EM(BODY)MENT

This week I have worked on designing and constructing a model that is an embodiment of my graphic analysis. My graphic analysis is of a person executing a roundhouse kick. The task is to create a concept from a context.

A roundhouse kick can represent many things. The most obvious is that of taking one’s momentum and passing it into another object. I wanted to dig a little deeper into the action and form of a roundhouse kick to see if there were any positions within, that tell a story or speak as a design.

There is a radial movement based around a center that begins at one terminus and ends at another. All of the buildup, momentum, tension, flexing, speed, and twisting are conducted within these two places. The remaining movement in the kick is just the release and follow-through.

In my 1st model design I decided to represent the overall twisting movement of the body and turning of the foot as it approaches its apex. I found it difficult to represent this turning or cupping of the foot with the material (cardboard). I also added steps in order to show the motion of the foot and leg rounding the focal point.

In my 2nd model design I primarily looked to rework the overall construction but maintain the same design concept of the twisting around a focal point and the rise of the foot and leg. A circular base was added in this model to further imply the rounding motion. However, at this point the base design was mainly functioning as footer.

In my third model I made two primary changes. I turned each step to further imply a twisting of the foot as it neared its apex and I cut the wall into a shape that focused the motion of the rounding to the apex.

I have more models to make and more thoughts to deal with. Currently I know that I want to address the detail of how these pieces join together and how those joints or details can further the story that I am telling. I also look to altering the base, the steps, and wall. I want this piece to remain devoid of program and have it tell an abstract story of someone doing a roundhouse kick and what that can mean. It is my hope to tell the overall story with my model as well meta-narratives within the details. At the end of this project I hope to have a model that is an embodiment of a roundhouse kick.

This week I also attended a talk on the Knoxville Botanical Gardens (KBG). The Howell family was the original family to own and build up the Howell nursery, which is now the KBG. We learned briefly about the history of the gardens and gardening in America. I enjoyed seeing photographs of men throughout the past century as they stood by their gardens; works of their hands and sweat of their brow. As it turns out, gardens were an embodiment of many things as they developed throughout the twentieth century.

To some a garden meant a way to provide for a family. It meant hard work, devotion, and dedication. Gardens have also represented a desired, idealized lifestyle that was sought after in the 50’s and 60’s by suburban Americans. The Howell family sought to bring this lifestyle to the masses through the propagation of nursery plants.

It is KBG’s current desire to draw in the local Knoxville community as a means for sustaining itself. They are currently wresting with the best way to do this using the local demographic.

It is KBG’s intent to maintain the cultural heritage that was once Howell nursery. However, they are not sure how to embody this previous historical context within the grounds while embodying a current more relevant culture.

Design, in many ways, can be the embodiment of many ideals. Models can embody design concepts, buildings can embody concepts, and programs at gardens can embody ideals. Design communicates these things; at least it has the potential to.

Let us design within that potential.