“I like middles. It is in middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules.” –John Updike to Life magazine, 1966
Compound Figurations are the result of a series of experiments that demonstrate a shift from an additive/subtractive conception of form and space, to an alternative condition that we might call intersective. Developed through a series of rule sets that exploit the Boolean operation AND (intersection), the work revisits a solid modeling technique as an alternative to the totalizing conditions of “smoothness” found in recent generative modeling practices. The process is characterized by forms that confound the distinction between part-to-whole relationships, where creases and clefts define formal articulations between intersecting smooth and/or flat surfaces. Compound Figurations expose – rather than resolve – the ambiguity of conflicting forms as an entirely new condition that emerges from an intersection. This makes it neither a union/negation of geometric forms, or a fluid reconciliation of formal variation, but a uniquely digital alternative of a third kind.