Cir­cuit city Yakun Chen

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - — Paul Wei­de­man

When a friend gave artist Yakun Chen a dis­carded cir­cuit board, ideas started pop­ping in her mind. “I was so ob­sessed with the pat­tern of it, those lit­tle things on the front side and on the back side,” she re­called. “My first thought was to cre­ate a city, but I re­al­ized it might be a lit­tle clichéd just to cre­ate a city based on a cir­cuit board, be­cause other peo­ple have done that. Then I thought maybe it would be more in­ter­est­ing to have it move rather than be a still im­age. So I started to cre­ate a 3-D an­i­ma­tion about it.”

Chen spoke to Pasatiempo from Los An­ge­les be­tween semesters at the Rhode Is­land School of De­sign, where she is an MFA can­di­date. What she came up with from that lit­tle elec­tronic ar­ti­fact is the piece called Nev­erend (Land).

She cre­ated the mov­ing piece — holo­graphic-pro­jec­tion an­i­ma­tions in two mir­ror­like pyra­mids — us­ing the Cin­ema 4D soft­ware. “I wanted the an­i­ma­tion to be in a loop. The city is born from an egg shape; and all of the com­po­nents fall from the sky, piece by piece, so the city is con­structed block by block; and it goes through a cou­ple of tran­si­tions, and then it dis­ap­pears, piece by piece again. I cre­ated the above-ground city and the un­der­ground city be­cause I think it is in­ter­est­ing to see both. Usu­ally we only see the above-ground city, but there are lots of struc­tures un­der­ground.”

The pat­terns were cre­ated based on the pat­tern on the two sides of a cir­cuit board. One side is overtly di­men­sional, with its va­ri­ety of diodes, tran­sis­tors, ca­pac­i­tors, and other com­po­nents, while the other side is a flat­ter ar­ray of sol­dered elec­tri­cal-path­way struc­tures. “So both cities are float­ing in the dark­ness and go through the jour­ney from birth to de­con­struc­tion. It feels like a minia­ture ver­sion of our world be­cause all the com­po­nents self-per­pet­u­ate in some way. The rea­son I didn’t make it big­ger is I want peo­ple to get closer to it and pay close at­ten­tion to it and maybe stay for a minute or two and look into this small world that is a small ver­sion of the real world.”

Nev­erend (Land) is dis­played at El Museo Cul­tural de Santa Fe from Fri­day, June 10, to June 26.

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