Quintessence

A series of interactive geometric objects, as well as a dodecahedron dome that people can enter and see a projecting polyhedral star sculpture, with synthesized audio playing.

Class: Intermedia Perfomance Art
Year: 2018
Collaborators: Elaine Di Falco, Austin Poorbaugh

Known as quinta essentia in Medieval Latin, the dodecahedron and its accompanying objects and sounds serve to represent the intrinsic beauties of geometry. Of the five platonic solids, the dodecahedron is held by some to represent the universe as a whole, while the other four serve as the primal elements of creation. Playing on the idea of nested universes, multiple dodecahedrons exist in the space representing a universe we can travel into, a universe we can peer into, and a universe we can control.

The major interactive dodecahedron was created through the use of PVC piping and custom 3D-printed connectors. Four faces of the polygon were covered with stretched muslin to be used as a light-catching surface for two projectors and the laser cut dodecahedron-shaped star projecting lamp.

In order to convey the concept of macro vs. micro, close-up footage of various substances and biological samples were chosen to be projected on three of the faces of the big “universe” dodecahedron. The last roof face of the shape was left projection-less in order to catch the stars from the star-lamp.

As a performance aspect to the universe-building, three handheld platonic solids were made, an icosahedron, a tetrahedron, and another dodecahedron. These were emblazoned with Greek astronomical symbols and outfitted with interior gyroscopes and lights. As the shapes are handled and twisted and turned, the gyroscopic outputs were converted into audio signals within Max MSP,  effectively creating a set of Platonic instruments.