Written by on January 22, 2014

“On the Cutting Edge”: An exhibit of landscape architecture laser cut projects

This post is written by Vanessa Pham. Vanessa is a gallery student assistant and a third year Communication Studies student.

As the gallery student assistant at Kennedy Library, I have an awesome opportunity to help students and faculty install their community exhibits on the 1st and 2nd floors. Most recently, I helped install a safari of cardboard heads and a paperboard terrain of letters.

Cardboard safari

Dr. César Torres-Bustamante and his students from the Landscape Architecture Class, 3D Digital Design Communication, needed a hand in hanging laser cut projects on the 1st floor of the library for the exhibit “On the Cutting Edge.” I helped them string steel wires through cardboard heads that were shaped like an elephant, a unicorn, and even a dragon.  Students created these faux taxidermy heads using a digital modeling software called Rhino. After forming the shape of their models, students sent their files to the d[Fab] Lab at Cal Poly to laser cut pieces of cardboard.

Alphabet topography

In addition to the cardboard safari, I helped Professor Torres-Bustamante hang paperboard projects that depicted letters of different heights based on how frequently they are used in different languages. Students constructed these lovely physical representations of topography using similar methods as the cardboard heads.

Hanging these models using steel wires was a challenge because the paperboard projects needed to rest on a level base. However, after eight hours of measuring levels from the floor and hanging wires from the tops of whiteboards, I finished with just a couple dust bunnies on my pants.

Urban topography

After the alphabet projects were fully intact, Professor Torres-Bustamante hung striking black and white ground maps of urban cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles. These intricate maps were first traced from ARC GIS aerial images and then sent to the d[Fab] Lab to laser cut from paper.

Helping students and faculty display their work at Kennedy Library helps me not only understand various majors and clubs at Cal Poly, but also gives me an opportunity to appreciate the projects and events that students create every quarter. One of the best parts about installing an exhibit is explaining the process of students’ work to people who casually walk through our gallery spaces.  If you want a (probably much needed) mental break from working or studying, please come and check out the new “On the Cutting Edge” exhibit on the 1st floor of Kennedy Library!

Vanessa helps Catherine Trujillo, Kennedy Library Curator, coordinate public use of the library gallery spaces and helps install exhibits. In the future, she wants to do public relations in the arts by promoting the work of creative minds.

Read more on community gallery, Kennedy Library Gallery, On the Cutting Edge, supporting faculty research, and Vanessa Pham.

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