Aug 082013

First HomeThere is a new program on the Playa called C.O.R.E. or the Circle of Regional Effigies. The East Bay Regional’s installation this year is First Home.  “First Home” design is inspired by contemplating life in the East Bay region and the history embedded in the landscape. Grass huts were the earliest human buildings. They could be rolled up and taken with the family group as they moved from place to place. They often approximated a Fibonacci sequence, a spiral found abundantly in nature, from the pattern of seeds in a sunflower to the cloud formation of a hurricane. First Home is a structure built into that spiral, which climbs higher and higher, to a column that points skyward, creating a guidepost for our own navigation and suggesting that others might find it (and us). It is a dance, marking our passage and invoking connections to the hoped for, the unseen. And, as is our very nature, it is temporary – here for a week, then gone in a moment of heat and smoke.

Dan Swain says:

The light boxes were conceived from the beginning to provide interior lighting for first home both to light the interior in interesting ways and to shine out through the thatchy , recycled wood siding of the structure at night.  I am using the pro controller with a PC interface so that we can use a video I am producing and the real time play feature to coordinate the lights and a sound scape being scored by one of our members. The light scheme is going to be based on elemental themes so fire, water, wind, earth.  The source video is of slow motion fire, whales breaching, wind in a field of wheat, a long pan through a coral reef that gives the lights amazing colors and movement.  I will also blend in some rainbow patterns but even those are pretty unique when seen through the cube diffusers.   I have been calling them LED lanterns but the group has called them variously Blinkie Boxes and Psychedelic Sugar Cubes.  Both good ideas.

I included the two drawings (links below) I used to make the LED modules and to order the frosted blocks from TAP Plastics.  Those show some of the specific dimensions that I developed.  The base of each cube is made from ½” birch plywood and the LED’s themselves are mounted in a square of 1/8” birch plywood drilled out with 25 holes at 15/32” in diameter to press each pixel into.  At first, the module squares were going to be larger, something like 10” x 10” to allow for the wires on the square base pixels to bend but I found by laying the pixels out at a 45 degree angle to each other and in a herringbone pattern, I could put them closer together and get a denser light source.   I used 1” nylon stand offs to mount the module to the base to allow for the wires for the pixels beneath.  You should be able to see all that in the video.

Light Box Revised  LED ModuleLayout

Benny, Karen and the Elves

photo: Leori Gill

Aug 022013

TIB Best lightsI have been blogging about the work that comes out of Bliss Dance Studios for a long time.  Two of my favorite posts, one about Bliss Dance getting ready for the Playa is Assembling Bliss Dance and then when she went to Treasure Island, Bliss Dance Has Emerged. Well now I have the pleasure of telling you about Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane and his huge crew.  Truth is Beauty is the second sculpture in the series, The Bliss Project, three monumental sculptures of a woman, Deja Solis, expressing her humanity. Truth is Beauty is about 55′ tall, constructed of welded steel rods and balls, covered in stainless steel mesh skin with interactive lighting effects. These sculptures are intended to demand a change in perspective, to be a catalyst for social change; to de-objectify women and inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive. Truth is Beauty is being installed on the Playa in a few weeks.

The photo above is her head and torso lit with Cool Neon Total Control Lighting that was made to order since Total Control Lighting Pixels are made just for Cool Neon.  The custom 2 foot spacing of 3,000 pixels are enhanced with 3D printed light shades (below).  The maquette that is surrounded by the head and torso is a scale model of the lighting plan.


ping TIBThe gray lamp shade is from a 3D printer and will be used throughout Truth is Beauty. I have been spending quite a bit of time out at the studios and I had a chance to see Ping, a lighting programmer actually working on the program that will light her up on the Playa in 2013

aff hook TIBAnd yesterday for the first time in all of these years I (affinity, your blogger) actually contributed to the creation of Truth is Beauty by creating little pins out of wire to reach inside the mesh in smaller places on the sculpture, like her legs and arms.  I really had a great time, it felt great to do more than write about such a spectacular piece of art.  Wait until you see her lit up on the Playa. You will be amazed.

Benny, Karen and the Elves

photos: Truth is Beauty and Ping by Jay R Houghton

Jul 312013

totem collageI know we are all getting excited for the amazing art that will be on the Playa this year. You can look forward to seeing these amazing Totems in the daytime and of course at night.  They will be located out on the playa at 9:30 & Esplanade.

Here is what the artist, Jason WA Tucker has to say about his installation this year:

”The cellular entities I refer to as Actual Contact evolved out of an abstract art form I had been painting for more than a decade. A cellular world of linguistic anthropomorphs sprang into the foreground and the whole experience coalesced into a discovery of these entities moving, morphing, and communicating. For me, painting became an act of participation with an Other, unifying alien contact, art, symbol, language, shamanism, the holy ghost, and alchemy. I see the totems, and the images on them, as an empathic expression of a cosmic connection between all things.”

There will be 12 ten foot Totems on the Playa this year, and then they hope to find a permanent home for them.  Jason will be using the 25 LEDs on the Total Control Lighting Pixel strand and Cool Neon’s Awesome Developer Kit for Total Control Lighting.

To read more about the artist and these Totems click HERE:

Benny, Karen and the Elves