Progress Report: April 13th

With about 7 weeks until FLOW15 opens, things are progressing on many fronts. 

FIRST: I'm nearing completion of casting the city names in 1" thick and 8" high letters made of birdseed, gelatin and corn syrup (non-high-fructose variety). 142 characters in all, with 6 additional letters spelling the name NIMRUD, which is an ancient city in Iraq near Mosul. I may include NIMRUD as it's ruins are currently under attack from the barbaric miscreants of ISIS and I want the work to be timely and of the moment.

Here's a few process images from the casting process, which is very lo-tech. Heat water, add gelatin and corn syrup. Stir into seeds. Mash seeds into molds. Let set and remove to dry. So simple, your three-year old could do it.

SECOND: My fellow FLOW artist Rob Swainston is helping me cut the letters for the small characters on his CNC machine. After cutting one test, I realized the 4" height was too small to be easily visible. So I'm increasing the size to 6" and making the arrow-frames slightly larger to accommodate this increase. Here's a sketch showing this larger size:

I'm also considering listing only the 'YEARS' on each sign, leaving out the 'MILES'. I believe this might be a better for a variety of reasons: less visually cluttered, the cities named don't exist, so naming physical distance is disingenuous and the emphasis is shifted by focusing more on the element of time and less on distance. I'm not 100% on this change, but getting closer. The sketches above show a couple variations that I might use.

THIRD: I leave Thursday for a brief Mini-Residence at Sculpture Space in Utica NY. I'll be using their facilities to fabricate the steel and cedar frames that hold each set of letters. I've been ordering tools and materials for several weeks and having them shipped straight there. It should be an intensely busy 10 days. But I hope to return to the city with 16 frames, ready to receive their birdseed letters and be installed.

FOURTH: I've been consulting with architects and engineers about the structural aspects of the project and hope to deliver finished drawings by the end of the week to the folks at the NYC Parks Department.

FIFTH: Rob and I both ordered some fancy telephone poles from a company in Ohio for our projects. Each pole is 22' long and run through a lathe to make them a consistent diameter (unlike a regular telephone pole, which tapers). I hope to have them delivered to the sites by the week of May 11th.

More soon…