Project 1.1: Active Lines

August 7, 2012


A single straight line is full of potential. Activating the potential of a line can be achieved through a wide array of methods. By performing operations on the line itself or by embedding the line in a specific context a line can take on different functions and meanings: from a simple line drawn in the sand to the imaginary (and often conflicted) lines that divide sociopolitical territories.

This project challenges you to investigate the ways in which a single straight line can transform in order to describe a given imaginary volume. However, there are constraints that will govern the transformation process that you develop. The challenge is to develop a systematic method that informs the ways in which you transform the line, while opportunistically navigating and engaging constraints.

Download Project Brief as .pdf file


Using a single piece of wire, develop a set of transformation rules that enable you to transform the straight wire line into a volume that describes an imaginary cube of 8 cm x 8 cm x 8 cm.

In the development of your transformation rules consider the following questions:

  1. What are the ways in which one can define the imaginary volume? What are the relationships between a line and and the imaginary cube and what rules can one develop that would demonstrate and challenge this relationship?
  2. How can the rules be developed such that they can be clearly demonstrated by visual inspection?
  3. What is the behavior of the line when it meets the boundaries of the imaginary cube?
  4. How do you treat terminal conditions? For example, where do you start and end the line relative to the imaginary volume, and what happens at “ends?” Furthermore, where do you begin your process of transformation – relative to the line or the volume? For example, do you begin making a bend in the middle of the wire and work your way to the ends, or from one end to the other?


  1. Each student uses a section of straight wire (approximately 90 cm length x 1 mm diameter).
  2. Each student must transform one length of given wire such that it describes an 8 cm x 8 cm x 8 cm cube. The imaginary volume must be defined.
  3. The wire must not be cut or joined to another material.
  4. The rules of transformation from line to volume must be legible without verbal description. This means that your professor and peers must be able to understand the rules through visual inspection.
  5. Each student must develop at least 3 distinct or different sets of transformation rules, demonstrated in each model.


  1. Wire 90 cm length x 1 mm diameter. Each student should purchase at minimum five pieces of wire at this dimension. The wire has been ordered in advance and can be obtained from the school supply shop (“Tong Yang”).
  2. Ruler: 30 cm in length minimum.
  3. Pliers: for precise and sharp bends in the wire.
  4. Protractor: to measure bend angles, or other tools to make jigs and guides for transformations.


  1. Minimum of 3 transformation models, each using a distinct or different transformation rule or rules. Each model is to be made from a single given section of wire that has been transformed based on the rules you develop. The models must abide by given constraints.