MatterApp : Bittermelon Trellis

the National Bitter Melon Council came to Materials & Applications to request help on making their project “Promiscuous Production: Breeding is Bittersweet,” for the EATLACMA project curated by Fallen Fruit and Michelle Urton.  Oliver Hess saw it as a perfect opportunity to create a MatterApp project and selected long time workshop participant Brian Janeczko to lead the project.

From the original M&A text written by all participants:

Over three weekends, M&A hosted a series of free community workshops to construct a sculptural bamboo trellis for experimenting with melon genetics, attempting to cross-pollinate bitter melons with sweet melons. Artists Jeremy Liu and Hiroko Kikuchi, collectively known as the National Bitter Melon Council, educated community volunteers that melons are considered a “promiscuous fruit”. Their hope is that the bitter and the sweet melons will mingle over the summer, producing a bitter-sweet melon. Brian Janeczko, the lead fabricator at M&A, led the project, given his extensive and creative experience with bamboo as a building material.

For the first weekend, volunteers successfully harvested over 200 poles of bamboo from the LACMA campus, which were then sliced, trimmed, and prepped. As a result of prototyping and experimenting with bamboo and its material properties, it was discovered that the bamboo at the LACMA campus was less likely to bend, and more likely to kink like a drinking straw. As a solution to this issue, Janeczko utilized propane heat torches to steam the bamboo from the inside, allowing the bamboo to arc more easily.

The second weekend marked the beginning of the trellis construction. With sited flags and rebar on the ground, two poles of bamboo stock were carefully heated and molded to an arc, lashed together with jute, and inserted into its corresponding rebar. The resulting vertical components of the trellis frame formed a carefully spaced singular tunnel that bifurcates into two arching tunnels, referencing the genetic experiments of the melon’s themselves.

During the third weekend, volunteers installed and lashed the diagonal bracing to the bamboo arches to provide support for the overall sculpture. Finally, planters were installed on all sides of the trellis so that the melons can begin to grow over the structure.

Between June and November of 2010 the vines grew together and created a lush structure thanks to the great design, extensive hard work, and gardener Lora Hall who was the caretaker of EATLACMA over its life.

Participants: Robin Abad, Jason Anthony, Adrine Aralalian, Otis Bardwell, Mike Brockstein, David Burns, Bruce Chan, Henry Cheung, Aaron Dang, Jenna Didier, Reanne Estrada, Christine Eyer, Jen Fleming, Walter Garcia, Oliver Hess, Sheila Hirsch, Crystal Hughes, Nicole Ives, Brian Janeczko, Graham Keegan, Hiroko Kikuchi Jessica Lim, Brad McCulley, Helen Park, Aaron Ryan, Makoto Sasaki, Jen Silbert, Dan Tran, Thom, Pamela Turner, Kat Woo, and Yelena Zhelezov

MatterApp : Fat Fringe

“Fat Fringe” came about when Materials & Applications was asked to propose an installation for The Fix Gallery.  Oliver Hess, then Co-Director of M&A proposed a MatterApp workshop working with Layer, a design collaborative of Lisa Little and Emily White.  Emily had worked on past MatterApp workshops as a participant and was willing to lead a workshop on die cut paper and origami folding.

A description by Emily from M&A archive:

“Between workshop 1 and workshop 2 we evaluated some of the characteristics that appealed to us about the multitudes of fringes that had emerged over the course of workshop 1. We loved the fluffiness of perimeter fringe; we loved how spatial curved flap fringe could be, not to mention the allure of spiny fringe. The module that we developed could host all of these fringes, was stiff enough to hold its shape when attached to a string along one edge, and had an interior void that made it possible to look through the piece. There was some serious tinkering during weekend 2, and by the end of the day Sunday, we had a module that could be sent out for die cutting.”

Crew: Many thanks to everyone who contributed their time and effort toward a successful build. Lucas Aguero, Joe Aguilar, Jason Anthony, Katie Brennan, Marco Camargo, Claudia Carballada, Bruce Chan, Henry Cheung, Kc Cho, Juan Collantes, Raul Collantes, Jenna Didier, Mark Docdocil, Elly Dorriz, Richard Ellis, Jesse Fleming, Gabe Friedman, Marjory Garrison, Aeden, Gasser-Brennan, Matt Hartman, Oliver Hess, Melissa How, Crystal Hughes, Brent Jacobsen, Gary Kosman, Justin Lui, Lisa Little, Michelle Liechty, Jessica Lim, May Maduong, Samara Mills, Marcos Novak, Hazel Paraoan, Billie Pate, Brendan Ravenhill, Candice Sin, Samuel Starr, Charles Strawter, Jason Skonieczny, Anne Toratt, Ute Waldhausen, Jonathan West, Emily White, and Karina White. Join the fun!

Sponsors:

Fat Fringe is generously sponsored by thePasadena Art Alliance.

Special thanks to Logical Homes, and the Sofa Company.

Media sponsorship by Dwell magazine.

 

Participants: Lucas Aguero, Joe Aguilar, Jason Anthony, Katie Brennan, Marco Camargo, Claudia Carballada, Bruce Chan, Henry Cheung, Kc Cho, Juan Collantes, Raul Collantes, Jenna Didier, Mark Docdocil, Elly Dorriz, Richard Ellis, Jesse Fleming, Gabe Friedman, Marjory Garrison, Aeden, Gasser-Brennan, Matt Hartman, Oliver Hess, Melissa How, Crystal Hughes, Brent Jacobsen, Gary Kosman, Justin Lui, Lisa Little, Michelle Liechty, Jessica Lim, May Maduong, Samara Mills, Marcos Novak, Hazel Paraoan, Billie Pate, Brendan Ravenhill, Candice Sin, Samuel Starr, Charles Strawter, Jason Skonieczny, Anne Toratt, Ute Waldhausen, Jonathan West, Emily White, and Karina White.

MatterApp : Extraterritorial Build

“Extraterritorial Build” was created as an entry to the “Actions, Conversations, and Intersections,” show at the LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park in April of 2010.

The curators invited Materials & Applications to participate, Oliver Hess, was then a co-director there and offered to do it as a MatterApp, his series of workshops developed around materials research and community building experiments and not around a designers vision for a finished product at the outset.  This approach evolved into Aperiodic Industries.

From the M&A website, originally written by Oliver Hess and Sam Starr :

The crew created two modular sections of rolling, wavy skin supported by webs of interlaced bamboo. The two modules were united with a single bamboo on either side to lift the structure higher and yield a compressive force. The webs of interlaced bamboo were held in place with carefully riveted triangular pockets, fused to the larger skin in precise locations. The bamboos were bent and in some cases bound together with tape to give tension to the larger skin. The structure has supports at three points—two near the entrance strapped to the concrete ceiling, and one at the crossing of the arching bamboos by a loop riveted to the skin. The arching bamboos were roped to the concrete columns with specific tying and knotting methods.

The structure grew like bamboo grows, as a grass, reaching out horizontally with subterranean rhizomes. Grasses do not orient around a central model plant; there is no single organizational entry or exit to the system. Every node is a jumping off point, and every point is a line. The Extraterritorial crew acted outside the jurisdiction of a linear trajectory. Solutions emerged from a milieu of mostly failed experiments and progress moved in every direction. Our diagrams resembled maps more than drawings. Volunteers used bamboo to give tension and shape to the fabric, but that was the only constant. Each prototype was a discontinuous jump, something unforeseen.

MatterApp events were envisioned as design/build workshops that would take form according to the interests and varied backgrounds of the participants. With no formal finalized design to guide the project, development precedes organically, each inspiration and solution coming from a different direction. The resulting innovation buds from the social pursuit of problem solving in parallel, yielding exciting final products and new skill sets and experiences related to novel techniques and approaches.

The structure is made from donated bamboo from the Los Angeles Arboretum and corduroy fabric from Brookwood Roll Goods. With food from Palermo’s Restaurant and Mama Mia’s Café, “Extraterritorial” was also made possible with a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

Participants:

Glen Kinoshita, John West, Kyung Cho, Jesse Reding Fleming, Oscar Yu Chun, Carolina Trigo, Mia Case, Christine Eyer, Alexandra Welke, Ramses Sorrel, Blair Ellis, Jimu Okumura, Elizabeth Marley, Ryan Wartena, Karina White, Maureen McCann, Dennis Dollens, Aaron Dang, Jen Fleming, Emily White, Brian Janeczko, Nick Blake, Oliver Hess and Jenna Didier

Birdy Blaster

A small part of a project for Natalie Jerimencenko at Post Masters Gallery in New York City.  This was a bird perch that when sat upon by a bird caused jets to fire water into the garden below.  The construction of the electrical and mechanical system for the Birdy Blaster was a team effort led by Oliver Hess.