Rebecca Campbell
Custom software and fabrication coordination for Campbell's sculpture, Satellite

 

Rebecca Campbell's Satellite installed at LA Louver. Photograph: Rebecca Campbell

 

 



Artist: Rebecca Campbell

Project: Satellite

Venue: LA Louver Gallery, Los Angeles

Links: Rebecca Campbell, LA Louver

Description: In Campbell’s sculpture Satellite, a swarm of bees appears to hover, frozen in mid-air. The distribution of the 600 cast copper bees is not random, but follows a modified spiral path.

 

Our Role: Custom form-finding software, 3D computer modeling, fabrication scheme and fabrication coordination.

 

We developed custom software that allowed the artist to fluidly and efficiently experiment with multiple swarm designs. The number of bees and the minimum allowable distance between them can be changed on-the-fly, while a series of adjustable input curves allow one to quickly make adjustments to the bee’s path, changes in bee density, how closely the bees hew to the path at different points, etc. The swarm of bees is generated and displayed in real time. Working closely with Campbell, we were able to find a solution that fulfilled the artist’s aesthetic and functional criteria for Satellite within a few hours.

 

When Campbell approved the final 3D animations of the work, we used the software to automatically generate CNC cut files for the perforated walnut disks and an indexed database for the fabricators, ensuring that the bees would be correctly positioned along each wire.