Forrest McCluer

Falls Church, Virginia

In 2001 I began an art project with the goal of creating sculptures from all of the parts from 30 discarded personal computers. Among other things, these sculptures were intended to draw attention to the environmental impact of discarded electronic equipment.
The early sculptures in the 30 Computers project were based on polyhedrons, Bones (a dodecahedron made from computer frames), Skin (an icosahedron made from the computer covers) and Digital Womb (cubiakis icosahedron made from computer shipping boxes). While developing ideas of what to do with the remaining computer parts I began to research other biological entities such as nerves and cells. But when I turned to viruses I was stunned and amazed to see that many were icosahedral. This startling discovery led me into the world of virology. Inspired by these fascinating organisms and their geometric shapes, I was able to find a sculptural home for many of the remaining parts in the Computer Virus Sculpture series.

HIV Fullerene Cone1
HIV Fullerene Cone1
23.5" x 9" x 9"
Stainless steel tiles, wood, plaster, steel

This sculpture is a model of a HIV-1 viron which has the shape of a buckminsterfullerene cone, a stretched out truncated icosahedron. The HIV-1 virons are not identical but all have the common characteristic of having 12 pentagon faces, 7 at one end and 5 at another. This specific fullerene cone is taken directly from the research results of Ganser, et al (1999); it has 1,572 protein molecules, three at each vertex or point. Geometrically, the bonds between points are interpreted as edges of polygons: 252 are hexagons and 12 are pentagons.
The hexagons in this sculpture are stainless steel tiles and the pentagons are formed from wood, the substrate is plaster, MDF and steel. This is my first effort at a fullerene cone, the next one will be covered with circuit boards.\fullerene_cone.htm
Barbie K. Ganser, Su Li, V Y. Klishko, J T. Finch, W I. Sundquist, ”Assembly and Analysis of Conical Models for the HIV-1 Core,” Science, Vol. 1, No. 5398, 80-83, (1999).

Power Supply Virus
Power Supply Virus
12" x 12" x 12"
circuit boards, toroidal inductors

During the late 1950’s as virologist’s research into the structure of viruses began to take direction, they were influenced by Buckminster Fuller and sculptor Kenneth Snelson. Drawing on these insights two scientists developed the idea that virus shells were structured like geodesic domes. Triangulating a dome into 20 is the best way of producing a shell of equivalently bonded identical structures and it is the minimum free energy structure.
In the 1990s the HIV-1 virus was described as having an icosahedral envelope that was covered with 72 nodules on its surface.
This sculpture is a representation of the HIV viral envelope. The materials used are circuit boards taken from discarded PC power supplies. The 72 nodules that cover the surface are the toroidal inductors found in PC power supplies. Since I only had 30 computers to work with, I obtained the remaining 42 toroidals from an electronics recycling company.