While studing for his qualifying exam in Algebra (yes, Doctor Kiwano is an actual doctor--in mathematics), Doctor Kiwano was inspired to illustrate the isomorphism between the icosahedral group and the alternating group on 5 elements (a mouthful indeed; see why it needs a sculpture to illustrate it?) by making a giant blinky geometric sculpture--mostly because it would be trippy as all hell.
To get started, the doctor and some friends (assisted by an art grant from the Toronto Burning Man community) constructed the support frame as a moving, climbable sculpture. Unfortunately it proved so popular (earning high praise like "easily the most dangerous art at decomp") that the construction of an additional six(!) similar frames--now known as Doctor Kiwano's Geodesic Deathraps--provided quite the distraction from continuing with the original project.
Now that the excitement about the deathtraps has faded down (and also because the original frame is getting too old and worn out to climb on), it's time to finish making the light show. The 5 cubes were submitted and accepted as an independent submission for Toronto's Nuit Blanche in 2014, so They Must Get Built.
Moving on to the present, with the frame already built, there's been an opportunity (or three) to make a mock-up in yarn and twine of the blinking portion of the sculpture.
It's awfully hard to see the cubes in the picture, and the patterns that can be picked out by blinking them on and off in a dark place just don't show up with string that's always visible, but at least you can get a rough idea.
As the project gets wrapped up, the ease with which the deathtraps can be disassembled, transported, and reassembled (disassembled deathtraps have been easily moved both by bicycle and by canoe) will be preserved, so that it can also be exhibited at other art festivals and shows.
Risks and challenges
Nearly everything has already been built, tuned, and tested, and the electronics are simple, so the biggest risks are failing vendors (multiple sources have been identified for everything), and warranty disputes if the materials prove defective (in which case, money can be borrowed to get working materials from another supplier, and paid back when the warranty dispute is resolved--the Doctor has good credit). That said, based on experience with several previous EL projects, these are very low-risk problems.
Another risk is that the tension on the EL wire necessary for it to be suspended in straight lines will be high enough to unplug the power connections that make it glow. If this is the case, instead of letting it sag and look kind of lame, the wire will be tied to transparent acrylic rods (with fishing line) to hold it straight, without straining the power connectors, or blocking any of the light.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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