Mark Weston: Water Columns

  • ©2012, Mark Weston, Water Columns
  • ©2012, Mark Weston, Water Columns
  • ©2012, Mark Weston, Water Columns



    Water Columns


Creation Year:



    3D & Sculpture

Artist Statement:

    Water Columns consists of three extremely lightweight, passively actuated kinetic sculptures chat cake advantage of the relative tendency of wood to absorb moisture from the atmosphere to create passive engines for actuation of a long array of bi-laminate filaments. The sculptures change shape over the course of the day as relative humidity rises and falls with the ambient temperature.

    This project iterates error. It is evident in natural systems that specific situations demand specific solutions. These solutions do not emerge in perfection, bur instead derive from eons of accidents. Similarly, the iterative nature of digital design allows us to rapidly create and discard innumerable virtual notions in an almost time-lapse analog of biological evolution. We can instantly amass manifold errors, find the singular best mistake, and repeat it forever unto perfection. In the massive potential scale of these deliberate derailments hides an equally massive potential for making nonsense, and therein lies the knuckleball.

    Perfecting the forced error with computers requires an art that can balance knowledge and technique against measured carelessness, with a willingness to repeatedly miss central goals until fresh opportunities re-form at the fringes. As the contemporary practice of architecture continually seeks such fresh economies in computer modeling and digital fabrication, it becomes possible to produce a modern architecture that leverages these techniques to reintroduce handmade material quality to the stark modernist conception of space-making. This new material saturation cannot, however, be allowed to stagnate into decadence; the ecological problems stemming from our messy habitation of earth force us to acknowledge that too much is at stake. This suggests, therefore, a process that foresees the creation of buildings that possess a saturated material character by virtue of the use of performative, intelligent materials that blur the boundary between beauty and pragmatism.

    From these ideals emerges a multi-disciplinary practice, combining experimental materials, digital fabrication, and physical computing with traditional notions of making in order to generate interactive and complex physical environments. The goal of Water Columns is to re-situate architecture between art, construction, environment, and activism, where work is conceived in a constant, non-linear interplay between hand-making, computer modeling, computer simulation, and CNC tooling.