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Truth is a personal conquest which one attains through a mystery.

The Burning Man festival has evolved from a simple gathering of people on a beach in San Francisco into a spectacular spectacle. Burners travel from all over the world to meet in the Black Rock desert of Nevada where they form a city of temporary structures and burn a huge towering figure of a man. The theme of the 2017 burning man event will be Radical Ritual, an attempt to reinvent ritual in our post-post-modern world disregarding assertions of belief and concentrating instead on the immediate experience of play. Fractured cosmos seeks to provide this year’s burners with an edible artwork experience in the playa, a crystalline structure made from hard boiled sugar candy.

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Fractured Cosmos draws the inspiration for its form from the Shri Yantra Mandala, a mystical diagram used in the Shri Vidya school of Hindu Tantra. The diagram, nine Isosceles triangles interlaced to form 43 smaller triangles, is said to be symbolic of the entire cosmos. The geometry of this symbol, usually depicted as a flat, two-dimensional construct, has been inclined, distorted and fractalized out of its two-dimensional plane to create a series of inclined planes for Burners to inhabit and play within.

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Those cultures which meditate using the Shri Yantra symbol believe life exists between two planes, that of Samsara, this earth plane, and Nirvana, a perfect heavenly plane. One transcends from Samsara to Nirvana when they have gained enough genuine insight into impermanence and non-self reality. This notion has been reinterpreted as a series of transparent colourful planes on the playa, casting colourful light onto the ground beneath our feet. Each of the planes will be made from coloured rock candy, offering burners the opportunity to perceive an altered sweeter perspective of the world, as well as a delicious treat if they’re brave enough to lick it.

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The use of hard boiled candy as the structural material for the pavilion means the structure will be made by mixing sugar, liquid glucose and Creme de Tartar with water. This concoction will be boiled to a temperature of 145 degrees celsius before pouring into formwork to cure. Waterproof LED lights will be added once the liquid has cooled to a sufficient temperature, and these will be used to light the structure at night.

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The plinth of Fractured Cosmos must be strong enough to support the weight of the candy structure above plus the added weight of any burners, tie the structure down, capture any waste which falls off the structure as it is consumed and house the power source for the night time lighting. This has been designed using the same method of recursion as the candy structure to create a plinth using the mandala’s cosmic gate element as its inspiration. the final form generates a climbable podium for burners to ascend before inspecting and consuming.

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