3D UNIT III: Space Frames

Project IIIJ

 Orbiting Mars and Venus

A house constitutes a body of images that give mankind proofs or illusions of stability. We are constantly re-imagining its reality: to distinguish all these images would be to describe the soul of the house; it would mean developing a veritable psychology of the house.

--Gaston Bachelard,The Poetics of Space

Men mistakenly expect women to think, communicate, and react the way men do; women mistakenly expect men to feel, communicate, and respond the way women do. We have forgotten that men and women are supposed to be different. As a result our relationships are filled with unnecessary friction and conflict. Clearly recognizing and respecting these differences dramatically reduce confusion when dealing with the opposite sex. When you remember that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, everything can be explained.

--John Gray, Ph.D, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. (c) 1992


formal: to introduce the studio fundamentals of point, line, plane, and volume.

conceptual: to explore the concepts of viewpoint, empathy, and gender roles and their relationship to art practice.

Project Overview Your challenge is to create a space for the opposite sex using a vocabulary of points, lines, planes. It will be inhabited by a form alluding to your own gender.

Project References


from the lecture: Vladmir Tatlin, Naum Gabo, Antoine Pevsner, Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro, Eva Hesse, Dan Flavin, George Rickey, Kenneth Snelson, Richard Serra, Andy Goldsworthy, Mark di Suvero. Other references: Michael Singer, David Hammons, Simon Rodia, Liza Lou
Vocabulary point, line, plane, volume, negative space, positive space, implied line, implied plane, psychological space, gender roles, empathy, borders,



open. We will provide different weights of styrene plastic sheet, foam core, corrugated cardboard, wire, and bamboo skewers. You will be supplementing this list of "structural elements" with your own materials...some of which may be Gender coded as per in-class discussion.


1. Before coming to class, read the discussion Space Frames for Unit III. Review the Project References above.


a) Generate five word lists that are "gender coded" : 1) materials, 2) processes, 3) connectors, 4) forms, and 5) places. Make separate lists--one from a "male" perspective; another from a "female" perspective.

b) Experiment with word combinations of materials, processes, connections, forms, and places. For example, for "male" you might come up with "steel, bent, riveted, bomb shelter." For "female" you might come up with "silk, fertilize, braided, garden." Some combinations will sound cliched, others not.

c) Try to translate your better word combinations into drawings that contain spaces or depict "places." Relate your palette of materials, processes, connections and places to the spatial building blocks of "points, lines, planes, and volumes".

d) Make a sculptural space for the opposite sex--and inhabit the space with a non-objective form alluding to your sex. Consider both the inside and the outside of your sculpture. How is it presented? On a 10 foot high pole? At the end of a dark hallway? On a simple white cube? In a bucket of hair?

Final thoughts:

Remember, the challenge is not to simply translate conventional architectural spaces into a small scale sculpture. Rather, we are looking for "psychic" spaces that are emotionally charged and perhaps even tell a story about their inhabitants. Is this like Barbie's house with GI Joe as a house guest? Well...we are not making doll houses per se...but abstract, gendered spaces (any habitable form qualifies) invaded by the opposite sex.

Critique Ideas


When you have completed your sculpture, divide into small groups and exchange artworks with another group from the class. Within your group, work together to respond to each sculpture in turn. Consider the following:

1. Describe the techniques used to create the pavilions and explain how various problems were addressed: implied lines and planes, gender roles, design, function, response to problem, etc.).

2. Point out any personal symbols or marks the artist used to indicate a particular meaning or sense of identity.

3. Discuss ideas the artwork seems to communicate. After some sharing of interpretations, attempt to state the "message" of the design in one sentence. (This artwork is about. . .)

4. Explain how the shapes, symbols, or other elements of the design support its message.



Your notebook should include the following:

1. Evidence of your research (print-outs from magazines, web searches, interviews with artists, etc.).

2. Your design process (drawings, computer-printouts, photos).

3. Supplemental materials (receipts, notes about technique or materials)

4. Documentation of the final work.

The above project was developed by Dan Collins.

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