Performative Objects

Students at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) are working with students at University of California, Irvine (UCI) to design, implement and demonstrate a series of Performative Objects. Inspired by natural phenomena and responding to the theme of The Storm, the Performative Objects are artworks and devices that are intended to be unpredictable, inhabitable and performable.

At RISD, the course is Architectural Advanced Studio ‘Living in the Tempest’, led by Prof. Kyna Leski.
At UCI, the course is Design Collaboratory, led by Prof. John Crawford.

Performative Object designed by Yixuan Cai
Ariel’s Cloud

Both natural and virtual clouds are self organized system of parts. Local interactions between parts create a dynamic network, which is chaotic and structured at the same time. The error and improvisation from human hands serve as catalyst for change in a standardized system.

Yixuan Cai

Performative Object designed by Kevin Costello
Synthesized Tempest

A collaborative investigation of the mutual passion that architecture and performing arts share for curating light, space, movement, and time. Scene (1) “Leonardo’s Tempest” will represent the specific emotions/ideas through the involvement of various members (dancers, designers, musicians, audience, etc.)

Kevin Costello

Performative Object designed by Hanbin Hou
Coordinates of Chaos

The tiny scale “hologram” is like a crystal ball with which you can see and control everything in your hand. The human-size fabric screens wind around a human body, blocking vision and one’s sense of location. One is lost in the storm of screens. These two works show the situations of control and lost in the tempest. While Prospero controls, others are players in the wind of his tempest.

Hanbin Hou

Performative Object designed by Daniel Icaza-Milson

Cymatics, a geometric phenomenon in vibrated membranes, can be used to interpret Caliban’s humanity. Are the marks of Caliban’s voice Prospero’s, the island’s, or his own? Cymatics translate vibrations into patterns. Caliban’s voice and scars reveal his autonomy, marked by Prospero’s forces and the island’s topography.

Daniel Icaza-Milson

Performative Object designed by Xiaoman Ji
Clouds Predicate the Tempest

This animation portrays the aggregation, formation, dissipation and movement of clouds. The variable clouds are shaped by strings attached to pins, telling of Stephano’s encounter with the tempest.

Xiaoman Ji

Performative Object designed by Ka Hyun Kim
Tempest as a Net

A net bears the forces of a tempest. It embodies the tension amongst people with nature. Each receptive knot responds by absorbing or releasing power. The set of ties represents a fabric of agency throughout the play; each person has their own connection of directionality while prospero has the prime authority over the whole.

Ka Hyun Kim

Performative Object designed by Matt Koegel
Ariel’s Path of Chaos

A double pendulum follows paths of chaotic motion. Within The Tempest this operation can be thought of as Prospero’s storm, and more specifically as Ariel itself. Although guided by Prospero, Ariel and its storm are to a certain extent their own agents. Similarly, the pendulum follows strict laws but traces unique and unpredictable paths each time it is set off.

Matt Koegel

Performative Object designed by Ye Mo Koo

The wave generator captures Boatswain’s rebellious nature against aristocratic figures. Boatswain fluctuates from subservience to rebellion as the wave generator swings gently to wildly. When mechanical swinging movement of the generator displays the wave created by Arial, shadow and the light reflection reveals Boatswain’s own nature.

Ye Mo Koo

Performative Object designed by Leah Ying Lin
Ariel’s Storm

By dropping ink into water, I create a storm. The surface records the weather pattern, color fluid behaving chaotically but dynamically as dancers, are instruments of beat and rhythm in the play. The magic of Ariel reflects the atmospheres of Prospero’s struggle - anger, regret, revenge and his power, conveyed through the emotional storm underwater.

Leah Ying Lin

Performative Object designed by Natnaree Ruethaivanich

When one varies the dimensions of four-bar linkage segments, the mechanism begins to exhibit wildly different behaviours. In this particular linkage, one of the segments has a variable length, making the number of behaviours infinite. Geography in “The Tempest” is more strategic than factually verifiable, pertaining to themes of utopia and terra incognita; etymologically “nowhere” and uncharted territories. These strategies are sources of Prospero’s power, who through dislocation and disorientation, disperse and bring together characters on the island. While the performative object initially appears to be a mapping device- a navigational tool rooted in measure, the variant behaviors of its trajectories actually creates a continuously dislocating point that generates disorientation.

Natnaree Ruethaivanich

Performative Object designed by Daqi Shi
From Calm Surface to Dramatic Cloud

In the beginning of the tempest, Prospero turns a calm sea into a storm and after the storm, the sea recovers into a clam surface. This cut and fold surface can be manipulated by strings, transforming it from its original state into a dramatic lifted cloud.

Daqi Shi

Performative Object designed by Samantha Zhixing Xia
Nowhere to Somewhere

Prospera orchestrates her illusion of dissolving Somewhere into Nowhere. Operable by a single actor (Ariel), the mechanism can contract into a single figure (Prospera’s study) and expand to the horizon of the stage.

Samantha Zhixing Xia

Performative Object designed by Zi Ye

Water, in The Tempest, is powerful because it is geometric in micro-scale and formless in human-scale. It is the dreadful wave, the foul lake, and the sweet spring. This malleable system of modular length and joints produces a reciprocal relationship with the dancers. The movement of it is shaped by the dancers and vise versa. *Tectonic: the relationship between things.

Zi Ye

Performative Object designed by Abby Jiaxin Yu
Three Cloud Stories

Cloud possesses the three characters of aggregation, suspension, perception. Three music wire structures tell the stories of these characters and those of Shakespeare’s Tempest. The structures grow organically through the hand of the maker and the inherent resistance of the material.

Abby Jiaxin Yu