Carlo Séquin

Professor of Computer Science
University of California
Berkeley

My 2014 submissions complement my oral Bridges presentation: "LEGO-Knots," describing a modular building-block system for prismatic tubular sculptures. These shapes were inspired by the "Borsalino" sculpture exhibited by Henk van Putten in 2013. It had a very modular geometry, making use of just two simple, swept geometrical shapes to compose the sculpture. The art objects that I have selected show three different ways in which this modular concept can be extended: I first modify the sweep path while maintaining the 3-fold symmetry; then I change the cross section to a triangle and introduce 4-fold symmetry; and finally I extend the LEGO-Knot part family to be able to make relatively free-form constructivist sculptures.

Flipped-Lobe Borsalino
3" x 6" x 6"
ABS plastic, shaped by Fused Deposition Modeling
2014

This sculpture maintains the basic geometry and 3-fold symmetry of van Putten's "Borsalino." However, in the middle of the three pairs of curved connector pieces, linking subsequent end-caps, a straight extender piece has been inserted. It is just long enough to push the end cross sections past one another, so that they come into a diagonal corner-to-corner alignment. Such a pair of end cross sections is then capped off with a new end-cap which is produced by a rotational sweep of a square around its corner, parallel to a face diagonal. This can be seen as an end-cap with a "rhombic" cross section, and the resulting sculpture now gives the impression that the square cross section is being swept while standing on one of its corners.

4-Lobe Bow-tie Borsalino
3" x 6" x 6"
ABS plastic, shaped by Fused Deposition Modeling
2014

Four triangular prisms can be made to pass with one of their edges through a common point (at the center of gravity of the resulting sculpture) so that every prism has two faces that are co-planar with a face of one of its two neighbors. This compact arrangement of four beams has overall 4-fold (D4) symmetry. This symmetry is maintained when the eight prism ends are capped off with four suitable helical end-caps in the shape of a bow-tie. The resulting sculpture is reminiscent again of the Borsalino shape introduced by Henk van Putten.

Pas de Deux
17" x 11"
Photograph on paper
2014

The fabrication of several new modular parts to extend Henk van Putten's Borsalino shape in different ways has yielded a rich assortment of tubular snap-together parts with square cross sections based on the LEGO-Duplo module. Inspired by work by Bruce Beasley, Paul Bloch, and Jon Krawczyk, these parts have been used to make constructivist sculptures of a more free-form style. "Pas de Deux" is a sculpture resulting from two intertwined sweeps along a space curve composed of several pieces of circular and helical arcs. The resulting 12-inch tall sculpture is presented in two photographs taken from different angles.