1998 Art Theme: The Nebulous Entity

The nebulous entity is a mobile platform. The strategy of its structural and human design is to create a hyperactive interface between performers and participants. The entity consists of four parts: A central tower that houses a generator, lighting and sound system, lasers and other equipment; the moving platform and stage set, on which the tower is mounted; numerous and extensive tentacles that surround the platform at and above ground level; and single and free-moving performers who will accompany the tentacles.

In general appearance the entity resembles a fluorescent form of sea life. It undulates in all its motions and it glows. All performers are costumed and painted with fluorescent elements and other portable light sources. Like creatures of a coral reef, they form a significant part of the entity’s living architecture. The Entity travels the playa, pushed by performers and participants, and is anchored in front of the Alien Abduction Chamber, where performers interact with participants, engaging them in various activities which drain them of all information. As soon as each person has been processed, they will be gently drawn out again and flushed, like roe, back into the surrounding space. By means of our moving stage and through the actions of performers stationed in the Abduction Chamber, it is our goal to interact with the largest number of people possible. It will also be the goal of all performers attached to the entity to move in a coordinated manner, thus creating the illusion that the entity functions as a single and centrally animated life form. When viewed aerially, the entity will closely resemble those galaxies known as spiral nebula.

Days previous to the first appearance of the entity, detached groups of nebulons (field operatives) will infiltrate our city, minutely investigating all that they encounter as they suction information. These operations may be conducted at any time. The entity itself will only appear at night and will premiere on Saturday night, traversing a course amid the art installations located in the public space of the playa fronting the Esplanade. It will move like a cursor upon a computer screen as it steers between these attractions, pausing briefly at each. Interactive scenarios will be be developed and played out at these stations. Having completed this survey, it will then trace a circular orbit around Burning Man.

Sculpture by Michael Christian, assisted by Cristina Harbridge, Jay Kravitz, LoriAnn Huft, KaosMiKitty, Todd Curtis, David Andreas, Jim Fuhrer and crew: Painted fiberglass over steel armature on airplane wheels with TV monitors and mixed media.
Lighting by Jeremy Lutes.
Voice of the Nebulous Entity by Dr. Aaron Wolf Baum: Laptop computer running MATLAB-based software; four self-powered speakers; microphone; mixing board.

The Alien Abduction Chamber was designed and created by Tim Black and the Mad Scientists: Dana Harrison, Rebecca Firestone, Steve Boverie, Timothy Childs, Louis Brill, Leon Porter, Mike Murphy, Beverly Reiser Dominic Reo, Anca Mosoiu, Ed Bayse and Mark McGothigan.

Project organized by Crimson Rose, Larry Harvey, Dana Albany and Scott McKeown.

More images of the Entity can be seen here.