BRADFORD STUART AND
HIS TENSEGRITY SCULPTURES
In the 80's I studied sculpture at U.C. Santa Cruz and completed training to teach High School art. In 1993 my love for computer graphics took me to Cogswell College to study 3D design and animation, and for the remainder of the 90's I worked as an animator at the (AutoCAD) software company Autodesk, Inc.
The 3D "solid" modeling skill set that I gained became useful in designing and developing an invention project that had its roots in Buckminster Fuller's "vector equilibrium" spatial model. I had the idea of creating a "Lego" type interlocking building set that was based on the tetrahedron and octahedron.
A great many inventors in the past have worked in this area, but no one had come up with an effective connector system that could hold the triangular surfaces securely together, much less design the parts so that they were "injection moldable." Thanks to the process of stereo-lithography, I now have a working set of prototypes to demonstrate a revolutionary connecting system!
I discovered that within Fuller's isotropic vector matrix existed a "perfect pair of subdivisions," one from the tetrahedron and the other from the octahedron, that combine into "left-right" or asymmetrical orientations.
These shapes are featured in sculptures shown here, and evidence just a few of the design possibilities found by "breaking out of" Fuller's vector equilibrium, and then finding hidden order in the "chaos." When one experiments with the "odd" compound angles that occur in combining these elements into a large assemblies, an amazing twisting and turning through space (on a rare occasion) comes back to reconnect to itself like an angular version of the mobius strip. I calculated that, due to the "three way" connecting surfaces on these asymmetrical parts, a construction set of 50 of them would allow for approximately 3 to the 50th power of possible orientations, or nearly septillion unique superstructures! It's my hope that the vast exploration potential of these 3D forms will eventually become available to our future architects and engineers at a young age, before their minds have been too "linear-ized!"
Years ago I began constructing models using cardboard, tape and glue (as shown in the multiple model image).The translucent sculpture also pictured here is assembled from hand cast poly-urethane parts using a marine-grade clear silicone and stands about 4 feet tall. It consists of multiples of just two unique forms, numbering about 100 in all. The refraction qualities of this piece are spectacular in direct sunlight, and I'm looking forward to eventually working with polished surface parts and truly prismatic lighting effects (as is pictured in the computer rendering with the wood grain backdrop).
Founder of "The Small Business School" and producer of the PBS television series "100 Billion Dollar Ideas" Bruce Camber writes in his paper "Business Models: 101":
"Though Buckminster Fuller made an art form of these basic solids, and the four-sided tetrahedron shows up predominantly as a basic building block in the sciences, especially chemistry, it appears that nobody has been making models by going inside each of these basic solids. Yes, and even though I have asked hundreds of people, "If a tetrahedron (or an octahedron) were to be divided into perfect parts, what would be the simplest expression?" and nobody has had a quick answer -- architects, biologists, chemists, mathematicians, physicists, I know there will be a day when five year olds will easily know the answer. This needs to be intuitive and we need to advance a science of interior relations."
If you're interested in being involved with a "new age" discovery invention that I've mentioned here, I welcome you to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
"It is interesting that the intellect's attempt to create a quantum theory of consciousness (i.e., experience is a consequence of the collapse of the wave function), runs into the "glass ceiling" of the limits of its own dimension and cannot progress farther without a paradigm jump (i.e., consciousness level 500). It then opens into the paradigm of reality of the mystic.
It could be said that the quantum physicist is the expert of content, and the mystic is the expert of context. This interface is the locus of the jump from the linear to the nonlinear, from the ego to spirit, and from "knowing about" to "knowing by virtue of identity with" reality."
-- David Hawkins "I, Reality and Subjectivity"