Tetrahedral kite build, 2013

Tetrahedral Kite Build, 2013
Mylar, wooden dowel, plastic tubing, string, tape and wind

Project for FELTnatural
A FELTspace River Torrens public art project
22 - 24 November 2013

There is a bit of circuitous thinking that lead to the decision to make this kite. Over the last year I've been observing the building of the new medical research centre in Adelaide, on Nth terrace. The skin of the building is made up of thousands of shiny metal triangular pyramids or tetrahedrals and that’s been recalling memories I have of coming across images of Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral kites. I had this mental image of a section of the skin of the building coming off and being flown like a kite.

What surprised me most when I first saw Bells kites was that they seemed to come from the wrong time. His kites, made at the turn of the 20th century looked like they came from the future. They were complex fractal structures made before the term fractals even existed. I remebered that Bell visited Australia in 1910. He visited Laurence Haregrave, the inventor of the box kite who was credited by the wright brothers for making technical developments which assisted their work. Hargreave and Bell apparently talked for hours about new develpoments in flight technology.

I was thinking about Bell and Haregrave talking about the future of flight and about how they were both people who seemed to be ahead of their time, and how their discussion was therefore in a way a kind of time travel. I also thought about how the medical research centre looks like it is also from the future. All these thoughts came together and I imagined Bell flying a silver kite beside the new building having travelled through time and standing in a spot that in 1910 would have been a hill overlooking the relatively recently created torrens lake. I guess what I have ended up doing is building a kite for Alexander Graham Bell to fly, just in case he rocks up.