We received funding from CST to support our Atelier course “The Understor(e)y: Suspension, Movement, Space,” a collaboration with dance, visual art, engineering and sound art. 

We used for materials to:

  1. design and carry out physical table top form-finding experiments to establish boundary conditions that achieve anticlastic minimal surface net forms;
  2. suspend students in large-scale nets to determine the effects of bias and orthogonal meshes on the displacement of the net;
  3. conduct movement labs to haptically understand tension, displacement and frequency.(See photos)

Our course was impacted substantially by COVID-19, as all of the in-person movement and choreographic experiments on the nets ceased, and any possibility of data gathering of the net displacements could not continue. 

We have received permission from the Atelier to continue developing the project over the next academic year and request to use the remaining funds to further the data gathering and analysis with undergraduate students that was not possible given the change in course direction.  

Figures: Form-finding experiment, experiencing tension forces in large-scale net 

Some student examples of work that happened: 

Science/Engineering Projects:

  1. Computer vision: In collaboration with COS faculty Adam Finkelstein, we developed computer vision algorithms that track the displacement of a net vertex using 2 cameras.  We tested her algorithms on a table-top model (in her bedroom). We were successful in obtain the x,y,z coordinates of the vertex . These algorithms still need to be tested on the large-scale nets and coupled to the form/force interaction algorithms. 

Figures:  Physical testing of computer vision algorithm and graphic showing x,y,z location of net vertex (image credit Claire Dong)

  1. Force-Form algorithms: There is a graphical link between prestressed rope nets and their force diagram.  We developed a graphical interface that visualizes this relationship in the software GeoGebra. The link between the computer vision algorithms and the graphical diagrams still needs to be carried out.  

Artistic Goals were mostly sidelined due to COVID, yet in the shift to online format, students created films of dance, sound, visual art, looking at ways to respond to the moment and each other across artistic medium.  Links to final projects here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-zzhae_UsYvsCzHqxlNjIYUg97DtMAPP?usp=sharing 

This project will continue both its artistic and engineering paths in the coming year, CST provided a crucial beginning to this process. Adriaenssens and Lazier received funding from the Innovation Fund for Research Collaborations between Artists and Scientists or Engineers to support NODES – Net tOpology and Dance Exploration Systems, where this work will continue once we are in person, can hang nets, and attach sensors to move and generate data.

We also have a commission from the Helsinki Festival to premiere the artistic project of suspended net by visual artist Janet Echelman, who co-taught the course, and choreography by Lazier to premiere in August 2021.