When I first turned on the Cambrian Wave I was reminded of the wiggly creatures found in the Burgess Shale. These creatures, which flourished in the geologic time known as the Cambrian Period, had so many arms and legs that even their fossils seem to have movement. The lower part of the sculpture is made of birch, maple and basswood. Embedded pulleys add together the motion originating in the three top rings. A steel frame shaped like a bow holds the rings and tensions a white comb that separates the weave from the wave. The thimble in the central ring is filled with pulleys and so behaves like a fool’s tackle, doubling the motion in the single wavelength that acts over the entire sculpture. The little circles drive the edge riffles with the yellow dots. Each ring has its own motor, and because these motors all go different speeds, the sculpture is pretty much non-repeating.
The Cambrian Wave was designed for the lobby of Index Ventures in San Francisco. Special thanks to Danny Rimer for inviting me into their beautiful space and to Aimee and Joy for making me feel at home there. Thanks to Michael Prados for engineering help on the sculpture steel frame, Richard Vertz and Chris Potter for fabrication help, and Richard, Chris and Reid Johnston for installation help (including carrying the frame up five flights of stairs). We needed a steel beam spanning the lobby in order to install the sculpture, and many thanks to the folks who figured this out and installed it: Garcia Tamjidi Architecture, John Yadegar Structural Engineer, Fisher Development, and Romak Iron Works.