SDCAP is excited to share with you the projects headed to Burning Man that have been awarded grants so far in 2018…and almost all of them are destined for YOUtopia as well! We will be adding to the list as more grants are awarded so be sure to scroll down to read about each one – maybe, just maybe, you’ll be inspired to help build one or more 😉
For centuries, the work of the mathematician and the visual artist are viewed not only as incompatible, but held in tension. Mathematics is attributed to Platonic notions focusing on abstract ideas and theoretical structures. The visual artist, on the other hand, is relegated to works of the hands, dealing with the concrete and the tangible. In trying to bring these worlds together, we should be wary of easy shortcuts to a complex issue, valuing both true artistic vision and rigorous mathematical sophistication.
And so we ask: how can vibrant, contemporary art be produced that deals with vibrant, contemporary mathematics? Unfolding Humanity, a massive, interactive sculpture, is one attempt in answering this question.
Unfolding Humanity alludes to Albrecht Dürer’s 500-year-old unsolved problem: can every convex polyhedron be cut along some of its edges so that it unfolds flat into one piece without overlap? Every attempt to do so has resulted in a positive answer, but mathematicians are still divided over whether this is always possible. Our exhibit offers an example of such a positive answer, by allowing participants to unfold a dodecahedron in a way that satisfies the unsolved problem.
At roughly 10′ cubed, this dodecahedron will be built of pentagonal acrylic faces on top of a metal interior framework. Hinges connect some of the faces to give the structure the ability to interactively unfold flat, using a series of engineered torsion springs, cables and winches.
Exterior faces are dark green acrylic etched with characters illuminated by trailing LEDs invoking the iconic Matrix animation, whereas interior faces of reflective acrylic mirrors create a kaleidoscopic image of people and lights. The frame and the pentagons themselves are illuminated by light from LED strips on the outside and inside. When unfolded (40’ x40′ x10′), the metal dodecahedron framework is still standing while the panels are arranged as petals of a flower along the ground below it.
To allow for interaction and teamwork, cables feed from each of the 5 furthest pentagons, through pulleys on the metal framework, to instantly locking brake winches which are specifically designed for lifting. This holds the structure in place in any configuration between fully open and fully closed.
LED lights will form an outward facing layer for each pentagonal face. The exterior faces will be dark when the dodecahedron is folded open, coming to life as each face is closed to the metal skeleton. When a face closes onto the frame, the falling character animation from the Matrix will come alive, indicating that a further step in the enclosure of a human participant has taken place.
When completely closed, the acrylic mirror faces on the interior of the structure will remain unlit, to allow the light from the frame to create intricate patterns in the many reflections.
Unfolding Humanity is the initial project of San Diego Geometry Lab, a growing collective of mathematicians, engineers, artists, and burners spearheaded by Diane Hoffoss and Satyan Devadoss and supported by Lee Hemingway, Gordon Hoople, Quinn Pratt, Sydney Platt, Elizabeth Sampson, Christiana Salvosa, J. Good, and D.D. Latimore. San Diego Geometry Lab has been created to bring the public to the edge of the mathematical unknown.
Ocean Tunnel is a 200-ft-long walking tunnel conceived by a group of ocean scientists and enthusiasts. In this structure, participants walk beneath a painted canvas and among hanging sculptures that create an underwater experience of the open ocean. The artwork reflects changing ocean conditions: a pure blue ocean filled with schools of big fish transitions to a green, gelatinous soup. Participants push through a thick curtain of suspended jellyfish at the end. Just outside is an atrium filled with lounge areas, information, and open canvas space on which participants are invited to draw and write their reactions and ideas.
The primary intentions of the piece are to:
2) inform and spark conversations about altering the predictable future, and
3) provide a platform for sharing reactions, thoughts, and ideas with a worldwide community.
Ocean Tunnel is intended not only to communicate that climate change and unsustainable fishing practices are dire problems for people everywhere, but also to generate a sense of hope in the face of a challenge. Every year Burning Man and its regional events inspire thousands of humans with a feeling that anything is possible through communal effort. Ocean Tunnel bis intended to generate that feeling around the issue of climate change, leaving participants who interact with the piece and with
one another feeling connected, engaged, and empowered to collectively cause a brighter future for our planet’s greatest resource. (**Architectural Drawings: Derek Lange.)
Zap ia an idea born out of the deep, dark, tree-covered hills of YOUtopia and a desire to artfully play with participants at a distance (and varying states of sobriety). Imagine frolicking along a dark path in the middle of the night’s adventures with anticipation for what might happen next. Out of the corner of your eye you see a flicker in the woods…or did you? You don’t think too much of it as you continue…but wait, there it is again!? As you strain to get a better look all you see are two red dots…”are those eyes or is my mind playing tricks on me???” you think to yourself when it happens again. YOUtopia inspires a lot of art based in camps, but rarely do we play with the surrounding terrain and we hope to change that by planting the seed. There is also a vision of creating a new piece every year that can be placed in misc. locations around the event with a focus on the critters that call Palomar Mountain home.
Zap is a Praying Mantis with a frame of lightweight metal designed to be in a typical upright stance with four walking legs on the ground, arched thorax/head and raptorial forelegs in “praying” position, her midlegs will be adjustable to raise or lower the body as desired. The abdomen will be made out of expanded perforated metal to allow for interior visibility with misc. repurposed metal objects randomly dispersed (keys, door knobs, hinges, chain) to create artistic detail. The forelegs will be articulated, allowing the tibial spines to be raised from the control panel. The wings are designed to expand or collapse depending on space limitations wherever installed. The metal will be treated with a chemical so that the color permanently oxidizes to green with hints of blue and brown.
We are incorporating two visual elements for nighttime display: lighting and fire (the LEDs will be situated in such a manner that both elements can be used simultaneously when desired).
- Lighting: LEDs will be run to accent the frame and programmed for numerous effects. When installed at a distance in the woods the lights will flicker almost like when a bug zapper is triggered. When installed in a more visible location the lights will be more colorful and playful while the abdomen will glow from the inside. The eyes will be a steady red.
- Fire Element: Depending on placement and safety there will be two fire elements. A low flame will glow from inside the abdomen and the tibial spines will be poofers when they are raised. The poofers will be activated by buttons on the control panel allowing for passersby to interact with Zap.
The goal is for Zap to make her debut at Burning Man 2018. Depending on completion date we are interested in displaying her at the Pride Village, Figment and Maker Faire while also making an annual appearance at YOUtopia. Zap’s home will be at CoLab to stand alongside the Man on the roof and be accessible for loan to the community for other events in the same way.The design team consists of Curt Benedetto, Stephanie Cucurullo, Dominic Leone & Samantha Richman. All are welcome to come participate, learn to weld and play! We will update the SD Burner FB page with learn/build days.
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