2005 Honorarium Installations
Aeolian harps are installed on two 20′ pyramids to create a sound environment that resonates at a deeper level with overtones. We use the wind as a metaphor for change. It speaks and sings its message through the wind harps, and may be experienced from a shaded sitting area.
A horizontal triangular structure made of steel tubing, each side 33 feet long, has an opening to allow entrance into the center, where the participant is surrounded by fire. From the three sides of the triangle, vertical metal shapes emit fire every four inches in this large-scale model of “Ajna”, the sixth chakra, also known as the third eye.
Participants control the gestures of this 16′ tall illuminated, articulated, animated sculpture which reproduces the shape and movement of the fingers and thumb of a hand, not quite to human proportions but close enough to evoke a feeling of commonality. The fingers are made of fluorescent light tubes.
This interactive installation involves user control of a large kinetic white light sculpture made of fluorescent tubes. Push buttons control the formation and dynamics of 12 lines of light scribed in space.
Angel of the Apocalypse
A gigantic, elegant sculptural environment rises from the ground in the form of an abstracted bird. The story of the Angel beautifully conveys a cycle of change, growth and discovery, and the large-scale installation invites Burning Man participants to explore this process as well. The Angel installation is built of wood and metal, measuring 50′ x 50′ on the ground and reaching a height up to 20′. The body of the bird will be a 30′ x 10′ x 5′ driftwood sculpture. Two concentric sets of wings measuring from 8′ to 20′, jutting from the earth like claws or fingers, arc around the body. The head and beak serve as a wood burning cauldron and chimney.
Each night the steel wings will be lit by burning ambient gas and liquid flame for several hours, and will be spaced so that people can walk through and amongst the flaming feathers. The head will house a wood fire which will burn all night, bringing warmth to the night. By day, participants will be able to climb on and into the 30′ driftwood body in quiet contemplation and joyous celebration.
Bed in Your Head
The BED IN YOUR HEAD is a two-part work consisting of an art-bed and an interactive film about dreams. The viewer lies in a canopy bed sculpted to resemble a mouth and watches the film, projected on the bed’s canopy by a neuron sculpture. The film documents people awakening from sleep and explaining their dreams, and includes short animations depicting some of these dreams. A lever at the headboard, when activated, cross-fades the viewer’s own image on to the screen, creating a real time video “mirror.”
Bike With 2 Brains
The Bike With 2 Brains is a 2-person, human-powered vehicle where the riders sit side-by-side. Each rider can pedal a wheel in front of them forward of backward, so to go straight, both riders must pedal at the same speed. The Bike likes to be ridden around and uses light and sound to attract riders. It tries a variety of patterns to attract a first rider, and will change patterns to attempt to attract a second. It is most happy with two riders.
Black Rock City Rickshaw Fleet
The BRC Rickshaw Fleet is both a civic art project involving multiple camps and an experiential opportunity for participants to give and receive the gift of human-powered transport. Each of the five rickshaws in the small fleet is decorated by a special camp or artist. On the playa, they’ll be dispatched from a central location for use by drivers in shifts, picking out walking Burners and helping them get to where they’re heading. The project is meant to serve as an experimental, pedal-powered ‘virtual taxi fleet’ – a gift to the citizens of BRC.
The clockworks are a monument to the invention of measured time. This 30′ clock tower contains, at its heart, a tangle of large wooden gears that slowly turn the hands of three clock faces. The movement is powered by two large weights that are wound up daily. A long swinging pendulum inside the tower regulates the beat. Three large bells made from welder’s tanks hang inside the tower waiting for clock to strike its song hourly until the clock meets its end in a fiery climax.
Colossus is a thing from dreams and nightmares; massive stones flying above your head plus energy and mass in motion will disturb your psyche. Three large boulders, to each of which is attached a short piece of rope, are suspended from steel arms attached to a central column. Three 20′ long spikes are attached to the boulder arms and move up or down as the boulders are spun by participants. The spikes act as the “crown” of the Colossus, which is inspired by the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the world, a large sculpture which greeted visitors coming into the port of the ancient city of Rhodes. As the boulders are spun and as they increase in speed, the rocks move outward from centrifugal force. They are connected by a set of lever arms to the crown of spikes. As the rocks move out, the spikes move downwards. When the spikes are in full upright position, the height will be close to 50 feet, and the total weight of the piece, spinning, will be around 45-50,000 pounds.
Concentric Aphasia is a 35′ tall stainless steel kinetic sculpture. Four 20′ pendulums have a pivot placed just above their respective centers of gravity. They rotate about the pivot in a sinusoidal motion, independent of one another. The movement is random, yet resembles a dance. On the ground, at four equally spaced points around the sculpture, are
high power stage lights with color filters. As dramatic as the 20 foot long moving pendulums are during the day, they are even more so at night with the stainless steel reflecting 80-90% of the light received from the stage lights. The size, movement and lighting make it visible
from all over the playa. The pendulums receive energy either from human input, through a pull cable, or from the abundance of wind energy on the playa.
The Dicky Box plays with the notion of an isolated psyche amongst a community consciousness. For the duration of Burning Man, “Dicky” Davies will be locked into a 10 x 10 plexiglass room on the open playa where his perceptions of isolation will be pushed, celebrated, and delivered as a gift to the community. He will be given enough food and water to survive the event, and a medical staff will be on hand to ensure his safety. He will not be able to leave the box, nor will anyone be able to join him. His only interaction with the outside world will be through a standard size parcel slot and a screened 6″ by 6″ portal. Everything he receives will be at the discretion of Black Rock City’s citizens. With his necessities tended to, we invite the community to engage, nurture, and push the needs of one of its own, as he spends a week in isolation and heads toward a deeper understanding of self. The Dicky Box will be an experiment of restriction in the world’s most unrestrictive community.
The Dreamer is a hyper-realistic face, half submerged in the playa, that reminds us of Magritte and other surrealists who attempted to represent the world of the mind. The interior will serve as a chamber of ceremonies, with a fire pit and a chimney at the center of the space.
Eyes Wide Open - Iraq War Labyrinth
A question mark-shaped labyrinth made of combat boots and civilian shoes contains at its center a podium with a photo album of everyone who has died in the Iraq war and a gong that people may strike, to honor the soldiers and civilians who have lost their lives since America invaded Iraq. This installation is inspired by the American Friends Service Committee’s traveling memorial to the Iraq War.
The Pendulums of Fire pairs the original horizontal pendulum from 2004 with a new complimentary pendulum sculpture that will mirror the elegant shapes and graceful movements of the first Pendulum. The new sculpture is a vertical pendulum turned upside down with the flame jets overhead and a counterweight at the bottom. Together these two fire sculptures with their inherently hypnotic and mesmerizing qualities beckon the viewer to cross the line into their subconscious.
Long, long ago, when Lake Lahontan still held water, Fire-Pod, a seed of flame cast into space from a distant galaxy, plunged into the lake, sunk to the bottom in a dormant state, and was subsequently buried in sediment over a period of several thousand years. As evident today, Lake Lahontan has dried up and the process of Eolian Erosion, the removal of loose, fine-grained particles by the turbulent eddy action of the wind, is exhuming Fire-Pod from the playa. In the late summer of 2004, almost completely liberated from its earthly restraints, Fire-Pod showed its first signs of activity after an estimated 12 thousand years of dormancy. The world’s leading pyrotechnic scientists have been studying Fire-Pod since the time of its discovery and predict that it will develop from this infantile pyrotechnic display of pilot lights into a full-blown maelstrom of flame if appropriate environmental conditions permit. Scientists hypothesize that Fire-Pod, if allowed to fully mature, will cast its legacy into space once again spreading flame to other parts of the universe.
“The face and voice of the citizens of Black Rock City” HeadSpace is an interactive audiovisual installation which comes to life at dusk. A video projector, camera and microphone booth stationed 20′ away from this giant head project the image of the participant’s face and voice onto it. This live projected image appears to be three-dimensional from all angles around the sculpture, and the 10′ tall projected “face” seems to float in space above the playa. All who wish to have their dreams, confessions, announcements, stories, jokes, poetry, performance, or songs heard are welcome.
The Hypha is a magical thread-like structure composed of cells attached end to end and forms the main tissue in many fungus species. My incarnation of Hypha will be constructed of steel and will allow participants to climb and interact within its 24 foot height. This particular steel inspiration has been fully designed to dissolve the boundaries between us that our culture has sanctioned, to become part of the Gaian Supermind. The confines of learned culture and embedded language are embodied in this piece. It demonstrates what Wittgenstein called the unspeakable, the transcendental presence of the other, which can be abstracted, in various ways, to yield systems of knowledge which can be brought back into ordinary social space for the good of the community.
Wandering the quiet reaches of the outer playa, you encounter a strange conical structure. It looks like a huge head has been submerged in the earth and all that remains visible is the hat, a beacon of light beaming from it to the great above, hinting at the wonders within. You enter; a fantastic space emerges before you, an incredible matrix of multicolored brilliancy. You see neurons firing and reacting to the stimulus of images and sounds; you are surrounded by the workings of a giant brain. Vision and sound become action; become color; become thought; become memory. Light as air, the great mystery of thought is revealed.
You have found yourself within the Inner Mind.
LawnMowerMan unconsciously toils at a task he can never finish. Completely unattended and autonomous, he tirelessly follows a path that is obvious only to him, and can only be changed by you. LawnMowerMan is a 2 meter tall mechanical automaton pushing a rotary lawn mower, guided by the heavens (GPS) and you (object detection). Watch from afar as he describes orderly patterns on the playa, or step right up and change his actions simply by being there.
The harps are three separate but unified light instruments, each day reconfigured to form various larger forms – first a walking path, second a separation as 3 unique entities, and last a combined spiral maze. Each night the harps will slowly begin to glow. Walking and moving within the beams creates sound; each beam is a pallet of different sounds including musical tones, atmospheric and meditative rhythms, and sampled whispers of recorded voices whispering their own dreams.
The Machine, a multi-storied meta-mechanical structure with 8 articulated kinetic limbs stands in the open vista of the playa. Over the course of the week it will be shaped and altered carrying the cumulative evidence of environmental and human influence.
Its transformation requires the community to bring it forth from concept to reality. As drive wheels are turned the transmission will engage gears that rotate a central core and upper platform and slowly raise the limbs. Each interaction will generate a new stage of evolution and unique configuration. The city will give breath to this monolithic organism.
The sculpture represents a mother (30′ tall) and a child (20′ tall), walking side by side through an unspecified time. Their hands are extended toward each other, the mother’s over the child’s, and from her hand pours a liquid flame. The flame mingles in the child’s hand for a moment, then pours into a long pool of fire which flows before them. The hands on the outside of the figures are extended and from each a gentle stream of water pours and collects on either side of their bodies into long reflecting pools which flow forward toward the horizon. From behind each figure trails a series of burning footprints which diminish as they get further from the figures, marking the history of each and the energy they shared with the earth during their passage. The mother’s gaze is fixed on the child. The child is looking forward to the horizon, at the future.
Rubber horses is an homage to wild Nevada, home to the largest population of wild horses in the United States, and to the inevitable drive out to Burning Man, in which we witness tire scraps littering all highways. These tires scraps are what make up the exterior of the three horses; their skeletons are made of rebar and reinforced and decorated with scrap metal, mirrors, and reflectors.
SoLA is an interactive light sculpture, 80′ in diameter, that sits on the playa surface. Six glowing disks await activation by the footsteps of desert wanderers. Depending on the number of participants and their relative positions, different arcs of sequenced LEDs trace out the pattern of the Seed of Life. The Seed of Life is an ancient image of six interlocking circles with a seventh circle described by the center points of the interlocking six. The more participants, the more elaborate the light display. If all of the activation disks are occupied, viewers are treated to a spectacular light show, incorporating an 8-13Hz pulsing that induces alpha state.
, wagner (at) chaoshacker (dot) org, debian_42 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Stadium of the Self
On your initial approach, the Stadium of the Self suggests a venue of intense competition, judgment, fear, defeat, and triumph. As you venture around the onyx-walled structure, you discover the eighth wall missing. In its place, an elevated pathway of gold slices through to the structure’s center and reveals an intimate chamber constructed of a dizzying vortex of luminous gold mirror. Seventy gold mirrored stadium steps encircle you with reflected light. The interior of this Coliseum holds only one individual participant in its center, and when looking into the stands for approval or judgment you are faced with an audience of one, simultaneously multiplied seventy times: the seventy panels of gold mirror are angled to reflect us back to ourselves, our own ego. In this Stadium of the Self it is only ourselves that we answer to.
Star Wheel Returns
Star Wheel is a rolling Bicycle Ferris Wheel. Three people climb into chairs with bicycle pedals at their feet. Pedaling turns the ferris wheel which turns inside a larger wheel. The whole sculpture moves across the playa.
[Greek sunapsis, point of contact,
from sunaptein, to join together
: sun-, syn- + haptein, to fasten.]
Synapses is a nationwide community built fire art installation that will burn four times during the event. Six metal sculptures, built in workshops in the following regional areas: New York, Georgia, Texas, California & Washington, will be configured into one hexagonal grouping on the playa. Participants are invited to meet on the evenings of the scheduled burns to load and place meaning into the Synapses fire cauldrons.
Temples of Dreams
This year’s temple is a family of shrines, spires, and pagodas surrounding a central temple, all woven together to create a village of temples. The village will be as much about the space inside the village as the structures themselves, as a place for the community to
gather, to be together, and to reflect. This village is dedicated to the hopes, dreams, and memories of everyone on the playa – to acknowledge where we came from – and where we are going.
Tower of Memory
A filigreed mobile metal tower, 25′ tall, contains three fire pits and moves around the playa as it burns the wood within.