Bruce Tomb

Mediating Paradoxical Spaces

Date 11/5/97

Affiliation Architect, Interim Office of Architecture, San Francisco


Architects Bruce Tomb and John Randolph will describe their ongoing art and architecture projects, in particular Gnomon, a 1996 installation at SF MOMA. Gnomon was a collaboration with a large team of designers and engineers, including several from UC Berkeley's Mechanical Engineering Dept.

"A 'gnomon' is a device for knowing (Greek: a sundial). This installation is about not knowing....By presenting the viewer with an object that acts almost as if it were an animate being...and then setting this 'blob' loose in the rectilinear space of a gallery devoted to architecture and design, these artists call into question the nature of our knowledge about the world around us....

"Their instrument of uncertainty...looks like a rock, a cranium, or a whale.... Then it contains a robotic system that makes it move according to two sets of data: the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and a set of sensors that detect the presence of people in the room....the Gnomon struggles like a beast caught in

a cage...."

-from the catalog by Aaron Betsky, SF MOMA Curator of Arch. and Design

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