The godling statue wandered off soon after arrival to never be seen again. I had a sign on it asking for its return to Esplanade near Center Camp before the temple burn, but that didn’t happen. Maybe it will still turn up somewhere.

Dragon Rider

The money godling is almost done and will be making the trip to Burning Man this year… but got distracted by a different project when I saw the Craig’s list add for this bike:


What I’m doing is turning it into a dragon:


With wings:


ImageOK, that last one isn’t the best picture, and it just giving an idea of what it may look like when finished. I’ve basically made a mount for 4 1/4″ steel rods that will form the “fingers” of the dragon’s wings and I’ve got some white mesh with shiny silver stuff on it to make the “skin” between the fingers.

It sparkly silver should gitter in the sunlight with wind blowing it. For night, I’m planning to use some color changing leds to light it.

Time for Some SKIN!

Got my first godling statue ready for it’s skin. After some false starts and a couple of mistakes… it really didn’t take that long. Maybe four days work total to build the base, weld the skeleton, and build out the body.

I ended up with a 4′ diameter 1/2″ plywood base. A full 8′ of 4″x4″ cut at 45 dergree angles and sanded down to make the skids.

Welding the skeleton was… well, I abandoned my first attempt but the second one worked out. By the time I was done my welds were looking much better.

Next came crumpled paper held in place by lots of masking tape. Short lengths of PVC tubing extend the rebar arms and protect from contact with the sharp ends. LED rope light is wrapped and then covered with the smooth layer of paper that will act as the base for the decoupage skin.

So, now to print and cut out images enough images to cover the thing. And a thanks to those who have done some printing and cutting for me! And if anyone else is willing to do more of that… just let me know.


Our enormously productive economy…demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.” – Victor LeBeau, Retail Analyst Post WW II

I was thinking about the Burning Man 2013 art theme, Cargo Cult, when I came across the quote above. It seems particularly apropos for a number of reasons. Like many others, I find this year’s theme very intriguing.

I was also reading Kraken by China Miéville at the time. One of the recurring themes in this book is the idea that beings assemble themselves from their environment powered by the beliefs, hopes, and fears of people across the years. People, by the way, who are not even aware of the existence of what they have created. I also recall a simular theme in Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys which I read years ago.


So, as is the nature of such things, these thoughts come together to inspire an art project for Burning Man 2013: a number of life sized humanoid statutes, each representing an iconic theme of modern culture (money, fashion, technology, religion, etc.), that will be dragged by random burners from location to location across Black Rock City for the duration of the event. I call them godlings.

The skin of each statue is a decoupage of images associated with the statue’s theme. They are built around a rebar skeleton and stuffed with crumpled paper, making them sturdy but light weight. The statues are lighted from within, giving them a soft glow at night.


Each of these statues has embedded in it’s chest an inexpensive tablet computer. The tablet will periodically display an BRC address and implore a passer-by to take them to that location. Occasionally multiple statues will be programmed to meet up at a common location (an unique experience for the people who drag them to there). Once “released” into the city, each godling will be on it’s own… at the mercy of the burner community to get to where they want to go.

The tablet will also ask burners “may I take your picture?” and will record the time and (GPS) location of each snapshot. After the event these images along with the path taken by the statue through the city will be posted to a website.

So far, I’ve created a prototype arm, started welding a rebar skeleton (welding is new to me), and hacking on a tablet computer.


There is still a LOT I need to get done. For one thing, I need to figure out how long the battery will last. I may have to charge and swap out batteries every couple of days. I’ll post updates here as I make progress.

I want to create as many of these statues as I can afford and time allows… let me know if your interested in helping out.


Well made it to Burning Man, built my art project, and made it back home.

When I first arrived, a week early so I could work on some ESD software, there was very little out at 8:15 and H where I camped. The following video was during a relatively mild wind storm. The camper, sun shade, and shower enclosure stood up well to the wind. The shower enclosure is laying down in the wind in this video, but the later addition of some tie downs fixed that.


Here is the area around me after everyone else moved in. It also shows my art project when partially finished.


And finally the art project completed.


As always, no real description of the experience is possible. But try this and this to get some idea.