1999 THEME ART
The Wheel of Time
Burial in Space: In Loving Memory of G. Don Wetumka
Dear Friends, With much regret I must inform you that Mr. G. Don Wetumka, President and CEO of Woodpussy Inc., has passed away at the age of eighty two from complications of dust pneumonia. Those of us who knew him well were aware of his desire to move the Woodpussy operation into the aerospace field but budgetary concerns prevented this. Despite this knowledge, it came as some surprise that Mr. Wetumka's will legally binds Woodpussy Inc. to take whatever measures necessary to launch it's deceased founder into deep space during the Burning Man festival.
Coinciding with the opening day of Burning Man, the science team at Woodpussy Inc. will begin building a ramp exactly sixty three feet long and twenty four feet high that will launch a rocket containing our founder's body at the appropriate angle to exit the earth's atmosphere directly over Guymon, Oklahoma. To insure that this is the most spectacular funeral in history, twelve pall bearers will wear pyrotechnic helmets and costumes, becoming human fireballs as our frozen friend speeds off into the night sky. Please join us to say good-bye to a good man of science. It will mean a lot to all of us. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, Jefferson Cheesemonson
Hometown: Hollywood, CA
We are striving for a language where meaning is not constructed through a dictionary of spoken words, but where three dimensional objects are actually generated with a kind of hyperlanguage so that there is perfect understanding between people. IDIOM is a 15' high by 7' wide book with an arc of 2' to 10' pencils imbedded in the playa in front of it. Being a dictionary it will require words and their definition to fill it. The words can be whatever the participant chooses. I have currently gathered about 800 words for the piece through personal contact and the internet.
I hope that by the time the piece is burned to have about 2000 words in the book. During Burningman people can interact with the piece by flipping through the pages and reading the words. Everyday during Burning Man, I and other members of the ISMIST village will conduct the daily ritual of gathering words for IDIOM. We will garb ourselves in the ISMIST costume, and venture out into black rock city to gather words. Upon return to the ISMIST village we will transcribe the words onto new pages for the book. This transcribing effort will also be another fun participatory activity for fellow burners. Every evening we will roll out the new pages in a processional to the "IDIOM" piece and will hang them within the book. On Saturday after the MAN burns we will burn "IDIOM." First the pencils will be set a fire, and then the book itself.
Hometown: Tempe, AZ
by Victor-Charles Scaffati
Victor-charles has designed various sundials over the years, and last year he got the idea of creating a sundial that shot exploding mortars into the air, thereby announcing the arrival of each hour. At the top of each hour a precisely positioned lens will focus the sunlight onto a fuse.
That fuse will set off one or more mortars (the number of mortars equals the hour of the day), sending a succession of explosions in the sky. At sunset the night of the burn, the dial will be incinerated (so that he can design a more innovative sundial next year.) The Sundial will be functional on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Hometown: Johnson Creek, WI
Small After All World
by the LA Cacophony Society
Testy about their geographic proximity to a place reputed to be the happiest on earth, the Los Angeles Cacophony Society finds no recourse but to share this honor by dragging some of this dreadfully giddy cheeriness out into the Black Rock wasteland and sending it up in flames. This particular landmark from a tourist site that will remain nameless is one cynically engineered as an expression of childlike internationalism yet insidiously tied up with themes of cultural imperialism and corporate colonialism.
True to the original, the 56-foot facade will be cluttered with multicultural spires, domes, and other architectural trophies from subordinate nations, all rendered in a self-consciously innocent building-block style. In keeping with this year's theme of Time, the centerpiece of this global cityscape is a clock tower, symbolizing the clockwork regimentation of this utopia, its dreams of dominion over time and its aspirations toward millennial perpetuity. The timepiece of the Southern California prototype functions as a sort of cuckoo clock, with hourly displays of mechanically marching children. Charming as they may be both as puppets and as symbols of the benevolence of an old totalitarian toymaker doting over his puppet regimes, these figures will not make an appearance at Black Rock. Cacophony's version of the clock, will chime only once, demonstrating instead the results of mechanical friction and a single spark in this delightfully dangerous engine of fantasy. The end will be quick and explosive, but the damnable theme song will go on and on and on.
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Back to Nurture
Man, woman and child navigate the mysteries of time as they negotiate a grandfather clock.
Hometown: Orem, UT
by Robert Becker
Here we have a simple brain made up of several cells. Each cell is enclosed in a 4x4x4 inch transparent cube set on 4-foot high platforms. Each cell plays sampled sounds. The cells communicate to one another via bright light flashes emitted from the sides of the cubes. The cells also respond to changing ambient light. The behavior of each cell varies depending on its sensitivity to light, its position to other cells, and the time duration of its sampled sound. Each cell has two modes of operation. In "Mode One", the cell will emit an "utterance" and then signal to another cell to emit an utterance, and so on. In "Mode Two", the cell will emit a repetitive musical/rhythmic sound and signal to another cell to join in the "jam", etc. There will be a special cell called "The Instigator" that will semi-randomly change modes and wake up the brain after a duration of inactivity (sleep). Ambient light will wake up the brain as well. Too much ambient light will cause the brain to go into an epileptic seizure
Hometown: Tustin, CA
In the 21st century, our ability to tamper with and rewire the fundamental building blocks of life will have tremendous consequences for us and our descendants. We hope to promote awareness of the fragile, beautiful nature of structures that exist at a microscopic scale by recreating the double helix on a macroscopic scale. DNA (and the internet) is to the 21st century what the industrial era was to the 20th - mass production revolutionized this century, mass memetic messaging and dna-level deconstruction and technology will revolutionize the next century. DNA is also our most basic physical link to past, present and future. Its 36 points reflect the simultaneous existence of all points of time, a reference to the Wheel of Time.
The core piece consists of a 36 point, 12' high rotating DNA double helix, which will be lit every night and finally burned. Core materials include wood, fabric, wiring and lighting. It will have as little metal as possible. Surrounding the piece will be a 36 point golden spiral-shaped, gated path through which partipants may walk to reach the DNA double helix. A larger circle approximately 200 feet in diameter proscribes the outermost edge of the spiral path to the sculpture. Participants are encouraged to use the mandala as a meditation device, and may slowly rotate the piece 360 degrees - a full circle. We hope they achieve 'karma vertigo' through the meditation process. Participants will also be encouraged to contribute their own dna sample by scraping their mouth with a sterile popsicle stick and then adding that to the center sculpture piece or cloth bags. Their samples will be the kindling used to ignite the double helix, demonstrating the ephemeral nature of our own genetic code and common contribution to a future rebirth.
DOMUS is a 30' in diameter and 20' high dome based on an Archimedian solid of six overlapping circles. Its skin is made of coated polyester dyed a pale green, and it uses solar collectors to power its lighting system. Participants may join the DOMUS Team for midnight vegetarian snacks, and may immerse themselves in the futuristic ambience created by cool color schemes, reassuring geometry, and minimal space-aged forms. Experience positive future technologies through clean solar power and recycled materials in a strong, portable structure.
Hometown: Houston, TX
The Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain & Porta-Temple
by $teven Ra$pa
performers: Del Greger, Super Gigi and Aaron Wolf Baum
At the 5:00 position on the wheel of time, time travellers will enter a circular public space with the Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain & Porta-Temple at the center. The bubble fountain will be a 16 foot high, futuristic variation on the traditional three-tiered water fountain most are familiar with--except this fountain will emit bubbles, rather than water. The Futura Deluxe will be constructed with white acrylic hemispheres and will have an illuminated sphere atop. Wells of bubble fluid and wands bearing the words "Hope," "Wish," "Pray," "Dream" will be positioned around the fountain so that participants can blow their own bubbles, possibly invoking personal aspirations and possible futures.
By day the Futura Deluxe will blow bubbles into the public space. Soft sounds of birds, audio fractals, intermittent laughter, and amusing predictions about the future will help to create a public space with an atmosphere conducive to contemplation and relaxation. By Night, the Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain & Porta-Temple will be lit with subtle lighting while bubbles are emitted.
At various times during the event The Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain & Porta-Temple will be rolled on the playa and into Center Camp as a mobile performance piece, ridden and surrounded by the avatars of the Futura Deluxe. There will be a half-hour performance as part of the Friday night Wheel of Time performances. The performance will run from 3:15 a.m.- 3:45 a.m. (Saturday morning). Watch for the Bubble Sprites and Bubble Scientists and you will find The Dream Seeker, the Hope Giver, The Wish Maker and The Prayer Keeper... and, of course, bubbles!
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
by Troy Van Berry
A spaceship/temple structure in the shape of a pyramid will support a wooden figure representing Hestia, the goddess of hearth and temple. The pyramid will house an interactive lighting and sound system and a large-scale mural depicting a future world vision. The Space Goddess and Pedestal will be burned in a ceremony and ritual on Friday night. Musicians and dancers are welcome to participate. View diagram of the installation.
Hometown: Reno, NV
The Lovers' Birth
by Peri Pfeninger
A large circle with a drawn pentangle star within is created in accord with the Wiccan ritual circles. At the five points of the star stands a 10-12 foot figure representing the Goddess of Fire, the Goddess of Air, the Goddess of Water, and the Goddess of Earth... The central point within the star holds the interactive altar surrounding the rotating wheel which holds the lovers at its central point. The lovers are holding up the Orphic Egg with serpent.The outer circle also has faeries (nature devas) placed in between the Elemental Goddesses to invoke the devas.
The Energy of the circle is about Birth - birthing ideas, desires, healing, material needs and whatever people want to give birth to in their lives. The lovers represent the balance between the male and female - with one another as a species and with the male and female within ourselves. In essence the lovers represent divinity on earth and within ourselves. The wheel they are on will represent the cycle of life and the movement toward the future. View diagram of the installation.