The Amazing Surf

Project Summary

The Amazing Surf is a complex fractal geometry which ascends toward the light, symbolizing our obsession with reaching for the stars. We use our increasingly digital world to help us extend our reach, but at what point do the shadows we cast reach out above us?

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Physical Description

The shape is inspired by the Amazing surf fractal which is generated by a mathematical formula and visualized in Mandelbulb3D. A visually imposing 25ft tall Ply wood hyperbolic structure, with intricate evolving folded panels. Each folded panel is digitally unrolled into a 2D net and CNC milled, the resultant ply components will be glued to a layer of fabric and folded back to their original 3D shape. This construction technique removes the need for a supporting frame, keeping the complex geometry unobstructed from view. A few panels have been removed at the base to make way for an entry point. Neon strips attached to each panel will produce dramatic light patterns on the surface at night. The installation will orient toward the sunset, where the sun appears at it’s closest.

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Interactivity & Mission

The piece is intended to be used as an impromptu climbing frame, a ladder to ascend burners above the desert and into the stars. Sunlight will bounce off the multi-faceted shapes, creating intricate patterns of light and shadow. Burners are invited to dance in the light shafts and seek shelter in the shadows. As the shape begins to flatten toward the top, the folded panels can be used as armchairs, where vision will be limited to that of the sky and light above; burners can sit and watch as the sky transforms from day to night.

Philosophy

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you”

-Walt Whitman

As a race we strive to advance, developing new tools and machines to help us in this process. There will come a point in the not too distant future where the machines we have developed to help us will supersede us; we will become so reliant on technology, it will begin to control us. I see the Amazing Surf installation as a juxtaposition to this potential future; on the one hand we are using technology to create built environments that are intricate, beautiful and unique, on the other hand these environments are only attainable through the use of technology. If only we took a moment to look back into the shadows, we could avoid the fate that we are gradually bringing upon ourselves.

(IN)Finitely Bound

Project Summary

(IN)Finitely Bound is a recursive fractal geometrical form, similar to that found in nature. It symbolises the universe and its finite boundary, and is an expression to show us the limitations to which technology can take us. As nothing can be bigger and more powerful than the universe.Fractal Geometry

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(IN)Finitely Bound is a recursive fractal Dodecahedron form, consisting of lengths of 2 by 4 timber held into place using bolts and metal plate joints. The structure will be fully burnable and will be both approximately 7m high and wide. On approach to the piece the structures beauty will be be hard to work out, symbolising our confusion with the colossal scale of the universe but as you get closer you realise the receptive nature of the form and come rest on the structure and understanding as we zoom in on aspects which make up the universe and include ourself within it. The piece will be lit up to gently to allow for meditation, contemplation and open our bodies up to mindfulness.

 

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Interactivity and Mission

The initial singularity was a singularity of infinite density thought to have contained all of the mass and space-time of the Universe. The standard model of cosmology predicts that the universe is infinite and flat. However, cosmologists in France and the US are now suggesting that space could be finite and shaped like a dodecahedron instead. They claim that a universe with the same shape as the twelve-sided polygon can explain measurements of the cosmic microwave background – the radiation left over from the big bang – that spaces with more mundane shapes cannot. In a world where “computational power is increasing exponentially, much like the singularity which created the universe” realising our own finite boundaries is where we take power back from the robots and become masters of our own minds, bodies and universe. The piece through its self-replicating fractal structure creates a dodecahedron (Universal) Boundary defined by perspective. In defining our boundary we are then able to instead of focus our mind inwards, a symbol towards mindfulness.

 

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Moon Rocks

 

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Project Summary*

Moon rocks are about challenging the way we experience voids within confined geometries.Inspired by the nature of the sea sponge and its porosity, it is designed to stand as a contrasting installation that references natural geometries confined within a perfect cube, a shape achieved only by human intervention. Ideally the cube will be made out of the earth, naturally and locally sourced, binding naturally with the playa landscape. An internal geometry that looks like something that has been naturally formed by the passage of time, confined within the geometrical precision of the cube,  it is a manifesto of nature and manufacture, a very apparent, very human, extension of nature. A temple honoring the natural playa and celebrating our ability in erecting structures that cohere with nature. Also, they look like pieces of the moon!

 

Physical Description*

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In order to achieve the complex geometry of the moon rocks, we will need to create a mould and fill it with a viscous structural material. I’m currently experimenting with plaster because plaster is just great at picking up detail!
Balloons of varying sizes are inflated to a preferable shape, bound, put in a box, anchored in position to prevent any displacement of the balloons and poured over with plaster. The viscous material that is used to fill the voids inside the balloon box may vary from plaster to concrete,to…anything that behaves like a liquid enough to crawl in all the crevices and eventually dries to solid form. When building on the playa, what better than to use the earth that we will find beneath our feet to create the giant porous sand cube. If it’s one thing that’s easy to find in the desert, its soil.
The project is envisioned basically as a porous sand cube achieved by pouring wet sand (with a bit of natural adhesive) in a 16x16x16 foot cubic mould, potentially built out of prefabricated timber, brought to the desert in a container and fixed together easily on site.Sand will be collected using buckets and shovels, then, a single layer prefabricated inflatable PVC skin, that is basically a bunch of inflatable spheres of various sizes, stitched together, will be placed in the mould, inflated and poured over with the wet sand mix. After the sand crawls in all the corners of the mould, the sand should be compressed to maximum density so it withstands standing under its own weight and the harsh desert conditions throughout the festival. After all is done, the spheres can be deflated or popped like balloons and removed along with the box mould, leaving behind the porous sand cube, or moon rock! When the festival is over, we can knock down the moon rock and spread the sand, returning it to where we found it. Another idea is to pour a mix of wood chips and adhesive to fill the mould instead of sand. Then it can be Burned at the end of the Festival!

 

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Interactivity and Mission*

Moon rocks purpose is to question the way we create spaces, proposing learning from irregular natural geometries. It’s designed to create a clear juxtaposition between its fluid internal structure and its linear cubic confinement and acts as a call to inspire integrating organic natural geometries within our strict linear manmade lives. But let my intent aside for a bit. Seeing an unusual giant sand cube, that looks like a piece of the moon, in the desert, just has so many interpretations, I’m sure the expression of the piece will be received in multiple forms.
Burners are invited to let go of their previous experience of structures by observing inside the cube and exploring its intricate internal form, discovering more and more interconnected naturally fluid spaces of varying sizes, the deeper within the cube their vision ventures. The piece offers shelter from the harsh weather conditions and a nice place to sit and rethink what kind of space we feel comfortable being in. Cubic or fluent? Simple or complex? Natural or artificial?
It’s an object that leaves the observer’s conclusion about the piece with the freedom to wander. But whatever the conclusion may be, I hope it will have to do with the beauty found in nature.

Philosophy the piece*

Creating a piece showing appreciation for the intricacy and beauty found in the natural world.
The philosophy behind the piece is one that suggests that we learn from naturally formed geometries when we create things. I aspire to make visitors rethink how we build, by creating an object that looks like something between a man-made object and a naturally formed shape. The Moon rocks are the embodiment of the threshold of the artificial and the natural. A structure that mimics nature but also imprisons it within a cube, expressing that we are still far from building like nature does and calls for humanity to realise the importance of building in coherence to our surroundings,  and work harder towards recreating nature.

 

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The first thing I hope and imagine is wonderment as you try to understand the unique geometric shape of the structure. One single winding surface, where is the  beginning, where is the end? Do they even exist at all? As people journey around the structure they will encounter all manner of different shapes, reflections and lights.
A simple attempt to emulate the complex beauty of nature with the aid of fractal geometry algorithms and human aesthetic. An impressive, otherworldly structure that will harvest man’s most important resource direct from the desert air.

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A large, thermoformed structure inspired by the Stenocara Beetle of Africa which, using cleverly designed patterns on its shell, can harvest water from the air. Emulating the beetle, the building will harvest water from the humid morning air thanks to a hydrophilic surface material and biomimetic process.
Furthermore, the water collected by the biomimetic system will finish its way into well placed holes allowing visitors in the morning to refresh their face with the freshwater of the structure. I want people to become aware of the possibility of water recovery in the arid zone while enjoying a resource that’s so rare in the desert.

The idea that nature can inspire us to create robotic aided designs that have a positive impact on humans is something that fascinates me. Ever since I learned of the Stenocara Beetle’s unique ability to harvest water from the air, I knew I had to produce a design inspired by this. I hope this aspect alone will create some wonderment, questioning and reflection around what I personally deem to be one of the biggest crisis facing the planet: dwindling water supply.

The structure is also made entirely of bio-based material, taking life to create something that gives life back thanks to water seems a beautiful cycle to weave. The installation, with no beginning or end, actually relates directly to the cycle of life, the same journey everyone visiting the structure is part of. The mesmerising production of water from air, the necessity of movement to fully embrace the structure, every life cycle is different, but we all share a few key steps, I want everyone to share their own steps around the structure as the unique ribbon merges different identities into one.
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A 13.13.13 feet structure made from light, translucent, flexible polypropylene material. The structure follows a complex geometric form made of Borromean rings and Mobius strip which consist of a single surface winding along three double ellipses and features a unique textured surface throughout.

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Assembly always takes place at the base of the project as the sheets are assembled piece by piece using a thermoforming process. These large bumps take on an important structural role in helping form the sheets together. The peaks of the building follow attractor points and also become a unique artistic installation that reflect light in a unique way at night.

The Fractal Hourglass

The Fractal Hourglass counts down to the singularity, the moment that artificial super-intelligence triggers an unprecedented shift in human civilisation. The concept of recursively self-improved AI is portrayed by a tower of iterated fractal trusses, in which time is measured by a cascade of light.

Triangular steel trusses array to form a 15-foot tall hourglass silhouette, where scaled repetitions within each truss form a lattice of increasing complexity and infinite bounds. The visual density of each truss intensifies at each fractal iteration, culminating in the filling of the lower hourglass bulb, representing the finite time remaining until the singularity. At night, a dynamic cascade of LEDs will flow on and off from the upper to the lower bulb, a spectacle alluding to sand pouring through an hourglass.

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The steel tubes forming the piece range from a diameter of 1.5″ in lengths from 1 to 3-feet, which are hammered flat and bolted to form the main structure, and 0.5″ diameter tubes welded inside to form the decorative fractal repetitions.

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On approach, the tense drama of time running out is visible through the concentration of material in the bottom of the hourglass, provoking an instinct to stall the process. Burners have a choice of how to experience the hourglass- whether that is to ascend the structure to experience the inversion of the hourglass as the bulb empties, where ascension serves as a sanctuary from the saturation of technology and AI in the lower bulb. Or they can recline on the ground and let their eyes weave through the layers of trusses and bathe in the saturation and complexity of technological advancement. Or simply to turn away and let what effectively has become a natural process to take its course. At night, the cascading light display forms an even more immersive encounter with the hourglass, as waves of light repeat the process of time as it funnels through and fills the lower bulb, swarming anyone who is inside.

 

The finite nature of fractals in the hourglass represents the capacity for infinite artificial intelligence- each increment provides an equally stable steel structure, whilst having the capacity to use less and less material, but only to a point. It is not possible for this fractal to reach infinity and be constructed at a human scale. This poses the question of, at which point on the way to infinity do humans get before their intelligence can be overtaken by AI- the moment of the singularity. Is it too late to invert the hourglass and, given the choice, would you want to?

The Fractal Hourglass allows for Burners to take a moment to relish on their existence as humans, with the capacity to orchestrate their own experience, something which AI’s currently don’t possess. Artificial intelligence is currently an opportunity to shape a future experience where humans can outsource themselves, freeing up valuable time and energy. The hourglass serves as a visual symbol that human existence is fleeting so long as AI is permeating our lives, and provides a timer for the impending singularity, a moment that will transform the world as we know it, a reminder that we still have the alluring capacity to define and create.

 

‘The first ultra-intelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make, provided that the machine is docile enough to tell us how to keep it under control.’

I J Good

 

 

The Wishing Well

something caught in between dimensions – on its way to becoming more.

Summary

The Wishing Well is the physical manifestation, a snap-shot, of a creature caught in between dimensions – frozen in time. It is a digital entity that has been extracted from its home in the fractured planes of the mathematical realm; a differentially grown curve in bloom, organically filling space in the material world.

The notion of geometry in between dimensions is explored in a previous post: Shapes, Fractals, Time & the Dimensions they Belong to

 

Description

The piece will be built from the bottom-up. Starting with the profile of a differentially grown curve (a squiggly line), an initial layer will be set in pieces of 2 x 4 inch wooden studs (38 x 89 millimeter profile) laid flat, and anchored to the ground. Each subsequent layer will be built upon and fixed to the last, where each new layer is a slightly smoother version than the last. 210 layers will be used to reach a height of 26 feet (8 meters). The horizontal spaces in between each of the pieces will automatically generate hand and foot holes, making the structure easily climbable. The footprint of the build will be bound to a space 32 x 32 feet.

The design may utilize two layers, inner and out, that meet at the top to increase the structural integrity for the whole build. It will be lit from within, either from the ground with spotlights or with LED strip lights following patterns along the walls.

Different Recursive Steps of a Dragon Curve

Ambition

At the Wishing Well, visitors embark on a small journey, exploring the uniquely complex geometry of the structure before them. As they approach the foot of the well, it will stand towering above them, undulating organically across the landscape. The nature of the structure’s curves beckons visitors to explore the piece’s every nook and cranny. Moreover, its stature grants a certain degree of shelter to any traveller seeking refuge from the Playa’s extreme weather conditions. The well’s shape and scale allows natural, and artificial, light to interact in curious ways with the structure throughout the day and night. The horizontal gaps between every ‘brick’ in the wall allows light to filter through each layer, which in turn casts intriguing shadows across the desert. This perforation also allows Burners to easily, and relatively safely, scale the face of the build. Visitors will have the opportunity to grant a wish by writing it down on a tag and fixing it to the well’s interior.

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Philosophy

If you had one magical (paradox free) wish, to do anything you like, what would it be?

Anything can be wished for at the Wishing Well, but a wish will not come true if it is deemed too greedy. Visitors must write their wish down on a tag and fix it to the inside of the well. They must choose wisely, as they are only allowed one. Additionally, they may choose to leave a single, precious, offering. However, if the offering does not burn, it will not be accepted. Visitors will also find that they must tread lightly on other people’s wishes and offerings.

The color of the tag and offering are important as they are associated with different meanings:

  • ► PINK – love
  • ► RED – happiness, joy, success, good luck, passion, vitality, celebration
  • ► ORANGE – change, adaptability, spontaneity, concentration
  • ► YELLOW – nourishment, warmth, clarity, empathy, being free from worldly cares
  • ► GREEN – growth, balance, healing, self-assurance, benevolence, patience
  • ► BLUE – conservation, healing, relaxation, exploration, trust, calmness
  • ► PURPLE – spiritual awareness, physical and mental healing
  • ► BLACK – profoundness,  stability, knowledge, trust, adaptability, spontaneity,
  • ► WHITE – mourning, righteousness, purity, confidence, intuition, spirits, courage

The Wishing Well is a physical manifestation of the wishes it holds. They are something caught in between – on their way to becoming more. I wish for guests to reflect on where they’ve been, where they are, where they are going, and where they wish to go.

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Anahad

 

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ANAHAD

– Limitless Sound –

“Vocal music is considered to be the highest, for it is natural; the effect produced by an instrument which is merely a machine cannot be compared with that of the human voice. However perfect strings maybe, they cannot make the same impression on the listener as the voice which comes directly from the soul-breath and has been brought to the surface through the medium of the mind and the vocal organs of the body”.

– Harzat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word –

 

The combination of architecture, derived from fractal geometry, and the power of sound led to the creation of Anahad. This installation is an interactive musical display, which will be acting as musical instrument giving voice to the burners and the surrounding environment.

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This art installation, which challenges the perception of nature, is called Anahad. I am planning to build 3 free-standing “trees”, each measuring 1.5m in diameter at the base and 3m at the top. The trees are 5m tall and they are composed of 105 copper pipes or mild metal tubes each measuring 6m long and ranging between 30 and 45mm in diameter. A central column connected to a solid base is the main structural element supporting 2 concentric layers of pipes.

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The most external pipes are bent and perforated and filled with LED strips that will shine through the openings. Every pipe will generate a different sound based on the perforation pattern and the bends. The inner pipes, which are only bent and connected to a propane tank, will spit fire from the top.

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Anahad establishes a connection among the user, the art, and the environment.
Can you recall how the wind blowing sounds? Is it always the same? This design will act as a musical instrument, which will be playable both by burners and the Playa itself.
During nighttime, the user will be transported both visually and sensorially into a digital forest through a LED light show mimicking sun rays penetrating the forest treetops. Then flames will be shooting out from the top to mark every hour.
The aim of this installation is to create an uninterrupted musical performance, combining the sounds produced by burners hitting the pipes or by the wind blowing through the pipes. The central space between the three trees and the niches at their base will provide a space to meditate and be mindful of the soundless sound of the Playa. This installation in its simplicity will connect people and natural environment through the use of musical harmony.

Anahad

Anahad is solely an instrument through which the breath of the Playa will blow, singing for the burners. Vice versa, burners will be able to express themselves striking the metal pipes playing melodies for the community and the surroundings.
This installation aims to connect the people to the Playa. The three “trees” are a digital fabricated representation of a natural forest. In a world where disconnecting from reality becomes a luxury, where innovation takes over simplicity, and nature gets left aside in our busy lives, music is what makes us human. Anahad challenges the way we experience reality, by combining the digital and virtual world with the natural environment. The aim is to provide the participants with an ideal environment for them to meditate in and be mindful of their whole experience.