‘Creatures In My Mind’ are a series of kinetic models that represent my struggle through creative process in an experimental self-initiated project.
This project started off as me being sick of doing design work in front of the computer for long hours; creating things that were needed by someone else. After many years like this, the question came to my mind, “What if I did a project briefed, developed, designed and created for nothing else but my own satisfaction?” I built a proposal around keywords like; kinetic sculpture, biology, robotics, biomimetics. I was going to make kinetic sculpture(s) inspired by nature, as a challenge of research and practice of new ideas and methods. All this would be packed in a journey of self-expression.
Research was long and enlightening. I came across some great works all around the world, which were sometimes made thousands of years ago. I was making models, or at least trying. I wanted to see what I can make in the shortest time possible. I sketched, I used clay, cardboard and chocolate wrapper. In the space of forms, the possibilities are endless. I decided to work with abstract models that’s why I tried to achieve forms that not necessarily look like nature but somehow have reference to it in some ways. I am good in imagining, but making things is actually different. For a person like me who did not hold a drill machine before, smallest tasks seem like splitting the atom. This was one of the many reasons of why things were not going as fast as they should.
I lost motivation and belief as the time passed. Many times I found myself dying to do commercial work that, once I hated. This was also the point where one of my professors, Dennis Paul came up with the idea of having a mass produced object as a building unit for my sculptures. Specifically, tongue sticks, the ones that doctors put in the patient’s mouth. They are actually called ‘tongue depressors’ or ‘zungenspatel’ in Germany. This name really fits while they are quite depressing. They are small, thin, easily broken and annoyingly light-weight. It took me around 200 hundred broken sticks to become the master of them. It was exhausting but now I can say I am very fluent with working with a tongue depressor as a medium.
When I presented my first sketches I made with these sticks, they were received with excitement. My peers found it easier to imagine what potential these sketches had and where they could end up in. In the mid-project presentation, I made animated gifs, which showed how they could really look when they moved. Oh right, up to this point, nothing was moving in my Kinetic Sculpture project. All around me, other students were developing their projects while I was stuck with these sticks that move only when I don’t want them to. I had a hard time motivating myself to work on this project anymore, while it was hard to deal with a project that I can’t see the future of.
The animations and my honesty with presenting my status were reacted with sympathy by the class. I was once again ready to work more to bring this project to a feasible and satisfactory ending. I continued to make models but this time with together with mechanic models inspired by the ancient crafts tradition called ‘automata’. Automata are self-operating machines made with basic mechanics that are usually created as statues or toys. These simple mechanical systems are made of; a shaft, a cam and a follower. As generally chosen as material, I used wood to make my mechanical structures. I tried to experiment with positioning of shaft and number of cams. I took advantage of the joint structure of tongue sticks and animated them as body parts.
Through this project, I had many challenges that were brought by my professors, techniques and examples. However the hardest challenge came from the closest source, my mind. The most important part of a project, which is self guided and developed is, maintaining the motivation and dedication every single day. I found it to be extremely difficult to keep working with so little experience and skills. The grey weather outside, constant distractions of the online presence and side projects were all big elements my creative block. I saw that I did so many mistakes that cost me time and money. As this self-driven chaos continued, the bridging idea between the concept and me was still missing.
Right when I was rushing to finish the sculptures in the wood workshop, the idea came to me. I was creating this unestablished concept with my insufficient skills and trivial materials. It was my own ideas and mentality that was present in the things that I was making. They were the models of the creatures in my mind, that haunted my creative process. They were delicate, not extravagant and barely moving. To make these pieces was not easy but still so much fun. This process and journey gave me the most difficult semester of my study life, however in result I am comfortable with what they represent and how I achieved this. The creatures are called “Generator of Boring Ideas”, “Collector of Useless Experiences”, “Breaker of Self-Motivation”. They are inspired by nature and developed by me.