Object Narrative & Representation

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Project: Description

An Enclosure for the Soul of an Insect Collector, an investigation into the narrative between a subject (an insect), an object at body scale, and representation in structure.

About the Course:

The studio work at the 310 level (DENV 310: Design Fundamentals II) emphasizes design fundamentals with a focus on the experience of "making" through participation (methexis) and transformation of material (technique).  Using model-making, freehand drawing, and technical drafting, this course explores how form carries meaning beyond mere methodology.  The design project developed in this studio overlays formal issues with associative dimensions such as analogy, metaphor, and mimicry.

Project Design Requirements:

Design an enclosure for the soul of an insect collector.   This project initiates with the selection and analysis of a specific insect that will direct the project design.

  • Freehand drawing or the "visualization of the imagined" should be developed as a form of projection of what might be.
  • Technical drafting should follow drawing conventions as they relate to the documentation and development of the design process and product.
  • Kinetic study models should inform the design process by simulating a distinctive property (or properties) of the selected insect.


The Aeschna Cyanea or Blue Darner "Southern" hawker dragonfly exhibits developmental polymorphism.  The Aeschna larva leaves the medium of water to emerge into a highly aerial adult.  Both the larva and the adult are predatory, albeit in different media.  Part of the Odonata family, the Aeschna Cyanea has large translucent veined wings, an elongated brightly-colored body, prominent eyes, and a hinged prehensile jaw structure that, when folded back, conceals the other mouthparts.

Click on any image to view enlarged version.

Conceptual Design:

Concept Inspiration - "Within the histories of species, individuals are perpetually perishing, but species are prolonged until no longer fit in their environments -- whereupon they evolve into something else or go extinct and are replaced.  Beauty does not require permanence.  Within landscapes there is ugliness in the detail, but at the systematic level, at the scope of the dynamic scene, softened by perspective from a distance, there is sublime beauty...  Great beauty, like great music, is often a minor key."

~ Holmes Rolston III (1988)

Kinetic Model & Motion Study:

Kinetic model of dragonfly nymph jaw and "mask" constructed from white pine.  Overall model dimensions (fully extended position) are 5”W x 11”D x 11”H.  Technical drawings include Hinge Study and composite "Motion" Diagram.

Enclosure Concept Model:

Concept model constructed from pine, wire, and acrylic (transparent, obscured/translucent, and opaque black).  Overall model dimensions are 8”W x 8”D x 10.5”H.

Design Development:

Finalization of the design concept through the development of scale drawings and preparation of presentation graphics.  Technical drawings include Site Concept and Concept Model Section.