Thursday, April 14, 2011

UMMA Installation - Photoformance

I recently completed working on an installation at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Here’s a link to the web site for it: Photoformance: An Empathic Environment, and here's a review: UMMA's 'Photoformance' installation finds several top talents exploring notions of 'skin'

Shown below are the base surfaces designed by Monica Ponce de Leon and Maciej Kaczynski. My role was to help write the computer code to triangulate the surface, generate "tabs" so the triangles could be fastened together, and lay them out flat so they could be fabricated.

Here is the result of our computer code – a triangulated surface. This is a crude computer rendering – the actual material is lighter in color.

Next, all the triangle were "unrolled" flat so they could be cut on the CNC router. The final step of the code, written by Maciej, was adding the details to each tab so they can be folded, and attached to one another. There are 2072 parts – every one unique – and all carefully numbered!

This is the material they are produced from – 0.02” thick plastic. The blue is a peel off cover over each sheet.

Here are the parts being cut on the CNC router:

They come off the router quite dusty and need to be cleaned: 

Here parts are folded up and assembled into groups of six triangles:

These get transported to the site…

… and assembled…


  1. Seeing the process makes the exhibit that much more interesting, IMHO. I liked that the UMMA docent had some extra triangles for people to handle.

  2. Also, you should add this link--The MI Daily photographer got such a nice view of the installation in place:

  3. This looks sweet! How many people did it take to assemble the final structure?

  4. I'd say there were about 15 people involved in the on site assembly. In getting the parts ready for assembly there were 25-30. Here's a link with the names of all involved in the architectural portion: Participants

  5. Is there any chance for sharing the code? I am looking for ability of extruding the triangulated surface exactly like in your example