Among other things:

  • My purple bike with purple wings.
  • Stuff to build a shower enclosure and evaporation pool.
  • Some “flying buttresses” (purple 2x4s) to provide some additional support for my popup camper
  • A propane powered ice chest.
  • 1200 watt inverter (which is way more than I need)
  • A 10×10 foot shade (A Quik Shade Summit 233, which I hope survives)
  • A bunch of freeze dried and “tasty bites” food
  • two really cool desert festivale shade cloths that I hope will help keep the camper cooler
  • A el-wire encrusted “dragon” hat.
  • A Victorian cape and top hat outlined in “flickering” el-wire
  • A “steam punk” pendant with purple el-wire to go with the cape
  • A softly glowing (i.e. invisible in the picture) furry coat
  • A few hundred feet of purple and orange el-wire *
  • 20 1/2″ fiberglass rods *
  • 20 36″ x 1/2″ rebar poles with 1/2″ conduit attachments for the fiberglass rods *
  • A bunch of tools, including a butane soldering iron *

I’m almost ready. Which is good considering that I’m off to Summer Meltdown this weekend and driving down to Black Rock City next weekend. So not much more time. And yes: two weeks in the desert. The first helping get the emergency response system software running and improved.

* And the project (described in an earlier post) is back on. I never liked the platform, but it finally hit me that I could put the fiberglass rods closer together  and use motion sensors pointing outward to detect when people are around. Right now I’m thinking two modes: a changing pattern mode when nobody is around and when someone is detected, light up the purple everywhere and the orange only where I detect someone moving. See if people create their own games using the thing. Or I could get fancier. At this point it is all going to be a “work in progress” as the rods aren’t built, I don’t have the sensors or the Arduino Mega I need for all those I/O pins (both are on the way).

I’m also still worried about the stability of the fiberglass rods in the wind. I’ll need plenty of space around to keep them from hitting things should they oscillate wildly. Also, not sure how long it will take for them to dig themselves a nice big loose hole, even with the 36″ rebar for stabilization.

I guess it is all a grand experiment.

Work In Progress

Way back in 2010 I was working on “The Hug Meter” for Burning Man. I made some progress, eventually ended up with nice LCD display that let me view the waveform from the sensor. Using touch, I could select different modes and adjust parameters to tune the behavior.

However, I never could find a way to consistently gauge the size of a crowd using the data I was getting from the sensor. While trying to find a solution for this, I hit upon the idea of building a platform with load cells: Essentially a giant scale. But the weight to meter level association would have been way to obvious, taking some of the fun out of things.

I then started thinking about a different kind of display and interaction. Something that would work well with the platform. I realized that by using multiple load cells I could determine the “balance”, which way they were leaning, of the person or people on the platform. I could use that input to drive the el-wire. Eventually I worked out how I could  do something like this:

That is a circle of 24 10′ long fiberglass rods wrapped with two different colors of el-wire. With an eight channel sequencer, I could light up in the direction of the lean with one color and use the other color to indicate where everyone should lean. I would try to make it a little interactive game.

The fiberglass rods are stuck into pipes driven into the playa at a slight angle. A cloth skirt would allow the rods through while the pipes remain safely under the  platform.

So far I’ve got some of the rods built. The one on the right is a prototype. The one on the left is the first one built using the large lot of el-wire I got.

However, I’m not sure I’m going to get it all finished in time. I’m also thinking that I may want to take just few rods this year to see how they do in the wind. They are 1/2″ fiberglass, but I’m concerned they may whip around dangerously.

Heading to Burning Man 2012

I’m going! Again! I wanted to get involved in some way and found a match for my skills with the BRC Emergency Services Department. I’ll be working on some of the paging system software and helping to keep things running during the event.

When I went before, in 2010, I camped with the Space Virgins. This year I wanted to do my own thing. I bought an used popup tent trailer and will be pulling it down behind my truck. There should be plenty of room. Hopefully I can find some last minute camp mates.


My big art project is kind of on hold (more on that in another post), but I’ve been working on some costumes. In addition to the hat, I’ve got a rainbow fur coat coming that I’m planning to light up, as well as something involving a black morph suit, lots of black tulle, a chrome “no face” mask, and even more el-wire.

Hmm… I need to redo the eyes using green. I ran out after doing the ear/wing things… but it would help to break up all the (otherwise glorious) purple.

Completely Different

This blog started out as a way to share the stuff I created in Second Life. Second Life is an online virtual social environment where what you can make and be is limited only by your imagination. One of the things that took place in Second Life was a virtual Burning Man like event called Burning Life. Through Eye Ree, my Second Life avatar, I created some of the art shown in this blog for Burning Life events.

But Eye Ree was not my only Second Life avatar. There was also Tina Yugen and Anima Ahn. Role playing them taught me some interesting things about myself. With them I explored my gender and sexual identity, social roles, fashion, interior design and other things. I spent most of my time in Second Life as Tina.

My virtual experiences in Second Life increased my awareness of some long ignored aspects of myself and reawakened the artist in me. Eye Ree, Tina and Anima were the Second Life group “Completely Different”. Three different aspects to my personality represented virtually.

The experiences also rekindled my interested in Burning Man. For years I had been interested in going mostly for the alternative lifestyle aspects of it. But Burning Life changed how I saw Burning Man, just as Second Life in general changed how I saw myself.

I went to Burning Man for the first time in 2010. I missed 2011 but, if things work out, I will return in 2012.

I’ve decided to adopt Eye Ree as my playa name and use this blog to talk about my Burning Man experiences.

“What do you want out of Burning Man?”

A friend recently asked me that question. What’s the appeal? Why do I go? I don’t have a simple answer.

What I really want to do is create the same sorts of big, lighted, interactive art I made for Burning Life  for Burning Man. But that isn’t really the answer to the question. The question would be why?

A big part of the appeal of Burning Man for me is the special challenge of the event. Burning Man is, first and foremost, a social event and I don’t do social well. I’m not wired like most people. To get the most out of Burning Man, I have to step out of my comfort zone and engage with people.

There is also the challenge of the physical. The my skills and experience are with the digital. I know how to get things done with a computer, but designing, building, and installing a large work of art on the playa is currently beyond my ability. And the social thing makes it hard for me to find people willing to help.

And finally there is also the simple thrill of participating in an event as unique to the human experience as Burning Man. The transcendence of the mundane. The catharsis of reality. Or something like that.

“I want to want something.”

This was the wish I wrote on some art left out on the playa in 2010 for that purpose.

I got my wish. I want to be a part of Burning Man year after year.

But I’m still not sure I know how to answer his question.

Burning Life 2009

I did an installation for Burning Life again this year, 2009. The theme, borrowed from Burning Man, was Evolution.

What I built was a “Tree of Life” that you could ride from base to tip along a random path. If you intersect an “Environmental Factor” (the colorful spherical things) on the journey you are ejected. If you make it to the bubble your road stays with your name over it. The tree starts off empty and over the course of the event it filled out with the glowing bubbles of the survivors.


Burning Life 2008

For almost an year I have been thinking about various builds for Burning Life 2008. The theme, borrowed from Burning Man 2008, is “The American Dream”. I kept focusing in on one aspect of this: given all the diversity of American culture, what is that makes us all Americans?

I had lots of ideas, all of which were too vague to be built, or too complex for Second Life to support, or just silly. When I claimed my plot for this year’s festival, I still didn’t know what I was going to build.

So, I went looking through my inventory for anything to make my bare rectangle of playa unique and I came across a “thought balloon” attachment I had made a few months ago.

Mind Share - Eye Ree - Peace

After a few days of tinkering I ended up with this:

Completely Different 1

That’s some 60 randomly colored heads each with a thought balloon. The pictures shown in a thought balloon is picked randomly every few seconds from a set of some 20 or so pictures. I selected those pictures because they represent things I tend to think about and, I believe, are things that most of us think about.

If a visitor touches a head, it changes color. If a visitor touches a thought balloon, the picture shown in that thought balloon is briefly flashed on all the nearby thought balloons.

Completely Different 2

I also finished up the attachment and have been giving copies away to visitors. It is also listed on SL Exchange. The attachment comes with over 200 pictures and can easily be customized to display any picture. Since I made the entire thing full permission and put it under a Creative Commons license, anyone can customize it in any way they want.