"The Sky Reaching Cube",2002


"The Sky Reaching Cube", 2002, The Sculpture Space, USA.
Wood, latex balloons, helium; 380x380x380 cm (12,5x12,5x12,5 ft).
Form loose freely is following the wind like a balloon. Energy of nature decides, where empty, "potential" cube will follow.
In this project nature is being used as a "Ready-made" form and as a necessary and complementary context as well.

"Transparent Symbol"

"The Sky-Reaching Cube" is the one of the projects that starts up the series of "The Koan's of Nature" and will be devoted to the Unexpected in an open space.
An important aspect of my outdoor projects is nature that is being used in the way as it normally is, showing its constancy, and - to a certain degree - its fortuity and consequence. I believe that the equilibrium of nature can be a base for obtaining our own human equilibrium. Changes in nature are slow and non-dramatic, only exceptionally more impetuous events like tornadoes or earthquakes take place. Does not the equilibrium of nature, which we are part of, make us feel like being balanced inside? On the other hand, we need deep refreshment of the mind so in my opinion that's the reason why some kind of paradox should be involved in the project.
An example of external realization, can be a bridge or footbridge, an object that permanently joins both banks of a river, curiously and finely designed, whether from the engineering or architectural point of view. Sometimes beautifully put into a given location, in high mountains over a stream, or on lowland, joining banks of an idly flowing river. But let's imagine an object, that looks like a bridge, made completely of profiled wire mesh, with a system that is propelled by the wind, installed on masts that raise and lower down the form continuously. The form will have an organic aspect and will be transparent. (The idea of transparency that perpetuates nearly my whole work and deals with philosophical, ethical and ecological aspects is very important for me.)*1
The times when the object is lifted up or lowered down would depend on accidental blowing of the wind, so powers of nature would decide about this, we would say - potential moment of utility. (Of course, only potential, because that wouldn't be an object for everyday usage). Object would work accidentally and inconstantly.
In fact, such a "Footbridge of Nature", would be only for Nature's purposes, because only Nature would be able to walk on it, because it's powers would decide about the destiny and working of the object. (Similarly other projects of mine, The Cloud Room or Sky Reaching Hammock" no longer belongs to us anymore. Clouds took it in their possession. And also,"Sanctuary", can be full of rubble, but not of human origin. And what is "The Great Ear" project is listening about?)
In general my idea about outdoor projects is that they are left for themselves in natural context, left for nature's activity and powers so they respect their powers in a way that they are powered by them, literally and metaphorically, too.
Isn't that so that the model of a sculpture or other architectural realisation like shouldn't be living organisms? Should not their ability to self-regulation be treated as most important?
An architectural or sculptural object as a dynamic, self-regulating organism, co-operating with nature. Lets shape the external form the way as to expose it to the influence of nature. The self-regulating sculpture or architecture - we have here practical aspect; co-operation with nature, can bring only advantages. Ethical one; we must care about the world, the recourses of which are much more smaller and restricted than we have thought up to the present, and also cognitive one: we get deeper knowledge about the environment we live in. There is an option nowadays to treat design of external projects, no matter whether more complicated systems or simple forms as a self regulating structures, co-operating and finally becoming similar in the manner of operation to nature's activities.
Let's try to use the open space as a lens through which we look at culture.

At the moment I'm working on the model of the project but simultaneously thinking about different versions of it. For example lets imagine a huge bridge-like object floating in the air and made of balloons, like little cells of similar size filled with helium. Each balloon would be attached separately to the ground and whole form sensitive to the wind could be suspended over a little valley or a river. *2
I'm working on other versions, too.

*1 Can a realisation placed directly in nature be different from it, or should it rather be a whole with it? Being a whole with the real space it must valorise it. (Perhaps, like in immense ancient buildings we should mark the proportions of the object?) Great metaphors and grass on the meadow, or from nature to symbol and from symbol to nature. Maybe the only significant symbols in contrast with nature are transparent symbols (?!?)
(In this case we have a spirit or a phantom of the form that does not hide or pollute the space. Do we have a right to hide anything?) We must act as if we were transparent guests on earth, which in fact we are. In other words, we should pervade and embrace the space in which we live. It is strange, that anything can be done and is travelling. (There are main tracts and smaller paths. Everything is of the same value.)Transparent symbols appear to be an important choice in the face of nature.
We can assume that transparency, as a metaphor referring to human mind is a certain cultural value. Not literally contained in Buddhist removal, loss of an ego, as an unnecessary filter distorting our relation with the Reality. Similar examples we can
find in Christian tradition (medieval mystics). Transparent symbol suits to the form devoted and living the space. The form is not focusing on itself, more often it's functioning as a dependent on natural processes or can activate their perception.
The form being an embodiment of a transparent symbol does not change the settings in which it is placed but is integrated with them. Not disturbing these settings it shows their whole symbolic power - as it was supposed to.
The wisdom of nature spread out in the space is what is symbolized. An artifact whishes to relate to this wisdom and to expose it. To expose "through" the context of natural space the philosophical aspect of our being-in-the-world as the world of natural process that we are part of. The part originated in a long cycle of filo- and ontogenetic evolution. The question arises here: could not the external form relate to (join) the long evolutionary dance that takes place during ontogenesis?

*2 Should not every fragment of a form be its centre? (As is the case with living organisms or clouds?) The form treated not as an object but as a kind of representation (embracing) of the space focusing on its dynamic and energetic character. (We have here a simple metaphor of the world as a whole). Could not any point of the space or cosmos be its centre point? (Thousands years of civilisations and cultures from various parts of the globe have a positive answer to this question.)
Whether the sphere of art shouldn't be a field of undetermined activity, for example working of nature in a clear form? Symphony of chance, showing order of cosmos. Why nature? Nature is a puzzle, still half-magic, half-impenetrable scientifically space. Here important aspect of external form is a fact, that is left to nature, devoted to it's rule, and not belong to us anymore.
Good form is like a spirit, which does not hold any tights, is like particles of smoke traveling crosswise of time.

"The Footbridge of Nature", construction of masts made of steel, Version made of balloons could be bigger than that (realization in the outdoor would be much more easier and cheaper for maintaining).

Adam Kalinowski
November 27th 2001