Tommy’s Project

As a Biological Psychology major, I started out the semester wanting to explore the artistic side of human anatomy and physiology, especially that of the brain.  I have always loved looking at old anatomical drawings such as those by da Vinci.  However, I have never really thought about portraying the intricacies of human physiology through any medium other than drawing or painting.  As such, I went into my final project hoping to portray human physiology through a new medium.

I drew a lot of inspiration for my final project from exercises or assignments from class.  One of my first inspirations was the inflatable.  I wanted to make an inflatable in the shape of a human body and use different sensory stimuli to recreate certain parts of the human body.  But as I was thinking about what to incorporate into my inflatable, I thought more about ways I could abstract the inner workings of the human body.  I decided that a Rube Goldberg machine would be a great way to do so (for those of you who do not know what a Rube Goldberg machine is, here is an example:

After receiving feedback about my initial proposals, I decided to combine two of my ideas and form a 3D model of the human body where half of the model is exposed and the insides reveal a Rube Goldberg machine that eventually triggers a set of Christmas lights wrapped around the frame of the body.  Below is the schematic I had in mind.









While working on my project, I also drew a lot of inspiration from our Skype conversation with Steffen and our abstract painting assignment.  I had never been really good at being abstract and particularly creative with my artwork in the past and, as such, the painting assignment really pushed me to loosen up and become less rigid in my artistic style.  As it turned out, it helped me be less uptight with my project, as well.

As I worked on my project, I realized that the materials were the biggest restraint.  I tried finding metal wire at hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes, but the only metal wiring they had was copper electrical wiring, which cost a lot more than I was willing to spend.  I compromised by using old metal wire hangers that I bought from a dry cleaning store.  At first, I tried making the frame for the model completely out of wires.  However, I realized that the frame would be too flimsy, even when secured to a bottom board.  I ended up going to Home Depot and buying some pieces of wood, which I made into a frame for the model.  I was able to get all the tools I needed from home.  Below, you can see pictures of the materials I used, the process of putting the frame together, and what I have so far.

























I am planning on making the frame of the model from a combination of wood and metal wires.  I still plan to cover half the body.  I am planning on using aluminum foil or something that is easier to work with than paper mache, which I had originally planned on using.  I am revising what components the Rube Goldberg machine will include since I realized that the size of the model would not accommodate as many components as I had originally intended.  I am open to any suggestions as to if and what I should put on the outside part of the body, for the half that I plan on covering up.


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