The symbol of the spiral
Through the inviting but challenging spirals I want to bring you to the inside of the dust storms, to the dead zone where you don’t feel anything, not even a single hint of air or dust but you will still enjoy the beauty and the magic.
What is an spiral?
A curve on a plane that winds around a fixed center point at a continuously increasing or decreasing distance from the point.
A three-dimensional curve that turns around an axis at a constant or continuously varying distance while moving parallel to the axis; a helix. By definition describes a planar curve, that extends in both of the perpendicular directions within its plane; the groove on one side of a record closely approximates a plane spiral (and it is by the finite width and depth of the groove, but not by the wider spacing between than within tracks, that it falls short of being a perfect example); note that successive loops differ in diameter. In another example, the “center lines” of the arms of a spiral galaxy trace logarithmic spirals.
What does the spiral mean to us?
Spirals are some of the oldest geometric shapes in ancient artwork dating back at least to the Neolithic period, the product of people thousands of years away from having access to writing. As such, we know very little about their religious beliefs and can, at best, guess about general meanings of symbols based on context.
Spiral to me means CHANGE, means CYCLE OF LIFE, means EVOLUTION all these is what The eye of the Storm is to me. A structure that will symbolize change as the same way Burning Man changes people; the cycle of life, the merging of completely different kinds of lives into the same place or same art structure or same festival; and evolution because it will attract you to the inside and will make you push yourself and challenge you towards the center where you will feel the peace of the eye of a storm as the same way life does to us.
To me The eye of the Storm symbolizes THE LIFE CHANGING, every frame of each spiral is an action, a decision you make in life that leads you to the place you want to be or the person you want to become. Although like in a windy storm that pushes you around, these events are not necessary your choice, many factors in life can change your path like a new elect president in the country or falling in love with a person, but all these merged together will consolidate our lives.Hence that is our task, putting all these frames together and connect them to become whatever we want to be and finally find the peace inside of each one of us.
Breaking down a six sided box The eye of the storm has six spirals, each one of them in a different orientation, symbolizing different kinds of paths in life. But each one of these spirals merge in the center of the cube creating a space of peace. Like the feeling of going through the Burning Man festival until the day the Temple burns when everything goes silent and calm.
The spirals, made out of standard size timber, will attract you to the center but these will be challenging like going towards a storm.The shape of the structure could become an obstacle but if you success you will get your reward of peacefulness in the center, protected by all these wooden spirals and with the chance to share these moment with whoever makes it through the storm with you.
Making the storm real
Starting from a box and breaking its frame into spirals is the basic starting geometry of The eye of the Storm. Going through many different testings and alterations on the parameters and after an structural analysis leading to the final shape.
Looking at the materializing of the structure and mimicking the aesthetics of a storm, the overlaying wood planks give the sense of it. Structured but at the same time crazy, just like Black Rock City.
Testing of different materials
Building the eye of the storm
The structure is composed of 6 identical modules called twists, arranged in cuboid manner. Each twist is formed of frame elements and ribs connecting those frames, which act as ruled surfaces.
Vertical loads are spread between the outer frames and the central bottom twist that acts in vending and axial force to carry the vertical load to the ground. Lateral forces are resisted using the perimeter frames acting as bracing or the in-plane rigidity of the modules themselves.
The frames with a cross section of 50 by 50 mm will be the main structure. Eleven frames on each side of the 6 sides of the cube, making a total of 66 frames.
The overall length of this out of the shelve timber will be 45.5 meters.
By the interpolation of the division points on the main frames we create the secondary structure which will support and interlock the main frame, with a cross section of 10 by 50 mm.
The overall length of this out of the shelve timber is 672 meters
The structure is arranged in a cubic form of 14 x 14 x 14 feet and will invite the people to climb,interact and inhabit it. This can represent a health and safety risk. In order to ensure the safety of all actors interacting with the sculpture at each stage of the project, we will be following the right safety requirements.
Feeling the dust at Black Rock City
Sand storms that make you lose sense of time, space, people or anything else that happens around you create these magical moments in Playa when every burner feels alone in a place full of people.
With The Eye of the Storm I want to bring you to the inside of these dust storms, to the dead zone where you don’t feel anything not even a single hint of air or dust but you still enjoy the beautiful magic of the storm. Through the challenging spiral structure inviting burners to come in, I want them to come inside the eye to the safety of being inside the storm and at the same time experiencing all the dust storms happening in Playa which are a natural ritual that happens every year.
We can compare the plague from the Exodus with any of the dust storms that we go through at burning man, The eye of the storm is a structure calling at the sun on these occasions.
The experience from the outside is compared with a tornado in a sand storm. Symbolizing a constant sand storm, kept in a broken box, which often happens in Playa. Within the overlaying of the wood frames experiencing the messiness of a storm but at the same time the spiral of the rotating structured nature force.While in the inner geometry you will sense none of this in the same way as in the dead zone or in the eye of the storm. All the layers of the structure will protect everyone inside from any sand storms in the outside. It wont be easy to reach that inner point as this all wooden layer will be complicated to cross like when you go through a storm and you are not able to find anyone around you and you feel in a place of nowhere.
The overall dimensions of the structure are 14 x 14 x 14 feet. Allowing people to get inside and experience the space in between the frames.
The shadows from the structure will project a similar form as an spider web.Simulating as the sun goes around through the day, a tornado moving through The Playa.
The reward to cross all these layers of wood through is to be in this protected space inside the Eye and experience the storm from the inside until you are ready to leave the peace and call Ra the god of the sun as in Egyptian rituals when the Pharaoh called the God to clear the skies from the storm and get back the sun to Black Rock City.
Once the ritual is finished the burners will enjoy a view of the dust storm in a protected space while they wait the answer of the call to Ra the god of sun, who will finish with the dust storm and bring the sun back again.
The LED lights will be located on each one of the frames on every side of the cube. They will be located on the inner face of these frames flowing from the outside to the inside of the cube, giving the sensation of the spiral coming inwards the structure.
TOTAL LENGTH : 45.5 meters
LENGTH ON 1/6 OF THE SIDE OF THE CUBE: 7.6 meters
At night the structure will become and spiral of colorful thunder lights that you will recognize from everywhere in The Playa.
By Maialen Calleja , Master of Architecture ( University of Westminster)