Burning Man Art Installation
Concept developed as part of the Virtual Construction Lab of Schüco
I helped develop a concept for an art installation to be constructed at this year's Burning Man festival, in collaboration with the designers, engineers, and animators that work in my office. The project was accepted by the Burning Man project management team but unfortunately we didn't secure the budget to build it this year, as we began work on it a bit of a whim. But I still feel the project as it exists in conceptual art is worth sharing, and hopefully we will apply some of its ideas into a new installation in time for next year's festival.
The theme of the festival in 2018 is "I Robot," and as such our art installation builds off of the short story Reason, which concerns the introduction of executive robots to maintain the Beam Director machine, while promoting the festival's core principles of self-expression, gifting, and participation, etc.
AI is often linked to existential questions of our mortality and eventual end, which meshes well with the Mad Max-aura that dominates Burning Man each year. Our installation evokes the visage of a futuristic solar-powered satellite that has crashed into a dune in the sand. This dune is a fabric tensile structure that offers shelter from the harsh climate of the Black Rock Desert, while the solar panels on the crashed satellite power a series of fiber optic lights to illuminate the installation at night (and track the sun during the day to increase their efficiency). This creates a complicated picture, casting technology as both ominously flawed and yet necessary to our survival.
I helped develop the overall narrative of the piece, created all the hand-sketched drawings included here, and built the scale model of the site. Our animators created the 3D renders and GIFs, and our engineering team ensure that our installation would be feasible to construct. This was a true team effort, and I hope that next year we get a chance to design something even better and build it at the festival.