Monday, February 02, 2009

Celebrating Soho

I was pleased to get this invitation yesterday, was thinking about it just now when buying a cup of Soho blend, mixed with Midtown, at Noah's Bagels this morning, en route to Cleveland High with Tara.

Soho (a neighborhood in lower Manhattan) is where Kenneth keeps a truly amazing studio, packed with memories of past glories, shades of adventures to come.

The last time Tara and I got to visit, he was preparing for a show at Versailles in Paris, showed us a scale version of his Supine Dragon. His Forest Devil is in our Portland Art Museum, plus I snapped this photo of his V-X-II in Chattanooga that time, am the proud owner of his Barrel Tower.

As Kenneth's first web wrangler back in the day, I studied his relationship with Bucky and his Portrait of an Atom, in addition to his tensegrity sculptures.

Thanks to my familiarity with this internationally recognized artist and his work, other noteworthy characters would contact me, including Julian Voss-Andreae (a Wanderer), who was later able to meet with Kenneth, as did Flextegrity's Sam Lanahan, first introduced to me by Fuller scholar par excellence Trevor Blake, thanks to the Tetrascroll connection (LaJean just sent me notice of their new shipping address).

Kenneth and E.J. Applewhite also had a good meetup, I think in part because they both considered me a loyal friend, thereby maybe helping to heal famous the Fuller-Snelson rift we've all read about (Ed was loyal to Bucky, through lots of storms and stresses).

In affording me this opportunity to collaborate on a web site, and in so many other ways, Kenneth has added value and richness to my life. I am forever grateful. The guy is as charming as his wife is adorable.

On a couple occasions, after staying with Kenneth, I would train up the Hudson to the Rhinecliff station to stay with Stuart Quimby and Cary Kittner, the dymanic duo behind the now defunct Design Science Toys, creators of Tensegritoy based on Snelson's work. Cary, a certified genius, was another early innovator in this emerging field, as was Sam.

Stuart, Cary and I worked as a team on StrangeAttractors, which I still sometimes use when showcasing my art to prospective new patrons (I did the ray tracings on the box and for the instruction booklet -- I also wrote the informative booklet that comes with the glow-in-the-dark Space Ball from DaMert, originally developed by Roger Gilbertson, whose "muscle wires" idea is likewise part of the elastic geometry mix).

Gerald de Jong's "elastic interval geometry" (EIG), pioneered with assistance from Karl Erickson, Russell Chu, other first power users of Gerald's Struck (a Java EIG application), was likewise inspired by the tensegrity concept, and helped spawn a whole subculture of new software development attractive to artists and designers.

I just got a note from Gerald yesterday in fact, pointing me to this open source Python project called Nodebox | Evolution, reminiscent of his Darwin @ Home in some ways (maybe check the embedded video at my studio's MySpace page).

I hope I get to New York on business one day soon, where there's lots going on in open source and design science.