Diplothopter Installation

back to Cultural

A Temporary commissioned Art Installation for the University of British Columbia School of Architecture group show “Making Out”. Located at the Emily Carr Institute Concourse Gallery in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. 2004
18’h x 25’w x 5’d (docked)

In 2004 we, among a handful of Northwest architects, were asked by graduating students of the UBC School of Architecture to participate in a gallery show that would present how we’ve managed to sustain a passionate and inquiring practice in the ‘real’ world of architecture.We decided to share our joy of making things by building an invention in their gallery. So for a week, in the front hall of the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, BC amid traversing students and faculty we built the “Diplothopter.”

[ Excerpted from the Diplothopter users manual….]
According to both specification and ritual, the dipolthopter is constructed atop ladders. Fixtures are suspended internally to provide task lighting. After work hours, the fuselage may be utilized as a chandelier for fund-raising events. Apple-picking ladders are preferable due to the stability of their design and memory of their reward.

Since the host or “home” of the building is balanced on the line between political or social entities, the diplothopter is constructed on a border. The tethers are useful during fabrication since the building cannot, on its own,find balance.
“In Cairo I have seen buildings which were falling down as they were being put up, buildings whose imcompletion was complete.” –William H. Gass

Only the most delicate structure can house a conundrum, an impasse, a jam, a pickle, or a “tight spot”. And so, the diplothopter looks like a kite, and flies much like a kite. One might even call it a kite. However, without a user group or entourage, it is much to gawky for ascension- its inhabitants are its engine. Carried into place by teams from both parties, the diplomats are seated facing one another at the center of the truss.

Once aloft, the diplothopter and its occupants will find their place (in a manner of a ouija* board) over boundaries, borders, demilitarized zones, fences and perimeters. Entities would be ill-advised, however, to use the diplothopter over bodies of water larger than a pond since both parties are required to hold the tethers [see:drowning], The tethers both keep the meeting down to earth and maintain a grip on the most lofty intentions. Though in its alpha phase of development, a cloud machine is being tested to further insure the safety of the diplothopter.
*n: a board with the alphabet on it; used with a planchette to spell out supernatural messages.

Diplomats should be of sufficient heft to deform the fuselage. Dangling legs are not of necessity but are aesthically encouraged. Lift off, at times, is quite “hairy”.

Epilogue”…the hero myth of the architect…”
There is a triumphant soundtrack in the headphones despite the murmur of plastic keys being pecked. The caffeinated beverage suggests alertness and the flickering screen provides the equivalent of experience. There is a desire for a full life of consequence, of definitive moments, of reflection,of action,of presence of mind. But most of all, there is an overwhelming anticipation- a deep belief that some thing is going to happen.

Scroll Left Scroll Right