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works | various intermedia | hull studies
Hokulea, Santa Maria, Resolution

This is a triptych structure consisting of three flat panels, each supporting a scaled template of the water-line displacement form of one of three boats that have directly effected the history and cultural development of Hawai`i. The panels rest on bamboo supports at 60 degree angles so that pumped water can cascade down the plane allowing us to observe how water moves around the hull-forms. Each of the units are self-contained, but installed as a 3-piece structure they sit on a steel mesh platform about a foot off the floor taking a 30 inch by eight foot long space against a wall. Pumps and water pans are masked but visible beneath. At the University Gallery installation a complex structure of bamboo and tar-paper to "framed" the piece and supported its own lighting system. An eight-foot tar-paper template of Leif Erickson's boat was added to an adjacent wall because, just prior to the exhibition it was proven that he beat Columbus to America.

Leonardo's studies of water dealt with displacement and reflection and some specifically with boat and fish forms. Starting from these, I noted that some studies were done in 1492...the year Columbus discovered America. This event can serve as a strong metaphor for the Rennaissance. I researched Columbus ships and found schematic diagrams of the Santa Maria. More relevant to Hawaii than Columbus was Captain Cook who landed here in 1778...nearly 300 years after Leonardos drawings.

In researching Cook's journeys I found that his last boat was The Resolution which he took to New Zeaalnd and later the Oregon coast to pick up sea-otter furs in 1779...the return trip to Hawaii being the one where he was killed. This last trip of Cook's also makes a link between Hawaii and Oregon where many Hawaiian sailors stayed. When I began the piece, a double-hulled canoe called the Hokulea was making its third or fourth trip to Tahiti...over 3000 miles in a dugout canoe modeled after the ones that brought the Polynesians to Hawaii in about 750 AD...about 750 years before Columbus hit America. This too adds a curious juxtoposition of time and geography to the other two trips over great water masses.

The studies I am doing compare...as Leonardo would have done...the differing interactions of the hull forms with flowing water (or the patterns produced by water flowing past these shapes). To accurately determine these patterns I have constructed a simple but fairly clever device upon which the different hull-forms can be placed while water is passed over them. This practical compromise varies greatly from the current scientific method of moving the form through the water. My method more resembles a liquid version of a wind-tunnel but in a shallow dimension. Although of no consequence, I note that I have been unable to find scientific hull-model studies on any of these three sailing vessels so I am sort of tickled that this imprecise study may actually be original.