Ideas in Form,

Design
Fall 2017
Major Studio I
Parsons School of Design

In this project, we chose fireworks as the domain of interest and developed various forms to represent this idea. Through this project, we ask ourselves: Do differences in dimension and form affect meaning, nature of experience? What connections and qualities are more or less possible, evident? We examine the dimensions of our representation and explore their relationship with space, time and meaning.

2D
3D
4D

Inspiration: Fireworks
The vibrant and ephemeral fireworks are our area of study. Explosives are propelled into the sky, heated and blossomed into different directions, illuminating and dying out gradually as time passes. We can view fireworks as a particle system in physics, so as a relationship between sky/air and various chemical elements. In this relationship, heat, chemical chain, and momentum are catalysts and results of this occurrence. Smell, sight, hearing etc. are our receivers of observing this process.

In this two-dimensional representation of fireworks. We further examine and imagine the relationships between chemical explosives and the combustion-supporting objects. The flammability or non-flammability of various elements in the sky determine the process and results of fireworks. By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other inert gases. The ~20% oxygen content in atmosphere permits the gunpowder encapsulated in the fireworks to combust efficiently, generate heat and catapult the burning of other chemical elements, which produce various colors. It is this very composition of air prevents the burning process to propagate further into the air itself, as none of the ingredients of air is flammable. What remains in the air after combustion is only the smoke and free-falling particles of the debris.

2 Dimensional
However, imagine that air is flammable, just as easily as paper. The overall process and results of fireworks in sky will fundamentally differ from our current perceptions. Apart from the internal combustion of all chemicals and gunpowder, the medium, air itself will further propagate this burning process and be highly involved in the aftermath of fireworks in the sky. In this sense, we represent air with paper and try to reimagine the relationship between fireworks and air. Can this representation familiar enough for us to substitute the already formed perception of what fireworks look like and how they work? Is this a better representation that reveal more characteristics of both fireworks and air?

Results
I try to imitate the physical motion of fireworks and their temporal and spatial locations relative to the sky. We use fire as pen and paper as canvas to simulate the relation of fireworks and air in the sky. With a long trailing tail at the bottom of paper and a centric hole with burning edges, I tried to mimic the centered, most heated area when the fireworks explode. Going from there, minor combustions or just darkened patches happened in peripheral areas. As wind and the natural dissipation of heat gradually dominate the overall process, the fire is put out and the residue heat no longer has the energy to break the critical temperature of burning.

3 Dimensional
Let's continue the exploration of representing the essence of fireworks in 3-dimensions. For me, the most important parts of fireworks are propulsion and explosion. The capsules holding gunpowders are propelled into the sky by the first lifting. When the gunpowder reaches a critical point, the elements inside initiate the explosion process. For this project, I want to imagine fireworks in an unfamiliar environment yet still catch the essences of fireworks.

An strange medium for fireworks is water, the very material that prevents the fireworks from igniting and propagate. However, can we choose a different explosive that enables the propulsion and explosion even in this foreign medium. Inspired by the sparkles in water, we use air bubbles as the explosives and produce it manually and let it naturally propagate and explode at the critical point. Similar to the first propulsion provided by explosion, we use buoyancy to provide the lifting for the explosives (air bubbles). Here, we carefully maneuvering the densities of various objects and use physics as the natural force. When air bubble

Results
I try to imitate the physical motion of fireworks and their temporal and spatial locations relative to the sky. We use fire as pen and paper as canvas to simulate the relation of fireworks and air in the sky. With a long trailing tail at the bottom of paper and a centric hole with burning edges, I tried to mimic the centered, most heated area when the fireworks explode. Going from there, minor combustions or just darkened patches happened in peripheral areas. As wind and the natural dissipation of heat gradually dominate the overall process, the fire is put out and the residue heat no longer has the energy to break the critical temperature of burning.

4 Dimensional
I think I'm really digging deep into more of the abstract representation of what fireworks are. In 3D, we see fireworks as the kinematic motion of propulsion and explosion. To refine the concept even more, I think we can call fireworks the transition from linear form into dispersion. While research about this point of view, I found light to be the best carrier for my 4D representation. Light, contrary from people's regular conception, embodies a physical phenomenon, wave-particle duality. It's by nature electro-magnetic wave, while in microscopic areas, we see it as particle. This causes light to behave differently when propagating in various media and sizes of areas.

Inspiration
When research about this area, one phenomenon clearly drew my attention. When light passes through door slits, if the slit is small enough, then we can see the whole ray of light got split into multiple strains. It can be explained by the concept of diffraction of light. Because of the wave-particle duality of light, if the diameter of hole is comparable to the wavelength of light, we can see waves of light interfere with each other and disperse the original path and energy of light. This is one way we can bifurcate light and dissect this form of wave.

Another way to disperse light is to change its course of path. Or actually, we cannot change the course of light without reflection of refraction. However, we can disguise out sight to make us believe that the propagation direction of light has been changed. By placing the reflecting areas of light in certain facing directions, we can see the courses of light slightly differed. This trick enables us to imagine and reflect the essences of fireworks. We change both the energy and directions of light to resemble the nature of explosion/dispersion. And the regular propagation of light is naturally linear.

I therefore fabricated this 3-dimensional installation to realize this very concept and challenge of dispersing light. By creating a dark room and let light pass through a considerably small slit, we land the light onto this very placement of hard paper sheets. The result is a stunning progression of linear propagation of light into two forms of dispersion: energy and course of path.

References
Fireworks, Wikipedia
Anime.js by Julian Garnier
Atmosphere of Earth
Liquid water content
The composition of fireworks
Unsplash

Distribution
Github Source Code
MIT License

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