Black Rock, Nevada

A joint effort with Todd Cole and Marin Fasano, this whimsical experiential work was far outside the standard genre for all involved. The sculpture centered on a 20’ seesaw that drove organ pipes hidden in the base. The pipes were tuned to the key of D flat, which has been shown to be the “tone of the earth.” When play was initiated on the seesaw, sound was created though the baffles hidden in the base stand and the “earth tone” was emitted into the festival playa.

Surrounding the seesaw at the center, a 40’ diameter dome of flexible PVC pipe created an exterior “room” which worked to define the play-space. This temporary architecture had a powerful effect on the participants as it both enlivened and animated the interior but also provided a visual frame that gave scale and context to the mountains and other sculptures of the exhibition.

The dome resolved itself into a pentagon “skylight” at the top of the frame. Of course, the pentagon is regenerative geometry, symbolizing the square root of five and its related function of phi, the Golden Mean. When combined with the careful orientation of the seesaw to the cardinal directions and pipes tuned to the tone of the earth, the sculpture explored many aspects of the Sacred Geometries as they exist in the physical world.

In the “anything goes” of the Burning Man Festival, the sculpture was mobbed at all hours. We once encountered twelve adults on the seesaw, howling at the moon in exquisite costumes. By the end of the seven-day festival, the main wood beam was polished to a fine finish by the many bodies who had engaged the sculpture in rough play. It had the look and feel of a sacred object, handled and caressed into something other, something better than utilitarian materials that created it.

Associated Professionals

Todd Cole, Strata Landscape Architecture