Originally, I was inspired by the Tower of Babel and its connection between books, languages, and human knowledge. I wanted to build a intriguing installation amongst the book shelves that resembles the imaginary design of the tower, and hopefully invoke discussions about human’s desire to advance their understanding of the universe further, and the library’s role in this process.

Notable Successes

The final product is a beautiful “night lamp-like” form that is pleasing to look at. The aesthetic of the “tower” came out better than I expected, especially with the led light being diffused and shined through the semi-transparent fabric, and the warm led light I chose fit well with the atmosphere of the library.

To support the final spiral fabric shape, the internal structure, although might be overengineered, is an elegant construct that is the result of careful modeling and calculating in SolidWorks, and a sleepless night of assembling and gluing.

To my surprise, the final result is notably rigid, as it still stands intact in my apartment till this day (May 11th).

Even More Notable Failures

At first I was going to embroil the fabric with the original text from the Bible that describes the tower, but encrypted using Caesar’s cipher as a metaphor for the LORD confounding human language. However, after a small scale prototype of this idea, I realized that this would be too much work even with the automatic embroidery machine, as the fabric is 6 meters+ long. Ideally I would like this or some other form of decoration to hint more that this is referring to a classic tale, so that the audience can be guided a little when thinking about this piece.

Another thing I want to improve is the process. One of the most important lessons I learned from this class is that it is crucial for an artist to see what they want to make quickly, and iterate over that light weight prototype, instead of let the idea lives only in their head forever. I definitely did the latter in this case, by the time I realized that I need to change something to the design, I was already too committed to the “intricate” internal structure to change course.