My design for this year’s Burning Man Festival is titled ‘Black Light Tower.
Black Light Tower is a membrane tensegrity structure which is constructed out of 38 metal rods and a transparent structural membrane. One of the most important characteristics of the Black Light Tower tower is also one of the most important principles of Burning Man Festival – Self Reliance. Just like people of Burning Man are encouraged to rely solely on themselves and their own resources this structure is fascinating mainly because it does not use any additional support such as columns or cables, but relies solely on its own structure. The membrane almost miraculously holds the structure up and in tension. To be more precise, instead of the structure holding up the cover, cover is holding up the structure.
Tensegrity structure of this kind seems to be a perfect allegory of the Burning Man principles and a symbol of self reliance.
Black Light Tower will provide a unique experience to its users.
Its interior space is essentially a ladder which leads towards the top of the structure. From the day one the space is filled with hundreds and hundreds of butterflies which cannot escape the tower.
Butterflies then fill the tower storey by storey as the days go by. Every day the net which separates one storey from the other gets removed and butterflies can fly higher into the structure. Visitors can climb only as high as the butterflies go.
On the final day magic happens as the butterflies are symbolically released in the air, at the same time as the Burning Man Figure is set on fire. Butterflies are lit with UV light which allows the visitors to see them in their true colours, in the same way as butterflies see each other, while creating a spectacular event for the viewers’ eyes.
Immediacy is probably one of the most important values of the Burning Man culture. As written in the ten principles immediate experience means to seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality that surrounds us and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers.
The experience of climbing the tower will definitely make the climbers fell more alive aware of their inner selves. The night view of the Black Light Tower should be spectacular as all of the rods will be equipped with UV light which will reveal not only the magic of the floating structure under the membrane but ever changing projection of butterflies in flight under the Black Light. One of the most thrilling experiences, however, will most probably be the sublime view of the Playa from the top of the tower on the last day of the festival, that seems like its going to collapse any minute.
Just like in the pendulum-based drawing machine by Eske Rex or in the art of Tim Knowles who attaches writing implements to trees, in this latest project titled STYN by Netherlands-based graduate student Sam van Doorn the seemingly random lines of chaos (or maybe just physics) are rendered visible using ink or pencil. Using modified parts from an old pinball machine van Doorn created a one-of-a-kind drawing device that utilizes standard flippers to control a ink-covered sphere that moves across a temporary poster placed on the game surface. He suggets that skill then becomes a factor, as the better you are at pinball the more complex the drawing becomes.
The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunites.
But does democratized culture mean better art, film, music and literature or is true talent instead flooded and drowned in the vast digital ocean of mass culture? Is it cultural democracy or mediocrity?
This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era.
Download full movie in 720P or 1080P, in normal or interactive version from the link below:
Above is my submission for 2012 Burning Man Art Grants.
Black Rock Market is an inflatable structure made entirely out of thick polyethylene membrane which is dug into the sand. After it is inflated from underneath it emerges from the ground creating a spectacular event to watch. It uses sand as an anchor, hence no additional support is required. Sand is used for shading as well (membrane is covered with a sticky material in areas where shading is required and so sand sticks to the membrane, creating very beautiful natural shading)
Market provides fresh vegetables to the visitors (grown in the greenhouse area) and other refrigerated food (refrigerated in sand refrigerators which use evaporative cooling and are hung from the ceiling). All this in exchange for goods which the visitors bring. These are stored in a storage area in order to be sold next year to buy seeds and to cover the expenses of running a market.
There is also a communal area in the central courtyard and a hanging net above it for relaxation.
Below is an amazing reference for anyone looking either at inflatable structures, light, colours, acoustics, performing arts etc. The Project is entitled “Colourscape” and is organised several times a year by Eye Music Trust while actual spaces are designed and built by the renowned artistic partnership of Peter Jones and Lynne Dickens (see video below).
By linking music, colour, light, space and movement the festival aims to give new dimensions to public perception and new understanding of contemporary music and performing arts. Even though exterior of the building (especially from aerial view) is not particularly aesthetically pleasing, the effect of sunlight and colours is unbelievable while you are inside. Also, pay attention to how cleverly they solved the issue of entering an inflatable building.
Another quite recent similar example (on a larger scale though) is Anish Kapoor’s “Leviathan” in Grand Palais, Paris (see pictures below).
Does anyone know how to do branching structures without having to repeat and copy everything for every level of branches? I’ve been trying to find a way but no luck. There must be a solution where you can just by pulling a slider adjust the number of levels, while the proportions of one unit (four branches) stay the same… Would be much easier and faster to test how strong a structure with multiple levels is compared to one with only one or two…
Below are three pictures, first one shows the entire Grasshopper screen, second one just one component (piped line with set directions) and the third one the result.