University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign
critic: Simon KIM.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Joanne MENG & Gary POLK: Owl in the Bark is a study of camouflage supergraphics and the concealment of tectonic motion. . . .
“It was not until she was within half a mile that I could make out she was one ship [not several] steering a course at right angles, crossing from starboard to port. The dark painted stripes on her after part made her stern appear her bow, and a broad cut of green paint amidships looks like a patch of water.” — Testimony of U-Boat Captain
“It is essential to break up the regularity of outline and this can be easily affected by strongly contrasting shades . . . a giraffe or zebra or jaguar looks extraordinarily conspicuous in a museum but in nature, especially when moving, is wonderfully difficult to pick up.” — John Graham Kerr
Owl in the Bark is a study of camouflage supergraphics and the concealment of tectonic motion. We began by exploring razzle-dazzle camouflage, prey vs predator relationships, tetrahedron-flexagon transfiguration and sound sensory robotics. The end result combines this research to create a robot [animal] capable of transforming from one form into another at the reaction of threatening volume levels, all the while submerging itself in its environment [jungle]. It was important for us to generate immersion, a blending of language in mass and mechanism, while creating considerable motion and transformation of form – producing a phenomenon with endless implications when considered in the design of space.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
JM & GP: Tobias Rehberger; Philip Beasley; Norman Wilkingson’s Ship Dazzle; Gestalt theories of perception; and Flexagons.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
JM & GP: Listening to: ADDAL, Sam Feldt, Bob Acri, and sad violin music.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
JM & GP: Simon Kim, Noa Raviv, and TheVeryMany.
Additional credits and links:
PennDesign FabLab, Mark Yim at UPenn ModLab, Andrew Gardner.