How Things Connect

Ling-Lin Ku (2023)

How do physical connections between materials and objects affect our visual experience and ultimately reinforce narrative and meaning?

Ling-lin Ku wanted to investigate different ways of connecting things, physically and conceptually, in order to create her own unique visual language. In the past she had utilized a wide range of materials and processes to make mixed media sculptures. Recently, She began incorporating metals such as copper and brass into her work while researching the traditions and histories of jewelry and sculpture for the body.

With support from the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund she was able to attend a virtual hinge making workshop through Touchstone Center for Craft. She continued to explore other metalsmithing and sculpture joints following the workshop including rivets, slots, tap and die, and sweat solder. Early experiments focused on a small tap and die on her 3D rendered, printed, and cast insect legs with sculptural objects in an overseas exhibition Gargoyles. She further experimented with several unconventional sculptural-connecting mechanisms in her next exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh using bungee cord and rubber tubes for interactive objects in the installation.


Outside of formal exhibitions, this grant helped make playful joins a part of her practice. She wrote “these experiences are like opening up another field and rules started to loosen up and I was able to make my own rules. This project helped me expand my own vocabulary of connection mechanisms that I can incorporate into my broader mixed media sculpture practice.”

This project was made possible by the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund Microgrant #2023-040. Additional images can be found here.