Burning Man 2003

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Vision - X

What is it?
Our installation appears in the night at a distance, as an ambiguous array of glowing amorphous blobs of varying shifting shapes, illuminated internally (see Figure 1).  At a distance the participants start to wonder what their eyes are sensing.  As they draw closer, their minds shift into inquiry: “What is that?  Is it something I've already seen?  What will I discover?”  The lights shift color and shapes, further intriguing the participant.  The ideas in the mind of a solitary participant shift a hundred times a second: “What is that?  What is real?  Can I trust my senses?”  Two or more people in conversation have a different reality occur; as they say, “It looks like…” that reality occurs for them.  As they step closer the other says, “No, it's…” and then that occurs.  What is real - what you see, or what you say?  Beliefs are creations of language, and the declaration “It is…” is itself a declaration of the nature of reality.  In the inquiry of what is real, our installation allows the participant to discover the source of reality.  The moment you realize you are the creator you are now beyond belief.  There is nothing to believe, there is only what you say there is.

Figure 1.  A picture from a distance seen as airy ghost like images.

The light pattern shifts and changes on three levels: the Beat of Burning Man, direct interactivity with participants, and the natural environment.  Pressure sensors are used to capture the Beat of Burning Man, which starts slowly – a stately, sturdy, beat the Sunday and Monday a week before the Man burns, accelerating and intensifying as BRC grows and the playa comes alive.  By Friday night and Saturday morning, our installation has a frenetic pulse, changing rapidly like a UFO gone berserk.

The direct interactivity with participants occurs at two levels.  As the installation changes, participants at a distance will notice the changes, and will be drawn to discover the installation themselves.  Our installation contains audio sensors that detect human sounds.  As people approach their voices will cause changes in the light patterns and frequencies.  Participants will notice that their speech influences the installation, and they will modulate their speech and sounds to cause the installation to change.  As they approach and walk by the images they blocking the light momentarily.  In a distance one sees a changing scene.  You who now unknowingly become part of the art work, just by your existence, never knowing what ideas, thought, beliefs, superstitions you are causing for others at a distance. 

The displays are mounted on a Lazy Suzan; so the winds slowly rotate them have the natural environment alter their appearance.  This adds to the illusion of motion of the ghostly figures.  By the installation there will be 3 benches for people to sit and contemplate the meaning of …

The light sources are light boxes, which display X-rays images of human and animal bodies, and other intriguing inanimate objects.  The use of X-rays pictures allows the participant to “see” into the interior of physical objects, and to draw conclusions about the “interior truth” of objects, matter, perception, and reality (see Figure 2).  The light is diffused and the brightness level set comfortably for any dilation of the pupil.

Figure 2.  As one approaches the object and shapes start to define themselves.

The boxes will have light activated switch for automatic turning on at sun set, and turning off at sun rise, making the units self contained.  There are two size of boxes, one is 14”x14”x8' (3'x12” display, square shape) and the other is 14”x14”x5' (18”x14” display, hexagon shape).  There will be 3 square and 2 hexagon displays covering a 20'x15' area.