The Mystery of Motion

Down Force

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Sculpted mobius band

Down Force is the second in my major ribbon series. Quite candidly, I undertook this sculpture to counter skeptics who insisted that Up Draft, the first piece, involved steaming, bending or jig-saw-puzzling segments.

Down Force, like Up Draft, is also a mobius band – this time 25′-0″ long, not 32’-0″. Instead, to create a mobius, before you join the ends into a circle, twist one end of it ½ turn, and then tape or join the ends.

Now, starting at the tape, if you trace the surface with your finger, after you go around one time, you will find your finger at the tape, but on the opposite side of the ribbon. It will take you one more time around (for a total of twice around) to get back to the tape, but this time you will be on the same side of the ribbon from which you started.

This is called a “mobius band,” named after the German mathematician and theoretical astronomer, August Ferdinand Möbius (1790 – 1868) who discovered/defined it.

The object is a paradox. It is clearly three-dimensional, but by definition an object having only one surface and one edge is two-dimensional.

What is a mobious strip?

An explanation of what a mobius is NOT helps describe what it IS.

If you take a length of ribbon and form it into a circle and join the ends, you will have an object with an inside and outside surface and two edges.

It is not a mobius.

Down Force
1’-10” h, 10” sq

Creating this piece

Gluing into a solid block…

Down Force, like Up Draft, is the product of once again gluing up wood into a solid block – but this time I only used a total of 4 pieces to create the whole.  And, like Up Draft, I assure you, I used no bending, sectioning or steaming to create this work. (As much challenge as my technique presented, gluing cut segments into anything that looks remotely like either piece would have been even more tortuous!)

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