Hither Yon - Building 005, Einstein's Birdcages | Our Collaborative Design Process

in art •  last year


Our New Process of Collaborative Design

In 2014, @hitheryon was invited to participate in the group exhibition “techne” at Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen. At the time, I was living in Berlin, @hansikhouse was living in Boston, @voronoi was living in New York, and @arete was living in San Francisco. In order to create our drawings of a fictional cityscape for the exhibition, we devised a new system for collaborating in the process of three-dimensional design while working from our remote geographical locations. Using Google Drive and Rhinoceros 3D, we passed files of digital models between us, constantly building upon the construction of the person who came before us. Our system had five parts for designing each building in the cityscape:

  • The first person writes a narrative about the origin and purpose of the building as a way of inspiring the designs to follow. He begins the construction by building a plinth (foundation) for the new building in a 3D modeling program called Rhino.
  • The second person adds a structure to the foundation.
  • The third person adds walls within the structure.
  • The fourth person adds a garden to give context to the new construction.
  • The first person returns to complete the design by adding an envelope (facade).

Below is Building 005 (out of twenty-one), starting with the narrative.

Building 005: Einstein's Birdcages

On a short walk west of the burgeoning village, a young girl releases her balloon into the air and inadvertently discovers a curious physical characteristic of the universe. The balloon appears to slow down gradually as it goes upwards, before coming to a halt in midair about eleven meters above the ground. Scientists quickly determine that the balloon has collided with a microscopic point in space where time stands still, and it will be stuck there dangling in the sky for all eternity. In examining the mysterious point, the scientists notice that time also moves slower in the space surrounding the balloon, gradually picking up speed in concentric spheres before returning to the normal pace at a radius of thirteen meters.

As soon as word gets out that time moves slower in this floating piece of vacant real estate, people flock from all over the world to buy a piece of sky around the balloon, hoping to slow down the aging process and gain extra years of life. They hastily begin building their homes on stilts, raising their lives into the sky and seldom leaving their privileged perches out of fear of losing a single minute of extra life. The space directly surrounding the balloon becomes the most coveted territory, creating a hierarchy of wealth and status within the township, clearly denoted in the structural system and wall divisions between the concentric shells of housing. Light nearest to the centerpoint is only a faint glimmer of the red wavelength, unable to shine without time’s helping hand. As a result, the outermost shell of the township becomes a series of gardens, where people quickly tend to their crops and soak up some sunlight before going back to their dark sedated enclosures of extended life. Neighbors on land nickname the elevated township “Einstein’s Birdcages”, watching the paranoid citizens live out their lives in the restricted reservoir of extended time.

Plinth and narrative by @erb

Structure by @arete

Wall by @voronoi

Garden by @hansikhouse

Envelope by @erb


All together now - Building 005 by @hitheryon


The complete Cityscape of twenty-one buildings
presented by @hitheryon at Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art


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I love the way that you guys put stuff together. I've seen a few of your pieces and I think it's just so cool to hear the background of what you do and to see the collaborative nature of the work. I hope you all continue to post past and future work. Very cool!


Thanks for the support @ekpickle! Will most definitely continue posting both past and future work.

So awesome. I have an original Hither Yon sitting 5' from me right now.


Thanks bud! Glad that drawing is getting some love.

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t a l e n t s !


Thanks Ryu! Those dudes sitting next to you may have had something to do with it...

This is really cool. Love all of the details and visuals. Especially garden and envelope.


Thanks man!