'Power Absorbent Landscapes' is a series of six sculptural landscape models produced as part of the independent art, architecture, & research project ON THE GREAT DIVIDE. Cut from three different regions of Wyoming, each model contains a section of The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route which I'll be riding late this summer. The A-series represents the landscape to a true scale. The B-Series highlights the disproportionate voting power found in Wyoming by allowing the landscape to absorb the high vote worth resulting in an exaggerated elevation model. 'Power Absorbent Landscapes' helps visualize the abstract concept of voting power and becomes a reflection of the peaks and valleys of a divided nation. And yet, the series can also be appreciated simply for the power held by visually stunning landscapes cut out of the earth and brought into your home or office.
*For a limited time you can get all three B-Series (1:3) Models for the price of 2! Separated, you can have museum quality pieces in 3 different spots, or combine them to have a piece that is 6"x18". When hung with the satellite image prints that are included, the mixed media art work is an eye-catching 12"x18 which looks great as a centerpiece.
Each of the 6 models are cut from a 6mi.x6mi. area and are scaled down to measure 6"x6". They are made from USG Pottery Plaster No.1, a high quality plaster known for being more dense and break-resistant than a typical plaster of paris model.
The plaster models feature a minutely (0.1mm) contoured surface translated over from the 3D printed parts used in the fabrication process. These contours create a shadow catching textural quality. The sides of the model are made smooth for contrast. As these are handmade in individual batches in a small work space, there will be a very slight variation between each landscape.
They range between 1 3/8" to 3 3/8" high and weigh between 1.75 lbs. and 3 lbs. The backs are also drilled so that they may be suitable for vertical display.
Where Your Funding Goes
These models are one component of the On the Great Divide is a 3,000 mile bike tour/multidisciplinary research project exploring the space & architecture of vastness, power, and populism along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. This project will leverage the process of a bicycle tour to study the relationships between sublime landscapes, the sparse architecture which nestles and dots these landscapes, the people who inhabit these spaces, and the way in which these environments shape and are shaped by their ideologies.
The proceeds go to furthering the quality and depth of research. Things like having additional time to study a town, or to interview architects become possible. Funding also goes towards shop equipment that will be used to increase capacity of the landscape sculptures. The end goal is to exhibit a field of these landscapes paired with the photography of the trip. Maybe hundreds of them, each one unique.
For more information please visit onthegreatdivide.com
Voting Power Translated to Elevation Change
As seen from the map above, the white square of Wyoming is prominent for its voting power compared to every other state. Each state receives a minimum of three Electoral College votes allowing for large distortions of voting power to occur. By design, and for better or for worse, this feature makes sure the rural leanings have a big say in national priorities despite growing urban populations.
Depending on how it is calculated, one vote in Wyoming is worth 3 to 4 times more than a vote in California. The B-series of the landscape models use that number to the change of elevation on the landscape. The A-Series of the landscapes are the exact scale as they sit on the earth, but its pair has peaks 3.5 times higher. In this way the two model sets make for a quick visual of what 1:1 voting power looks like compared to 1:3.5.
Selecting which landscapes to represent was a careful process to curate the various conditions found in the state of Wyoming. A key component of the On the Great Divide project is fabricating the landscapes along the route. Mapmaking helped to locate the intersections between the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and available USGS landscape data.
With those intersections found, the elevation data is digitally modeled to reveal the character of the potential sites. From 34 landscapes, 3 were selected for their visual presence and contrast of form, geology, and ecology.
Model 01 of Angle Mountain contains a portion of the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains in north western Wyoming full of deep valleys. Model 02 of Coal Mine Creek features the striated low ridges of the high altitude desert basin in a spot where wild horses run free. Model 03 of Grieve Reservoir features the mix of plains and buttes which continue on through Colorado.
Making 'Power Absorbent Landscapes'
1. Digital models are 3D Printed @ 1”=1 Mile resulting in a 6”x6” final product. The edges are sanded and finished with an epoxy to ensure a smooth cross section.
2. The prototype is then coated with a thin wax to provide a small level of smoothing necessary for better cast removal. Rubber latex is then poured over the prototype to create a reusable mold.
3. Once the mold has dried, they are sprayed with a release agent and surfactant which breaks the surface tension of plaster to decrease the number of air bubbles in the final sculpture.
4. Sculpture quality plaster is carefully measured and mixed by hand with filtered water.
5. Plaster is carefully poured into the mold with a formwork to retain the rectangular form. Casts are vibrated to bring air bubbles to the surface.
6. Casts are air dried for several days with the last remaining moisture removed through a short period of forced air heat drying with increased ventilation. They bottoms and sides are then hand sanded to ensure a smooth finish. The bottoms are then drilled, signed, titled, and numbered.
The Landscape Models
Hi I'm Myles Peña and I’m a designer, maker, and architectural thinker working in the Pacific Northwest. Very early in life I discovered my passions riding bikes on gravel roads in rural Texas when I was four and drawing and designing houses late at night under the covers in my Florida bedroom by the age of eight. I learned to appreciate cycling as a discipline as I worked as a bicycle mechanic and while racing Cyclocross and Road bikes. After studies in Urban & Regional Planning and Art History at Florida State University, I continued on to pursue Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago while fabricating furniture and studying economics in my spare time. At IIT I designed several award winning projects and learned to embrace a rigorous design process rooted in research and experimentation. After graduation I worked helping to design and construct a maker space before spending four months bike touring and camping on rural backroads from Chicago to San Francisco. Enamored with the landscape I took the long route riding up to Jasper, Alberta, down to Seattle, and finally down the Pacific coast to San Francisco while focusing on landscape photography. In 2016 I moved to Seattle where I now work as an architectural designer on educational institutions.
You can see more of my work, my resume, and other projects at zmpena.com
Risks and challenges
With the most complex and largest landscape, 1B, developed to the form and materiality of the final product, I've successfully been able to begin producing these quickly. The full process from mixing to drying to packaging and shipping has already been tested so I can get making these as the Kickstarter runs. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out by clicking on my name on the top left of the page and sending me a message or leaving a comment on the page. Thanks for stopping by.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)