Interactive Art Projects
A few art projects I've had a hand or more in, from Burning Man installations to a theatrical performance created for a Chaos Math class at the University of California Santa Cruz. As Burning Man's website says, it, or perhaps much of life itself, "is a laboratory. Not every experiment works, but we’ll never know if we don't try.'
I feel the same way about these pieces, all of which had wonderful and fondly remembered crews.
2013, with Derek Gaw and team.
Enlightenment 悟, a 16 foot-high wooden man sitting atop a lotus flower base, offered participants a space to gather, meditate, reflect, and connect.
Enlightenment was sited within the Circle of Regional Effigies, surrounding the main Burning Man and achieved transcendence via immolation on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in the world’s largest synchronized art burn.
Constructed by a team with roots in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Enlightenment was among the first collaborative Asian installations to appear at Burning Man. The lotus flower was constructed from an eight-sided ba gua 八卦 wooden frame accented with unique cloth petals hand-drawn in Shanghai. LED ribbon lights illuminated the edges--one circling the interior of the alcove, and the other on the outside below the lotus petals. Incense and offerings were placed and burned inside and around the piece.
The structure was large enough for people to enter, allowing about seven people sitting cross-legged in a semi-circle to fit comfortably inside, where participants could touch their finger to a heartbeat sensor attached to a LED light controller. The lights were designed to glow synchronously with the participant’s heartbeat.
Photos courtesy of Kenny Yu
Taiwan Temple Market
2014, with Dale Albanese and team.
The Taiwan Temple Market brought two of Taiwan's most ubiquitous spaces of interaction and exchange: temples and convenience stores.
Visitors approached the altars of contemporary Taiwan (embodied in gathered effigies from Matsu to former presidents; expanded throughout the week), and seek advice, guidance, and answers to all questions with a few swift throw of the crescent moon blocks.
Pilgrims also gathered around the adjacent convenience store to taste Taiwanese snacks and tea.
FoxCarn & The Betel Store 浮屍坑與檳果店
2015, with Michael Huang and team.
Think global, exploit local! Achieve goals or else the man won't burn!
Poking fun at the world's most valuable brand, the Betel Store implicated all of us in the smoke and mirrors of the commodity fetish. Spotlighting the world's greatest factory empire, FoxCarn simulated the human and environmental costs of manufacturing in China, laying bare the alienated labor and devastated landscapes that underwrite the rise of Silicon Valley and of Burning Man itself. Our project posed the question: Who wins and who loses in this world wide web of production and consumption, and how can we do it better?
FoxCarn & the Betel Store was located on the 2015 Carnival of Mirrors Midway around the Man base, on the 12:00 side.
Overseen by uniformed supervisors, "laborers" lined up to make "iSwag" blinky bracelets in the FoxCarn factory. Upon successful completion of their menial task, they were paid in custom wage tokens which were insufficient to buy back the product they just made for us, which then went out for display and sale in the Betel Store. Exploited workers and window-shoppers alike could attempt to "buy" back the iSwag or the Betel Store's other popular products, including the iJack, a buttplug for your phone; the iGift, 1000 playa dust particles in a pendant, now with 50% more workers tears! the iMask, our branded breakthrough; or even the iMan: 20% taller, burns twice as long! Lucky customers could also avail of our counter-revolutionary swag "upgrade" and "re-branding" services.
Did you get yours?
A Quadrilogue at the Edge of Logic
[Final project for Chaos Math, University of California Santa Cruz, Winter 1999, Professor Ralph Abraham.
- or -
An Epistemological Improvisation on Chaos and Logic
in the spirit of Douglas Hofstatder
Exploring the Liar's Paradox
the Dynamical Semantics of Patrick Grim and Gary Mar,
Godel's Incompleteness Theorem and
applications to a postmodern worldview.
Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us
then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thousendsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given!
A way a lone a last a loved a long the
-James Joyce, Finnegan's Wake