by Yuya Zhou / in MATERIAL & TECHNIQUE RELATED / on 10/24/2021

This is a one-week project for my sculpture course in California College of the Arts. Each student get four different items randomly. The student needs to use these four items to complete a themed sculptural object.

These are what I got: a piece of tree bark, a broken lamp, a cardboard tube and a dozen of pink zippers.

After that, there is a theme lottery for all students. The word I got was: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The objects I got have nothing related to either artificial or intelligence. What am I suppose to do to make an Artificial Intelligence with tree bark, cardboard tube, a broken lamp and pink zippers?

Here is the tip from me: when you feel like having no clue to a project, it is always helpful to start with brainstorming:

So, this is what I think about Artificial Intelligence:

    • Electricity
    • Light-Lamp-Light bulb
    • Smart
    • Brain-Human brain/Circuit board
    • Shape of Brain- Color/Texture/…

I played with the four items to find some inspirations: I cut the cardboard tube open by following the spiral structure on its surface. I disassembled the broken lamp and separated the light bulb from the lamp shade.

During the exploration, I found that there was a thin plastic-like layer attached inside the lamp shade. The layer broke into pieces when I tore it apart from the lamp shade.

I placed these pieces on the tree bark and magic happened: It has a keyboard-like appearance which reminds me of database and calculus.

Suddenly, I got the idea!

The cardboard tube was cut in a spiral structure and bent in a brain-like shape. I sprayed the cardboard tube in pink for two reasons: Firstly, the pink color is matching the color of zippers, which could create a relationship between cardboard and zippers; Secondly, the pink-ish color reminds me the color of flesh.

Due to the curved structure of the cardboard, I glued the pink zippers in a twisted shape on the edge of the tree bark by using a glue gun. 

The long tree bark was placed as the main body of the sculpture. It looked like a spine that connected to the brain. Besides, I glued the light-colored plastic pieces onto the tree bark, which created a cool texture on the surface.

To present the feeling of technology, I hanged the sculpture in a dark room by some fish wire so that the whole object can get “floated” in the air.

Besides, remember the brainstorm I had? I want some electrical element in this project. So, I put the light bulb (which was originally from the broken lamp) underneath. I used a black tape to fix the electrical wire to the ground and make the wire invisible. Thus, the whole sculpture will be glowing in the dark when the light is on.

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