Interface No. 1

Sandra Peters

Interface No. 1 takes the form of a cube whose sides are formed by parallel struts set at right angles to one another based on a grid composed of 8 x 8 fields. The struts produce a diagonal segmentation of each side. Hollow spaces between the struts allow views inside the cube. Since the struts begin from one edge of the square surface of the side by covering its full breadth, the struts set at right angles to one another do not have the same lengths. Their relationship of the units is 8:7, continuing in the sequence 7:6, 6:5, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2, 2:1, and finally 1:0. The diagonal sequence of the struts in relation to one another, then, is staggered in one direction. Nevertheless, the corners of the diagonal sequence of steps are coordinated exactly with the diagonal of each square side. The same configuration of struts, therefore, can be applied in eight positions to each of the six sides of the cube, which makes 262,144 possibilities.

I am interested in the way in which the bilateral-diagonal configuration of parallel struts is reminiscent of a temporal sequence, and that as a result of the displacement and the emphasis on the diagonal, a type of perspective is evoked, albeit without allowing any doubt about the static and material existence of the struts. This corresponds to the circumstance in which the viewer is able to regard the work from changing points of view, which results in constantly shifting perspectives shaping his or her awareness of the passage of time, of the placement of the work, and of his or her own body in space. The experience of the viewer is “translated,” so to speak, into the bilateral-diagonal configuration of each face of the cube. Just as the viewer’s position and that of the work itself are linked to an awareness of other possibilities, the position of the configuration of struts is linked to an awareness of other possible positions.

Interface No. 1 can be displayed either indoors or outdoors. The work is not site-specific—at least not in the sense that it can be displayed only at one specific location. It is conceptual on a general level. Two ways of thinking about the cube are juxtaposed spatially in two corners lying at either end of one of the cube’s inner diagonals. In each corner, three sides of the cube converge. In one corner, the two 1 x 1 squares contained within each side of the cube are oriented in relation to the three axes of the cube in such a way that the configuration of struts seems to be rotated and folded like a windmill around the space of the corner. In the corner that lies diagonally across from the first, by contrast, the two 1 x 1 square fields of one pair of sides are oriented parallel to each other along the edge shared by the sides. This is related to the fact that three axes can be distinguished (A, B, and C, in our arbitrary classification), and that the ends of each axis can be numbered (1 and 2). For each side (two each defined by AB, AC, and BC), there are four corner positions in that plane: 11, 12, 21, 22 (for instance, A1B1, A1B2, A2B1, and A2B2; or A1B1C1, A1B2C1, A2B1C1, and A2B2C1 if you include the unchanging third axis). The parallel arrangement of the square fields of two sides along their shared edge is a direct consequence of conceptualizing the cube in this way. In Interface No. 1, both ways of thinking of the form of the cube are structurally integrated and equivalent. Conceptually, the work is occupied on a general level, yet the general concept acquires greater precision and opens up toward a perception of its specificity—i.e., the specific context of presentation, angle of viewing, and manner of thinking.

Interface No. 1 has side lengths of 140 cm. This choice is arbitrary but not unfounded. It was important to me that the work open up a different spatial reference than would a piece of furniture. A height of 140 cm is unusual for a table, a set of shelves, a seating element, or a cabinet. Nor is it a dimension that is evocative of doors, windows, or walls. It does not compete with architecture. Nor is it anthropomorphically charged (a paradigmatic instance of the latter is Tony Smith’s steel cube Die of 1962, with a height of 180 cm). An average adult is able to view the top of the cube. Through this indifference to familiar proportional relationships (furniture, architecture, human figures), the work opens up its own relation to space. It renders space palpable as material. Its conception can be traced back to my preoccupation as an artist over a period of years with the architecture of Rudolph Schindler.

Conceptual Tendencies 1960s to Today II: Body, Space, Volume, ed. Renate Wiehager

Berlin: Daimler Contemporary


pp. 58–61