Transect Cascade / Nicole Aptekar

Commissioned by Liquid Agency, ZERO1 and the San Jose Public Art Program with support from the National Endowment for the Arts

Transect Cascade (2012) is a site-specific installation that will be exhibited as part of the ArtHERE program at Liquid Agency (448 S. 1st Street) from September 12-December 8, 2012.

Transect Cascade is a sinewy volume of scattered intersecting black surfaces, frozen in time, held unnaturally in space by a grid of stainless steel aircraft cable. A single, contrasting shape is transected through this volume, revealing itself fully only when the piece is viewed from a specific angle. Cutting edge CAD and digital fabrication techniques allow for complexity to emerge from simple shapes, movement and grace to reveal themselves in the chaos, computational ideals manifest in tangible reality. 

The sculpture is composed of black square pixel-like mount board elements on a tightly strung grid of stainless steel cables. The ‘pixels’ take on a physical form, but defy the ordinary laws of physics and gravity, hovering mid-air and intersecting each other chaotically to form sinewy, graceful shapes spanning the length of the seventeen foot window. The sculpture will activate the space through complex tensions of multi-dimensional geometry, teasing and engaging the eye with apparent chaos, until ultimately revealing bold order as a simple X-shape resolves itself from the negative space of the cascade. 

In our lives, replication is a powerful pattern. Increasingly, music, movies, and photos exist as digital copies of copies. The myriad applications that allow us to engage with this universe of content are themselves built from reused and repurposed blocks of computer code, replicated in hundreds of thousands of instances across the Internet. Similarly, the quotidian objects of our daily lives have themselves become replicas, perfect instances of a great whole. Platonic ideals as mass-produced products. 

I am fascinated by this phenomenon, and seek to embrace it to create beauty. Using a basic, repeated form of a square sheet of black mount board to communicate a large, spatially complex, and gesturally vivid composition, I am referencing this facet of our lives; How human-scale emotions and understanding can emerge from the repetition of simple elements.

Project team includes Laura Kogler, Arlen Abraham, Ian Baker, Mike Estee

This project will be exhibited as 
part of the ArtHERE program at
Liquid Agency (448 S. 1st Street) 
from September 12-December 8, 2012. 
Opening hours TBD

Nicole Aptekar

lives and works in San Francisco, CA

Artist twitter


Her work is focused on harnessing basic shapes from the digital world, and through careful composition and contemporary CNC fabrication techniques, realizing complex and graceful forms in our tangible reality. She is fascinated by the transitionary state humanity has found itself in, where the boundaries of digital and physical, virtual and real, having only just been established, are almost immediately washing away. Her work lives on this tenuous divide, confusing the notion of a render and a photo, handmade and computer-fabricated.

Additionally, she is the Technical Advisor for the pioneering creative technology space Gray Area Foundation For The Arts (GAFFTA) and a co-founder of the internationally-exhibited arts collective Ardent Heavy Industries. Before focusing her attention on her solo practice, she was the co-designer of Syzygryd, a massive scale sculpture: electronics interleaved with industrial components, multi-ton engineered metalworks, music and light.