Ruth Allen: Glass Sculptor

Sustainable Stubbies Shop

Shanghai World Expo 2010

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In October 2009 I was one of four short listed Australian based glass artists to respond to the following brief (extract);

The Australian Capital Territory, represented by arts ACT, invites Expressions of Interest from artists to design, fabricate, package and assist with the installation of a public artwork. As part of an arrangement with the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade a commissioned glass art work will be installed within the Australia Pavilion for the duration of the 2010 Shanghai World Exposition. The work will then be relocated and installed in its permanent location at the ACT Women’s and Children’s Hospital, currently in its preliminary design stages. This art work will be produced in partnership with the ACT Government initiative and world class glass-making facility, the Canberra Glassworks. The opportunity will allow the artist to work on a large scale to create a work in glass intended for two specific architectural sites and to respond sympathetically to its dual purposes.

I responded in part with the following;

Creative Response/Design Idea
I am excited by the opportunity to offer a glass installation proposal for the dual purpose of the Shanghai World Exposition 2010 and its eventual permanent placement within the ACT Women’s and Children’s Hospital. I have been developing The Synergetic Installation Series over the past 5 years (see documentation) and believe it is ideal aesthetically and practically for the dual purpose nature of this brief. The proposed work Pulse is part of the Synergetic Series and based on the sustainable philosophies and designs of visionary Buckminster Fuller. Fuller studied the inner geometries of the universe to design sustainable structures and cities which focused on the synergy of the health of the planet, individuals and communities. The themes entwined with Pulse resonate with both the Shanghai World Exposition 2010 theme of Better City, Better Life as well as the Australian Pavilion’s focus on smart manufacturing, design and environmental sustainability. Pulse also explores the health benefits of color and movement to stimulate change in the viewer’s physical and meta-physical state and sits well within the dual contexts of the commission. Pulse consists of 60 Synergetic glass forms of varying dimensions (maximum 450 x 270 x 220mm) composed in the form of a labyrinth or spiraling eye (5000 x 2500mm). The labyrinth represents the impetus toward personal and global change, the movement towards healthy individuals, communities and cities through a positive vision for the future. The glass forms will be finished with a satin surface quality allowing a unique absorption of light that is truly magical. The dramatic and dynamic illumination of the work will be a central feature of Pulse. Designed by award winning firm Electrolight, the lighting system will consist of a series of 20 concealed spotlights circling the piece, casting forever changing and moving shadows. The projection of light moving in a circular fashion will create rotating shadows giving the illusion of extensive depth and volume. Colour changing LED spotlights will be explored, utilizing their long-life span, low energy consumption and discreet size. The lights will be connected to a concealed dimmer which will control and regulate the lighting sequence at a proposed rate of 120sec/revolution/per colour. A shifting direction of shadows will emerge, echoing the passing of time, through gentle fades that will seamlessly blend the movement of light, the sensation is as if watching the day travel from dawn to dusk alluding to the necessity of timely action. The proposed artwork is entirely self supporting. The presentation structure consists of two curved walls that bend in opposite directions to create a substantial footprint and allow the work to stand free from any pre-existing architectural features. Art, installation and exhibition fabrication specialists, Thylacine will prefabricate a welded aluminum sub-strate in nine sections. These can be easily deconstructed, transported and reconstructed on site. The exterior curved wall consists of 3mm flexible ply with an adhered 3mm anodized aluminium vaneer. The surface has a matt metallic sheen complimenting the interior of the VIP lounge area and resistant to greasy fingerprints. The enclosed cavity (interior curved wall) is 3mm flexible ply with a matt white 3mm laminate providing a clean surface to mount the glass art and receive projected light. The Synergetic forms become a community of objects connected by their shadows to create one holistic work. In this way the work speaks of the necessity of individuals, communities and nations to act as one to nurture sustainability. Composed of multiple forms Pulse offers flexibility in composition and design allowing each stage of the commission to be readdressed if necessary to suit the changing nature of contexts.

The proposal was accompanied by a number of schematic drawings, a dvd showcasing the dynamism of the work and several still images detailing light changes.

Unfortunately this proposal was not chosen.