wiser, and stranger brother of the humanoid model I created for another class (the “Little Brother”). It is an expression of finding the natural and anthropomorphic features in something entirely unnatural. I followed the simple rules of “scavenged material only” and “inverted orientation” to put together the scraps left from cutting out Little Brother.
Little Brother was made of 1/4″ clear plexi cut on the CNC after many careful mockups and tests – it is intended to be an abstract figure that any child can relate to. Big Brother is very difficult to relate to, but is still recognizably a “creature”. Using borrowed paint markers, I traced several thin printed circuit boards along parts of Big Brother. These mimic veins but also speak to a “robotic” feel he developed as I created him.
Visuals and Process:
I began with these entirely different materials, and experimented with tiling and various symmetry expressions.
I pursued the natural in the unnatural by pursuing a “garden” of electronic parts.
For a time I experimented with connecting the metal traces of the various circuits, and considered making a large wall “tapestry” with wires running through it and connecting a battery on the far end to a light on the near end. But what rule would I be following?
Nothing felt right, so I experimented with using the circuit boards with clear plexi. I started considering actually putting “natural” into the unnatural by turning my plexi scrap collection into a planter for vines, to go outdoors. Or taking the greens of the pieces and swirling them in front of the camera to create an abstract series of “nature” photos
Finally inspiration struck, as I decided on simple rules to create an anthropomorphic companion for Little Brother out of its own bizarrely shaped remnants.
Thoughts and Future Directions:
I want to keep exploring the theme of natural from unnatural, particularly with wires and circuit boards. I might expand on Big Brother by elaborating the circuitry patterns and adding a light coating to the back. This would make the patterns more vivid – but I would keep it translucent so that I could add LEDs to the back to give it a “healthy glow”. I like the idea of this as a wall hanging, gently pulsing with red and blue lights along its “veins”.
Most of this boiled down to me struggling to use simple rules to overcome my perfectionism. I have always needed a better internal editor. Too many ideas, no executive decisions. The lesson I take away from this course is, “Rules are useful tools, keep them simple and follow them closely and you will surprise yourself.”