2002 Black Rock City Art Installations
100 SUNS is comprised of a hundred inkjet images of American atomic and hydrogen bomb test blasts from 1945 to 1962 — the era of global atmospheric nuclear testing — nailed directly into the playa surface in a 200′ linear sequence. The piece is broken into “DESERT” and “OCEAN” sections, respectively referring to tests that occurred at the Nevada Test Site (on alkalai lake beds much like those of the Black Rock Desert), and US proving grounds in the Pacific such as Bikini and Enewetak Atolls. The work is self-illuminating at night. Like a similar installation I did at Burning Man in 1998 titled FULL MOON, 100 SUNS had its origins in book form, and will be published globally in the Fall of 2003 under the same name. In each case I was delighted that Burning Man was the first public exhibition of the work.
Beacon is a 20′ tall 4 -5′ wide pyramid shaped metal sculpture, filled with fire wood and set ablaze to provide a tall glowing beacon of light on the playa.
A large beehive covered in yellow el-wire nestles in a meadow of el-wire flowers. Upon entering the hive one sees orange and red el-wire honeycombs endlessly reflected in its mirrored walls. What’s that buzzing sound? Bees get angry when the hive is entered.
A pregnant woman gives birth to the universe.
This 200 square foot structure is made of paintings of winged mermaids playing musical instruments, and it lit from within.
Two embracing figures occupy an ideal state where everything is in perfect harmony. They are able to give themselves to the world, while holding onto and being supported by each other’s love.
A dress hangs from a wooden frame with a large blue balloon attached. It is a memorial to the artist’s mother, who passed away shortly after Burning Man 2001.
Bosque Enano de la Piedra
A Seussian bonsai forest of driftwood and rock cairns turns the rules of gravity and phytology on their heads.
The Celebration Flower rises out of the playa, growing toward the heavens, and surrounded by revelers. From it’s center comes the birth of new life, aflame with vitality and hope for the future.
Citizens of Earth
Below a paper mache earth suspended from a metal framework pyramid, individual map pieces, cut up by country, are strewn about in disarray. Above the mayhem of division and destruction caused by mankind’s imposition of borders floats the earth in its natural, healthy state.
An 8′ square open-faced cube with geometric string designs is lit by blacklight.
Dancing with Lights
The installation is a picket fence of 4′ fluorescent lights, arranged in an arc about 150 feet long, individually controlled by a computer in a central sun shelter. Participants will be able to watch the light display, and also control it by means of various computer interfaces and by direct programming.
This 16′ square bull lives far out on the playa.
A group of human figures, each cut out of plywood and painted white, stands on the playa. During the night, a slide of the family the cutouts were made from will be projected on the figures. The illusion is of a group of people posed in the desert landscape. The slide is of the artist’s family, taken in the 1970’s. An audio recording of children playing accompanies the figures.
In this dance of man and the laws of physics, giant fans set up a rotational air mass within 12′ translucent walls. Within this air mass, and with a handheld flame wand, the artist develops huge vortexes of flame, sometimes reaching over 50′ in height.
On a table in between two chairs, a luminous chessboard appears to float above the playa.
In between two metal chairs, forty feet apart, is a metal frame which defines the view from each chair.
An extremely life-like steel and wax Larry Harvey travels around the playa, giving speeches to the citizens of Black Rock City. He meets his end by fire.
In the center of a ring of twenty U.S. flags with corporate logos instead of stars stands George Bush, with a “for sale” sign.
Gaseous Light is relatively small installation designed to attract wanderers, entice them to ponder the structure, listen to soft ambient music, and then move on. The base structure is a modern gasoline hose with a pump nozzle, which floats in midair. On the end of the nozzle sits a “megaphone” constructed of brass rods and el-wire. Emanating from the center of the megaphone are three wave forms — base, midrange, treble — and two musical notes. Directly below the pump nozzle is a small speaker which plays a variety of ambient and electronic music.
This 7′ diameter gyroscope is programmed with colored lights that produce interesting patterns and effects as the gyroscope spins.
Home Sweet Home
On the playa sits a very small house.
An outer ring of flags which are the shades of sea and sky surround a central lotus-shaped platform painted with a mandala and small shade pods. Bells blend with the sight and sounds of flags flowing with the wind. Blank prayer flags are available in the pods so that participants can share words and images of hope. The flags created at Burning Flipside in Austin, Texas and on the playa will burn with the Man to release their hopes.
Onward and Upward
Onward & Upward is a wood sculpture depicting our simultaneous desires to speed through life, yet to be blind to the very experiences on our path. It features a blind female figure mounted on a steel pole, with a propeller that spins when the participant pushes it. The figure rotates in the wind or as pushed, and she wears an armor of consumer detritus.
Under the sparkling rotating horizontal arms of the pinwheel, cloud imagery and mirrored squares induce relaxation and thought.
A giant 18-foot-high stellated icosohedron bedecked in colorful fabric is eye catching from great distances and also provides much needed shade.
Participants’ inspired musings, subliminal messages, and psychedelic patterns sparkle on the playa at night via the Quoting, Whirled, a colorful light display. Elevated, horizontal spinning wheels of programmed LED lights use the persistence of vision phenomenon to send thousands of messages, animations and pictures scrolling past you.
Replication is a rectangular, flat tapestry of 624 2″ by 3″ two-sided laminated collages, connected by metal rings.
Three hundred small painted objects are staked into the playa in a grid pattern, to be photographed incorporating the vastness of the playa and desert sky. Participants may walk by/run thru/sit amongst/photograph/laugh at/stroke/ or choose to ignore the objects.
Long red fabric banners suspended from a 40′ high frame rotate in this large-scale mobile.
Shoe Found Land
This meditative labyrinth is composed entirely of orphaned and abandoned shoes.
Sign of Light - a Luminous Mandala
A field of dozens of oil-lamp lanterns radiates colored light in all directions, each of their eight facets a slightly different color. The lamps are fixed on poles at various apparently random heights. From one unique perspective — the Line of Sight — it becomes apparent that all of the red facets face in only direction, to create a slightly broken circle (the japanese symbol for infinity) encircling the distant Man. From all other perspectives, the arrangement of lanterns and their colors appears random.
Our skydiving landing area is an outline of the burning man created from 80 bright fabric flags, each 9 feet tall. Highly visible from aloft, the landing area also presents an attractive spectacle to visitors to our theme camp, adjacent to the landing area. In addition, we will present aerial art in the form of freefall skydives including smoke and fabric, and under our open parachutes we will have several fabric sculptures up to 60 feet long towed behind the skydivers.
This red solar electric guitar plays its notes with the power of the sun and varies depending on light, wind, and presence of visitors. At night it flips into sleep mode and has flashing LEDS.
An ocean is only an ocean bound by the coast; to journey across an ocean to somewhere beyond was my goal. The scale was a reference to Jonathan Swift. Gulliver travelled across an ocean to arrive at a change in scale. On the playa two small, elaborately detailed red Chinese buildings make us feel like giants.
Sound of Wind Driven Bells
This installation integrates manmade bells with the winds of the playa, providing an opportunity for all to play along with Mother Nature. The project consists of a 9′ timber structure with a wind turbine mounted on top. The turbine drives a vertical shaft that engages the bells hanging below. By adjusting the sequence and strength that the arms strike the bells, different sounds, progressions and tones can be created.
This project presents three 8′ to 10′ mushrooms growing on the playa. Located in each mushroom head is a CD player which will play looped audio tracks at low volume. By standing directly under the mushrooms, participants will be able to hear this audio through the parabolic effect of the mushroom head.
Susanland National Mailbox
Take what you like. Leave what you like.
Tree of Memories
Participants can hang photos and messages on this 9′ tall tree made of telephone wire.
The Illumination Project # 19 is a long painted canvas suspended above the playa which involves sound, fire and interactivity.
Three 20′ metal towers support kinetic sculptures of steel and white silk.
Five 4′ diameter steel-covered wooden spheres are scattered across the playa surface.
Vortex of Connections
Humans are all connected; our actions directly affect one another and our world. Step inside someone else’s body and see how your movement affects others.
Whirlpool of Lights
This solar-powered light installation contains a mirror ball on a 20′ tower and two pin spots which produce a swirling sea of lights on the playa surface, destabilizing your reference points.
The Whistleworks Steam Whistle Project will allow the citizens of Black Rock City to become ceramic artists and help build a steam powered musical sculpture that once complete, will turn water into music.
A sandstorm fills the night. In the distance, red lanterns, seemingly floating in mid air, sway gently in the wind. Walking towards them a haunting tone rides each gust. The raked surface of a Zen garden appears below. Soon large quartzlike clusters of pipes, the source of the desert harmonics, become evident. Looking up from a large suspended net in the center of a three dimensional heart chakra, the moon and lanterns hover. Staring into the night sky, listening quietly to the storm, you are afloat in a sea of sacred sound.