Big Bambu

This show opened a few months ago in Beacon New York and really impressed us. “This”, we said, “is what we’re been talking about!” The Starn brothers have created something that begins to embody everything that this web-project is trying to explore.


Big Bambu is a sculpture in motion. It’s constructed out of huge bamboo poles and spans almost the entire length of their reclaimed Talix factory in Beacon. But, rather than calling it “done” when they’ve completed a spanning arch, they start to unbuild it from one end and continue it back around up front! It’s always changing, relatively unplanned, and completely dynamic (check out the video link here). More over, it’s exactly the type of construction that performs according to simple biological patterns, rather than aping them. And simply by virtue of material, and construction process it lends itself to biological analogies… Bone you say? Corral? Beaver Dams? Why not. The point how ever is that the Starns have given us a magnificent example of what structure might look like when we focus on the interface between Architecture and the Animal.




From the Starn’s website:

“In September 2008, the Starns took over the former Tallix Foundry in Beacon, New York (50 foot high ceilings by 320-foot long by 65 foot wide), and the construction of Big Bambú immediately started. As of November 15th, more than 2,000 bamboo poles have been assembled creating an extraordinary intricate mental and physical network system.”

“This artwork, in the realm of architecture and performance, starts as a massive tower created from lashed together bamboo poles and brings into space representations of complexity and chaos. At its pinnacle, the continually evolving architecture being built from within (no outside scaffolding or support) will cantilever out as far as the bamboo poles network allows, and then will bridge down to the floor. At this point the first tower will be dismantled pole by pole and carried through the structure and down to create another monumental tower and then on again, walking down the 320 feet space, almost like a Slinky and then back again. Big Bambú will evolve through the continuous rebuilding and rethinking of the structure at all times.”

“The Starns are directing 8 to 15 rock climbers at a time, who are assembling the structure’s vernacular network in an ongoing action. Big Bambú is consistent with the idea of a self-healing organism; within this “fabric” of bamboo pole network, the artists expect that some poles will stress and fail, but that the structure (the bamboo poles are fibrous and flexible unlike wooden boards that crack and break apart) will maintain some integrity. The tower represents the concepts of self-organization, adaptation and the interconnectedness of all things.”

“Big Bambú is connotative of an autonomous, spontaneous, self-governing, disorganized network responding to itself to better navigate the environment. “It represents me- in that I am who I was, and, I am completely different than I was when I was a little boy.” Doug Starn writes.”

“The Starns are currently developing a tentative exhibition project focusing on Big Bambú, with the Detroit Institute of Arts for the fall of 2010, and potential venues in Naples (Italy).”

“The visuals on this Website will be regularly updated, showing the continuous evolution of the artwork and its evolving incarnation.”

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