DIY Cantilever with Monochrome for Austin
Shared by: Landmarks the public art program of the University of Texas at Austin
Recommended Grades: 4th, 5th, 6th Grades
You can make a sculpture out of almost anything. Artist Nancy Rubins uses everyday things like toasters, hairdryers, and even playground equipment. In Monochrome for Austin, she used canoes and boats. She collaborates with a structural engineer, Jamie Garza, to make the sculptures very strong, even stronger than the buildings around them, even though they look chaotic. Nancy Rubins and Jamie Garza used 70 canoes and small boats to make this sculpture. They are fixed to a support that extends a long way into the ground.
Make your own mini sculpture at home using the technique.
Take two or three wooden sticks and a piece of tape. Tape two of the sticks at an angle(not straight together). Now stick your structure into the bin of sand. How many binder clips can you fasten to the open end until it falls over?
Share your mini sculpture on Flipgrid.
- A bucket of sand or dirt
- 2-3 popsicle sticks, skewers, or pencils
- 5-10 binder clips
How does this activity connect to STEM and today's Girl Day theme of Moving Around: Land, Water, Air, and Space?
Engineers have to figure out how to get objects to work together to make buildings and other structures. They are working against gravity and must be sure that the structure won’t fall over, using math, measurements, and experimentation. Engineers also help sculptors make works of art that are creative and unlike other buildings.
Look at the image of the sculpture. See how each boat is attached in Nancy Rubins’ sculpture. What is holding the sculpture in place? Gravity is always pulling things down to earth. How much force or weight do you think it requires to keep these boats together and from falling off?
- Gravity - Force that holds everything to the ground and causes things to fall toward the ground
- Balance - An equal distribution of weight so that structures will stand
- Cantilever – A beam or structure that is fixed to a support only on one end (instead of two)
Explore the process of engineering and building Nancy Rubins' Monochrome for Austin including installation images and an hour-long conversation between the artist and her collaborator Jamie Garza- a UT alum and the structural engineer who helped create the work of art.
- Engineering Monochrome for Austin Video - Vimeo
- Girl Day 2020 recap with images - Landmarks Website
- Self-guided mobile tours - UT Austin campus
- "Eon" by Jennifer Steinkamp, a work of digital art inspired by biological evolution - Welch Hall
- "An Interval of Time" by Monika Bravo, a digital work using geological data - Jackson School of Geosciences
Landmarks is the public art program at the University of Texas at Austin with over 45 works of art across campus. Works of public art have the capacity to resonate deeply, stimulate curiosity, and inspire the imagination in unexpected ways. At The University of Texas at Austin, the public art collection is one of the most distinguishing features of the main campus, shaping impressions and offering a distinctive setting for memorable experiences.
As the university’s public art program, Landmarks enriches the lives of students and visitors by presenting art that is broadly accessible and free to all. More than forty works of modern and contemporary art are on view throughout the 433-acre campus. The collection not only enhances the beauty of the landscape but also supports scholarship and learning by demonstrating significant art historical trends from the past seven decades.
Landmarks projects are viewed by thousands of people every day. For many, the collection provides an introductory opportunity to engage with great works of art. Visit soon to discover why Landmarks is a point of pride for the university and all people of the State of Texas.