“A Brief History of Aviation” by David Henderson

“A Brief History of Aviation” by David Henderson


(tool grinds) – While the three pieces in this show is the biggest piece is the
one I’m sitting in right now which is titled A Brief
History of Aviation. And the genesis of it originally is from a cathedral in England called Bath Abbey which is built in the 16th century and which employs a kind of a vaulting in the ceiling called fan vaulting which is only used in England. It’s only used in about
a dozen places in England and was not very common and probably because it’s
quite complex geometrically. The amazing thing is the earliest example of
it’s from the 12th century. Just kind of hard to believe
that somebody actually built something that shaped like that and got it to stand up. So, I had had a photo of
this cathedral ceiling, the nave of this cathedral and I had turned the photo on its side and I just got very
interested in that shape and then when I came to do this show here, I kept looking at these
beautiful tresses in the ceiling and something about that and
also the fact that this shape, this room is kind of
square, the section this way is almost like a square. So I started thinking
about maybe putting this form into this space in kind of a circle in a square thing. So, taking what is originally a structural thing and making it nonstructural and doubling the whole thing up obviously. And the whole piece is built out of the same materials that they used to build ultralight aircraft. So, the ribs are foam core with
the fiberglass skin on them which makes the foam very stiff. So these ribs are very rigid. When you start working
with these materials, everything’s very flexible. Somehow you turn in this very stiff thing. It’s sort of a magic trick,
technological magic trick. And then they’re skinned with this fabric which is the exact same
fabric they use on airplanes to cover wings and control surfaces and it’s glued on and then you
heat shrink it with an iron. So, it tightens up. (chime music) so, my idea partly was to
bring that kind of space like out of a real religious context into just a normal context
and see what it would do. ‘Cause you know you go
into cathedral like that and it’s very all-inspiring but it’s got this very
heavy religious overtones so I was kind of interested
in just taking the whole space out of that context
and seeing if it would sort of do the same thing somewhere else and made out of completely
different kind of material. So it’s kind of displaced
in space and time both. And there are definitely things I would have done differently if I had to do it over again. There’s things I would have made stiffer. I’d like to take this after this show, I’d like to try and put it somewhere else. To do that, it’ll have to be reconfigured almost certainly ’cause this
is made to fit this width and it actually relies on the walls for some of its structure,
pushing out on the walls. So in the form it’s in right now, it could not be free standing. However, if it was engineered
a little bit differently, it could be freestanding. So that’s something
I’m gonna be working on when this show’s over. Try and find somewhere else to put it. All this piece is made in 2008, it’s called The Glorious First of June. The piece is entirely made out of carbon fiber epoxy resin. So it’s extremely light. I’ve been working with
these shapes for a few years which is, I call it toroid. I’m not sure what other people call it but it’s the inside of a
torus which is a donut shape. So the middle of it is
what’s known as a hyperbolic surface which curved
two different directions at the same time. I use it as a kind of
a negative space almost so that the actual piece itself kind of walks on this borderline
between being an object and being a spacial
delineator kind of thing. The third piece in the
show is this orange piece on the wall behind me which doesn’t quite directly relate to these other two pieces. The other piece does not
however it is generated from circles and squares so it
relates to the big piece pretty closely. It’s three waves that
overlap, they intersect and the interest of the
piece is in the weird things that happen where the intersections are. And the sort of unpredictable
things that happen so, it’s, I suppose, about life and the way you go through it and you do something here and then that leads to
various other things happening and that may collide with something else. If you had done something else, it would have had a different outcome. So it relates to that, to
me it relates a lot to that. It’s interesting to watch
what happens to these ripples in the things that get
generated out of it. If I did it again, again
I would make it stiffer. There’s certain parts of it that I would beef up quite
a bit, make more rigid. It caused some problems but
nothing that serious so. (chime music)

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