Return to Base

That's it! Our suitcases are packed and we're headed home.

As we peruse the over five-thousand images from this latest installation in India, we thought we would send along just a couple of selections to let you know how things turned out.

There's one photo of the final crew on the last day, but that team has had a constantly changing line-up. Dave came to help prep the site and visit the spice markets. Then TJ had to blow glass at a conference back in Ohio, so Mike came over. Then Iris arrived and Sam left. You get the idea. It was like a Broadway cast that had been afflicted with some horrid disease. Our carefully scheduled plans went out the window and the understudies became the show-stoppers. In the end, everyone smiled for the photo despite the spectacular amount of work and the infernal heat.

Goodnight! We're coming home (Arlen, Iris, Steve, Sam, Jennifer, Josh, Nicole, Ari).

Then of course, there's a trio of images that are only related to the extent that they feature 3D prints of sculptural elements from the installation. A little background will help explain how these prints are used. At the beginning of a project, we start by hand-sculpting a model of the installation. Once that's done, this model is digitized and incorporated into a virtual computer model of the building and adjustments are made (e.g., vantages checked and contours refined). When we arrive onsite, we use this virtual computer model as a reference to sculpt the formless glass "fabric" in-situ. The basic shapes are defined by the locations and lengths of the hundreds of minuscule cables that suspend the flexible artwork. But to really finesse it, there is always tweaking that needs to be done.

And that's when these physical 3D prints from the virtual computer model really help. The computer only gets you so far and, while it is great for logistics and big-picture relationships to the space, you really want a physical model to hold in your hands when you're up in the air trying to understand how all the swirling tendrils of the artwork relate. This trio of photos show: a collection of 3D prints; Arlen wearing a 3D print as a hat in a moment of quiet desperation; and Josh referring to one of the prints while refining one of the pieces that float above the lobby bar.

A gaggle of 3D prints to use as references when sculpting onsite.
Arlen primps for the cocktail ball later that evening... and Nik thinks about re-imagining his life as a milliner.
Josh is caught in a hazy moment of contemplation, considering a model of the piece while he sits in the middle of the actual piece.

Somewhere near the end of the installation, we decided that we needed some perspective and respite. So we made the journey to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort with a short excursion to see the palace at Fatehpur Sikri. Upon our return, we buttoned-up the tool crate and did a final cleaning of the sculpture. Until we meet again, Dear India...

On a Sunday afternoon, the team escapes the site to visit a palace.
There is always room in the toolkit for a nice German vacuum cleaner. Iris does a quick "once-over" while the team packs things up.
A view from the balcony looking out and across the swirling madness. That's Ari caught in the middle.

 Photos by Sam Prest