Manuel Báez

Artist/Architect/Associate Professor of Architecture
Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, Carleton University
Ottawa, ON, Canada

Marking the 2019 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, Diluvio offered an immersive and interactive exhibition to Cinquecento: Carleton Celebrates Leonardo da Vinci. It was inspired by Leonardo’s Deluge drawings, speculations on perception and the correlations revealed by his studies of the flow of water, air, light, shadows and energy. The complexity of such phenomena is revealed through the highly pliable emergent properties of aluminum wire-mesh that’s folded into the classic Miura-ori tessellation pattern. Recalling Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the unlit exhibition offered a deluge of self-activated shadow-projections to stimulate the imagination and gain insights into the inner workings of the human mind and its conceptions.

Diluvio: Teatro delle Ombre © M. Baez
Diluvio: Teatro delle Ombre © M. Baez
160 x 160 x 50 cm
Folded aluminum wire-mesh, monofilament and pushpins

Working with wire-mesh, Diluvio: Teatro delle Ombre (Deluge: Theatre of Shadows) explored the sculptural potential of a large woven sheet that’s folded into the Miura-ori pattern. When compared to previous smaller-scale investigations, this allowed for self-similarity at different scales of organization and related complex emergent properties to be explored. The flexibility of the folded membrane acquires a higher degree of fluid properties due to the added deformability of the mesh weave. This allowed for haptic explorations of the shape-shifting properties of the membrane, including the self-activated, highly dynamic and evocative shadow-projections of the sculptural configurations, reminiscent of Leonardo’s studies of dynamic phenomena. This exhibition sculpture with shadow projections is a collaboration with Shaylyn Kelly and Walter Fu.