Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I've been working on some ideas for the 6 way connection on the wood tower and thinking a lot about how to actually build this thing. I'm currently thinking I would like to be able to reach each of the connections over head - building the structure one layer at a time and standing on top of each subsequent level to build the next. This limits the length of the vertical struts to about 8' or so.

For the connection I'm thinking about using a 3/4" plywood plate to butt all the members into. It's a very precision heavy detail but the angles and dimensions are easy enough to derive from the 3d model.

Next up I need to build a physical model of the base including the connections. I think this will give me enough feedback to begin building a full scale section.

Check out the little video below:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My campmate, the Beer Hoarding Magpie, got me going with this year's project. He suggested a two stage tower comprised of a bottom section of wood that would be climbable and a top section of bamboo that would not. The wood tower could replace our construction scaffolding and provide a viewing platform 25 feet or so above the Playa. With a bamboo tower on top we could probably reach a height of 80-90 feet! Oh yeah!

See some of the work I've been doing so far here:

I'm also thinking this would be a great opportunity to collaborate with the guys that made an amazing piece from recycled disposable camera flash bulb circuits. The bulbs could be mounted on the tower illuminating the Playa below and maybe incorporating an interactive button that would allow all the bulbs to flash at once! Of course a kick-ass sound system would also be required. I'm trying to get in touch with those guys right now - we'll see where that idea goes . . .

Please - leave me some comments and let me know what you think about the project!

Burning Man 2006 was the first year I brought an "art" project to the Playa - a 50 foot tall bamboo tower with sequenced cold cathode lamps covering the top. This was my third trip to the Playa and was by far the most personally rewarding.

My first year, 2004, I was constantly blown away by what I saw/heard/sensed in this unique environment and had a bonding experience with a fine group of people that I will never forget.

In 2005, with the group from the previous year, we were going to really participate and bring something to the Playa. It started out with a lot of great energy but eventually fizzled out as every single person from the 2004 group found a reason not to go. I was seriously depressed! What to do? What to do? I ended up camping with a group of crafty individuals and helped loft a really big spotlight to the top of a scaffolding tower in our camp! A fun year for sure but not exactly the "art" project I wanted to contribute.

I returned from that experience determined to bring a project the following year, whether it was a team project or one of my own. As it turned out, getting three or four people to commit the time and energy it takes to do even a small scale project was not going to happen - I ended up creating the bamboo tower myself and had a great time doing it. It really had a transformational effect on my experience. All of a sudden I was a participant - an "Artist" and I could talk to other participants about their projects on a whole different level. The Playa is a difficult environment to build anything in and everyone who brings a project will inevitably experience problems that need to be solved with only the materials they have on hand. Some are successful and some are not. I saw plenty of folks with failed projects struggling the entire week to get there stuff working. I guess I was lucky as mine was up and working by mid week!

So here I am, a little more that a month after Burning Man 2006 contemplating another project - and that's what this blog is going to be about:

Tower 2007 - Bigger - Brighter - Climbable