Yumeng Zhuang

Pneumatic Hydraulics from Kinetic Traces

Kinetic Traces is a collection of women’s high heels designed by Silvia Fado, bringing high-end fashion aesthetics and high-performance sports footwear together.

What feature of the work could we specifically evolve into a technique for wearable kinetic sculpture or costume?

Silvia’s design used a lot of linear hydraulic cylinders, quite different from the inflatable bags or balloons we saw in class, and I think it could offer stronger force while not sacrificing too much “softness”.

What details of the artwork or concept are not immediately apparent and how do they inform the work?

I thought the hydraulic structures in her designs were not functional, but in the about page, the artist said that she had worked with engineers and architects to analyze force impact on the shoe and the wearer and these cylinders often worked as shock absorbers.

Are there closely related works?

For a similar modern aesthetics, I found it attractive to expose the tubing of the pneumatic structure as part of the design. This work doesn’t involve a moving part or actual inflatables, but I like how the tubes themselves are no longer something we need to cover.

Algaculture, 2010

The project is called Algaculture, by Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta. It speculates on a future when we breathe in and out of an algae tank that may even become part of out body.

I think it would be interesting to attached something to these green tubes, or to exaggerate the hydraulic cylinders, so that we have something both functional and striking.