By: Dani, Natalia, and Carolyn
Overall, watching Colby perform and a crowd of people enjoying the performance was an amazing and fulfilling closure to this month-long project. It was so exciting to see the kinematic sculpture that we had worked so long and hard on finally work. Watching people get excited over the inflatable popping out of the tuba was very amusing. It was especially funny to hear people speculating how it was powered. A few of us heard people commenting about how it was “powered by the tuba player”. Apart from enjoying people’s comments and the performance, overall we were just happy that we were able to get the main effect we originally wanted. Although the project shifted themes several times, in each iteration of the project we consistently wanted a motion that was a slow rising and falling and possibly opening like a blooming flower (which was the very first idea). I believe that with the mushroom-shaped stacked inflatable slowly opening up from inside the tuba we were finally able to achieve this motion. In the end, we decided to enhance this motion using the flower garlands. They also made the inflatable more visually appealing and flower-themed. We are all very proud of our final kinetic sculpture!
Apart from enjoying the performance, there were a few things that, if we were to do this again, we would probably change. On the very first iteration of our performance, we encountered some technical difficulties. Although some of these involved the playground not starting on time, the rest were due to the sculpture getting caught on itself. Although we can’t say exactly what happened with the code during the first performance, as it was working during rehearsals and worked during the second performance, the sculpture getting tangled was mainly due to how we packed it inside of the mute. If we were to do this performance again, we would have packed the inflatable less tightly and made sure that the garlands weren’t tangled. Another thing that we could have done was to create a net around the top of the sculpture that would prevent it from spilling out before it started so that it did not need to be packed into the mute so tightly. However, despite this, we believe that our kinematic piece worked really well!
Practice Session During Tech Rehearsal
It was during the final tech practice session where we heard our tuba player’s piece for the first full run and used that as a guideline for timing the breathing of the inflatable itself. In the video above, Dani is manually controlling the swells of the costume fan inflation, to see what effect this would give in a final performance. After this Carolyn took the recorded video of the song and timed the rising and falling motions of the sculpture with the music to enhance its effect.
Design and Creation Process
Inserting our homemade mute into the tuba, we noticed that the tuba’s aperture provided extra support for the inflatable to grow vertically. Some thought was given to how the tuba player might move the structure itself, such as swaying the tuba back and forth as he played. However, we decided to allow the piece to breathe itself, and let it fall into its natural resting state. However, to provide additional support to the piece we decided it was best to anchor the inflatable part of the piece to the mute. This allowed us to achieve a more dramatic rising and falling motion that we were looking for. Below is an image of how the mute looked in the tuba withought the inflatable.
After this first iteration of our project, we also decided that it would be best to drill some holes at the bottom of the mute. This was to allow the costume fan to get air and reduce some of the back pressure that Colby felt when playing with our homemade mute.
In the first iteration of attaching pleated strings of polyester, we explored different materials to have cascading out of the inflatable structure. The weight of certain materials, such as the felt shown in the video, had a noticeable effect on the balance of the structure. Building off our initial prototypes, we decided to move forward with the polyester pleats, as they provided a lightweight and airy appearance without drastically pulling down the inflatable. Included below are some images of us creating and dying the petals we used in the final version of our kinematic sculpture.