Today we shifted to the virus-making portion of Gift Horse, where anyone can assemble a virus sculpture to be placed inside the belly of the Trojan Horse. The gesture is to gather people in real space, give them a way to hand-construct their “artwork” and to hide hundeds of the mini-sculptures inside the horse.
The first virus to go inside, the Rat of the Chinese zodiac, was The Andromeda Strain, an imaginary virus from the film. This father-daughter team cut, folded and glued the paper sculpture together and she did the honors of secreting it inside the armature.
It takes a long time to cut each virus from the printed sheet. This is where the lasercutter from the Tech Shop came in handy. In the afternoon, we traced the outlines of the Snow Crash virus and tried cutting it out. After about an hour of fiddling around with settings and alignment, I was able to get a batch done.
Hurray for mechanized production!
This halved the assembly time from 30 minutes to 15 minutes, bypassing the tedious cutting step. Perhaps this is a compromise in the process of hand-construction techniques, but I’ll gladly make the trade-off for practicality.
The next person to sit with us was Jeff who worked on one of the freshly-cut Snow Crash viruses.
Compared to last night’s construction frenzy, today was calm and involved detail work and time on the computer to preparing the paper viruses sculptures.
The horse did venture outside of South Hall and we were both anxious about whether or not it would fit through the 14-foot high rollup doors. We had taken measurements and had planned to make it with just 2 inches of clearance. But you never know about human error.
Once again, the 3D model corresponded to reality. Phew.
Although the wooden armature is beautiful by itself, the printed wood panels that make up the exterior cladding will be stunning. But, the environment at South Hall is too dusty (our neighbors are both sawing lots of wood), so we are beginning what we can the “stagecraft” portion of the project â€” creating the illusion that the horse will appear like a 3D model. Here, we are painting what will be the spaces between printed panels, so that you see black in between. This will make more sense in a couple days.
The first part of the day was what I’ve often experienced while making projects onsite: several runs to box hardware stores looking around for the right fittings and being horribly inefficient. By mid-afternoon we hit our stride and fortunately, all the measurements we made in the Sketchup model of the Gift Horse translated perfectly to real life. Astounding.
Before we can assemble the horse, we have to build that cart that it will be wheeled around on.
The cart is rated to hold 2000 lbs, which hopefully will be over-engineered since I’m not sure of the exact weight of the horse. With 8 casters on the bottom and trying to figure out a good wagon assembly, it took us a while to get a basic form assembled (a shout out here to our friends Brett Bowman and Zarin Gollogly who helped make this possible). By the end of the day, we were close but still not finished.
Sidetracked by socializing, we got a chance to catch up with some old friends, including James Morgan (pictured below), some of the aforementioned folks from yesterday and also some new ones such asÂ Chico MacMurtrie, ex-San Francisco resident who now lives in Brooklyn.
Other people we got a chance to talk to include Ken Gregory, who was a generous donor of the Gift Horse Kickstarter campaign and DC Spensley, a pal of mine I know through Second Life.Â We also met two folks fromÂ Minnepolis Art on Wheels (MAW), who were telling me that their sketchy motel room came equipped with a baseball bat. Whoa! Everyone was setting up today. Lots of energy and friendliness abounded and I’ll have more on the various projects in the coming days. On the first setup day, the most visually striking thing I saw were all the wrecked cars from the Empire Drive-In project.
And behind us is the TechShop building their shared ShopBot — the very machine that we used to make Gift Horse.
The synopsis: Victoria Scott and myself are building a 13-foot high Trojan Horse for the 01SJ Biennial to celebrate the viral nature of art and ideas. For 10 days before the event, we will be leading public workshops where we will teach anyone to build a virus using basic papercraft techniques of cutting, folding, and gluing.
The hundreds of viruses will go into the belly of the horse and will be released into the San Jose Museum of Art on September 18th in a boisterous public ceremony.
These are the first 4 viruses that are part of the Gift Horse project for the upcoming 01SJ Biennial, built originally as 3D models and then translated into paper sculptures. We are making 12 in total and stuffing hundreds of them inside the 13-foot high Trojan Horse.
From left to right, we have Tobacco Mosaic Virus — the first virus ever discovered, then Smallpox, historically significant since it was eradicated (save for two repositories in storage); then Andromeda Strain — an extra-terrestrial virus — from the 1971 movie. Finally there isÂ Dengue Fever, which has no known vaccine, is usually non-fatal, and is spread through mosquitos and is significant due to its rampant increase from climate change, especially in non-western countries.
We based the physical models on these reference images, abstracting designs from them.
We have been busy working on the internal structure and final models in Sketchup. The skeleton proved to be an advanced wood project since the exterior printed digital panels (see model above) will be exactly fitted to make it look like giant-sized 3D model of a horse.
Working with our friend, Rob Bell, we have come up with this preliminary Sketchup design, which will be computer-cut with his ShopBot. This awesome piece of machinery, along with his expert skills, takes the 3D files and makes exactly the shape we need from a sheets of 4×8 wood.
The 13-foot high Trojan Horse will be filled with paper viruses, built by the public. On September 18th, it will be part of the Green Prix â€“ a parade of “green” vehicles.Â Several costumed Greek warriors will push it through the streets of San Jose and into the museum. At 4pm on Sept. 18th, we will “gift” it to the museum.Â Check out the video and please consider a donation.