The Pier 2

Building art? Planning to perform? Building a stage or performance space? Talk about it here.

The Pier 2

Postby fbcota » Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:44 pm

Ok, moving the conversation over here :).

Welcome back eplaya friends to The Pier. What are we going to to do,... well, here is what I wrote in my little Tumblr (http://photoscribbles.tumblr.com/) blog:

"During the tear down of The Pier we were ready to watch it disappear into nothing. But we were approached to bring it back the next year, and after a series of fortunate events I really couldn’t say no.

I have been fairly vocal about my opinions of bringing art back to Burning Man. And I felt like I was going to be eating crow for awhile if we brought The Pier back unchanged. Yes, The Pier was loved,… but how could we make a statement about returning art while still retaining what people loved about The Pier.

I kept thinking about breaking The Pier, maybe a snarky attack on our own art project. Don’t get me wrong, it was an absolute honor to be asked to bring it back. We were beaming from ear to ear. But there was some serious pressure there. At Burning Man 2011 it was original and unique, at Burning Man 2012 well it will be old hat.

Then it came to us: Lets ram a ship into The Pier! Lets ram La Contessa into The Pier!!! (Well we didn’t exactly say that, but it is so much more romantic that way)

La Contessa was a ship I never saw. It was before my time at Burning Man. However, its legend was not lost on me. La Contessa was, by all accounts, the alpha and omega of art cars. It was detailed to its core, it was dangerous, and magical. It moved fast, broke the rules and wowed all that saw it. And then it was burnt to the ground,…

We had it, we were going to ram a Galleon into the middle of The Pier. It would destroy 100ft in the center of The Pier, leaving a field of wreckage in its wake along with the shattered hull of a great ship half sunken in the playa.

Imagine, its Sunday night, Burning Man 2012. You come through the gate, the excitement overwhelms you. When you hit the Esplinade, a vaguely familiar site. The Pier? Wait? Why is it still here?

A memory takes over, the feeling of sitting at the end dangling your feet watching a whale fly by, hoping your pabst would catch a wandering Grizzle Bellied DPW. You run to The Pier, the lights swaying side to side. But wait, what is that in the middle?

Holy Shit? The nose of a massive galleon juts out from the playa. What happened. The Pier,… its,… destroyed! Wait no, someone placed some gangplanks over the ship reaching the other half of The Pier.

You’ll just walk over the makeshift bridge to the end of The Pier,… but there is a light coming out of the massive hole in the side of the ship. Are those people visible in through the portholes? Do you relive your memories from the past year, or explore a 60ft wreck,…

So, here is the quick rundown. The Beginning and the End of The Pier are unchanged. The middle is demolished. Replaced by a 9 room 3 story dive-able ship wreck. To get to the end of The Pier, you can climb up the wreck, walk the make shift gang plank, climb some rubble or make your way up the slightly more climbable end.

The ship is a piece of art separate in itself. A relic of an unknown time, recovered, resold, crashed, stolen and repaired again and again. Inside, it tells the story of its existence, its crew and its death. A dead hermit sits in the back of the brig. The tight crew rooms offer a glimpse into another’s life. The captains chamber is perfect, save the remnants of the captain lording over the map of Black Rock City trying to figure out how he made such a catastrophic mistake,…

There is more, but that, well is our little secret :)"

This ship wreck is going to be quite large and very, very, very detailed. We are trying to find reference ships at the moment, looking at war ships from the 15th -18th century. We are also studying ship building techniques as we are hoping the hull will be about 12-16ft wide. With the nose of the ship sitting about 15 ft above the ground. With the entire ship sitting at a 15-20 degree angle. The idea is that the main entrance to the ship is a hole in the hull, the hull is large and cavernous, filled with supply sacks and rubble (offering a soft chill space). There is a small wooden ladder leading up to the second floor. Exiting into a tight hallway. Behind you, prison bars on the floor that lead to the brig, a dark forboding space covered in the carvings of an isolated hermit trying to defend his life. Down the hallway doors lead to the cramped crew chambers, the cannon galleys with about 6 cannons, and a large ??? room (still figuring out the big room at the nose of the hull under the deck). A small set of stairs leads to the main deck. The main deck will have 2 masts, one split in half and the other fully erect, hehehe, covered in tattered sails and left over rigging. The captains chamber/navigators chamber sits at the front of the deck, under the second tiered deck, and is decked out to show the former wealth and power of this ship. The remnants of the captain lord over a massive map of Black Rock City trying to figure out how everything went so wrong,...

We would love collaboration from Eplaya again :). This is a much bigger project then the last one and will need a pretty mighty team and a whole lot of funding!!! The goal is to set up remote teams of people who can handle prop building and collecting, and creating aspects of the ship that aren't needed in construction. The ship will most likely be constructed in Reno (as that is where most of our crew is) in pieces and then re-assembled on playa. If the remote teams have enough dedicated people the hope was to simply hand them entire rooms to populate, allowing them to develop characters of their own and tell their stories through the props in the room. We are trying to be more open with collaboration. I am going to try to provide an overall art direction for the ship while trying to integrate the best ideas from everyone on the project.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby MOOP_Nazi » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:21 pm

This sounds amazing! Good luck!
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby moonrise » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:42 pm

Fantastic!!

/digging through old timey/period Obtanium treasure and what not...
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby jkisha » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:49 pm

Gave me goose bumps reading this. GREAT idea. (Just make sure it's handicapped and elderly accessible; we aren't that good at climbing. :( )
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby lemur » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:52 pm

don't assume everyone saw it the first time around...change is good.. but some of us are busy working or easily distracted... changing for changes sake would be lost on many..
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby jkisha » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:56 pm

Actually, it was one of those things you couldn't miss, and even if they didn't see the original, it sounds like the new version would stand on its own anyway. For those that either did see the original or knew the story of V2.0, it would be an background story fun to share.
lemur wrote:don't assume everyone saw it the first time around...change is good.. but some of us are busy working or easily distracted... changing for changes sake would be lost on many..
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby lemur » Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:57 pm

jkisha wrote:Actually, it was one of those things you couldn't miss


i did miss it.

i was there for a few weeks but.again.. busy..
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby jkisha » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:01 pm

I'm usually notorious at not seeing art on the playa; but it was big and well placed, I couldn't help but see it my first time riding across the playa. So, I guess that's why I assumed that nobody could have missed it.
lemur wrote:
jkisha wrote:Actually, it was one of those things you couldn't miss


i did miss it.

i was there for a few weeks but.again.. busy..
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby lemur » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:04 pm

jkisha wrote:it was big and well placed, I couldn't help but see it my first time riding across the playa.


where was it?



i camp in center camp, made it out to see some art a few times, but mostly at night.. never made it much beyond the inner playa... (not out beyond temple) ... dont think i made it to 2'oclock side art this year, ...... id assume it was out there somewhere?
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby jkisha » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:08 pm

Right along the Esplanade, maybe around 3:00, by the trapeze; if memory server.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby CaverX » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:14 pm

The Pier was stellar, and I cannot wait to explore Pier 2.
Your reference to La Contessa, reminds me of seeing pictures of her. I was stunned. I remember video floating around, she really created the illusion of a ship sailing off in the distance. I am sure you have plenty of references to spin ideas from, but here is a cool video of La Contessa, in action with bonus whale footage:


Link was found through Laughing Squid:http://laughingsquid.com/la-contessa-vs-the-whale-at-burning-man-2003/

I think this is on topic, includes glimpses of the interior for reference.



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Re: The Pier 2

Postby Eric » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:17 pm

jkisha wrote:Right along the Esplanade, maybe around 3:00, by the trapeze; if memory server.


Esplanade & about 3:45. Almost in front of Fandango.

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Re: The Pier 2

Postby lemur » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:25 pm

well hopefully i get to see it in 2012 !

the playa surely is a big place, where even big art can go missing..i think that is good for the art

I recall the year with homorobus 'the monkeys' where people would talk about it, tell you a rough idea of where it's at, and you had to go out and find it, somewhat informed, but still left to experience coming upon the piece on your own at the time of day you decided. Then youd eventually give your field report about the experience to the person who told you about it, or give a suggestion to someone else.

I don't remember many situations like that in many art galleries or museums, ..and i did an art degree.

the scope and scale of the event, and the large amount of installations, make it so big things are easily missed. The fact that youre able to miss things creates opportunities to experience seeing stuff in ways one normally cant... You can come upon something that you had no idea was out there... BIG scale stuff... and it becomes more intimate because of it. Where big works usually overwhelm and dwarf their 'gallery' or location, even in a 'sculpture walk' type place.. at burning man they can be unseen !!


that experience i think its unique to this place.. to be able to miss such huge works..... to be able to ask someone if theyve seen something (maybe a huge something).... it encourages a dialogue that really doesnt happen in the same way elsewhere..


anyways.. yeah good luck with the pier #2
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby jkisha » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:16 pm

Anybody know how the Contesa lawsuit against the person that burned it turned out?
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby Sic Pup » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:48 pm

This article has more info than you probably care to know (except that).

So where's the figurehead?


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Re: The Pier 2

Postby jkisha » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:19 pm

That's a great article for anyone not familiar with the story, but it doesn't mention the outcome of the civil suite. I thought I read somewhere that they did file one, then could find any additional info.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby Eric » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:43 pm

jkisha wrote:That's a great article for anyone not familiar with the story, but it doesn't mention the outcome of the civil suite. I thought I read somewhere that they did file one, then could find any additional info.


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Re: The Pier 2

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:06 pm

lemur wrote:I don't remember many situations like that in many art galleries or museums, ..and i did an art degree.

There's always yarn bombing.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby jkisha » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:41 pm

WOW that was just this year! Thanks.

Eric wrote:
jkisha wrote:That's a great article for anyone not familiar with the story, but it doesn't mention the outcome of the civil suite. I thought I read somewhere that they did file one, then could find any additional info.


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Re: The Pier 2

Postby MisterSaunders » Sun Oct 02, 2011 10:08 pm

If you missed it, here's a little pier-at-night......

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Re: The Pier 2

Postby fbcota » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:07 am

Lemur: I'm sorry you missed it. Simon nailed its location 3:45 and about 40ft from the Esplinade.

That being said, I simply cannot bring it back unchanged. It violates so many of my personal feelings about art at Burning Man. Also the Ship crashing into the middle of The Pier isn't just pure theatre. Its kinda a snarky response to returning art while at the same time trying to expand the experience of the original piece.

I'll talk about expanding the original piece. The Pier for me represents a number of things, but at its core I think it really resonated with people for 2 reasons: Imaginary Nostalgia and an equal sense of exploration. The Pier seemed to trigger memories in people who grew up next to the ocean, while triggering the thoughts of a fantasy past in those who had never been on a Pier. Regardless, most people felt a warm sense of Nostalgia on The Pier (I think). The Pier also allowed everyone to explore, play and do whatever they wanted. There weren't really any lines (although the end did get cluttered) and it was accessible to everyone on the playa.

The ship crash is meant to expand upon both of those ideas. I think at some point all of us have thought of sailing the oceans, diving on a ship wreck or invading small ports with our brothers in arms. The goal is to try to trigger all those childhood thoughts, while trying to stay true to the real memories of the people who have experienced them. I want to try to replicate my own sense of dread whenever I have stumbled upon a wreck swimming or snorkeling (they scare the shit outta me) while playing with the sense of exploration inherant in a wreck. How cool would it be to dive on a wreck that hasn't been cleared of all of its artifacts.

It should still be wheelchair accessible. We are thinking of building 2 makeshift walkways, on to the deck on the ship from The Pier and a second straight to the end of The Pier. How wide do you need a ramp/walkway to be to navigate it safely?
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:55 am

It's the term "makeshift" that scares me. It sounds like it will be one of those rope and plank deals that are always collapsing in the movies.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby fbcota » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:59 am

Aesthetically that is the goal. It should look janky. Structurally it will be sturdy and sound.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby bubbavic » Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:00 pm

I love this idea. I had a great time playing on and under the Pier both solo and with other people.

Bringing back an evolved Pier sounds like an excellent addition. Since I never got to experience La Contessa in person, exploring her wreckage would be an interesting "dive" into BM's past. =)
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby fbcota » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:44 pm

:). Although it won't be the La Contessa. She is just our inspiration. Kinda the knowledge that it can be done.

Would love to talk to any of the people who built the La Contessa. Mostly just to talk to them and ask some questions.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby Lassen Forge » Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:00 pm

As side note, we could always get engineer familiar with Disablity Access from Russia to provide wheelchair ramps...

ramp.JPG
ramp.JPG (20.38 KiB) Viewed 5381 times


(Seriously, they have wonky access stuff in Russia... ramps are this bad or worse, sometimes channel iron set on stairs, rather than smooth aluminum like this. Is better than 10 years ago, however...)
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby Shinylilypad » Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:27 am

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am! Seeing a vision on eplaya come to life was thrilling! Logging in everyday and seeing our community filled with passion and more than willing to help an idea come to life, was incredible! I am so excited to watch what we can do with this next year!

So excited for the Pier Part Deux!
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby nolaflamingo » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:01 am

The Pier 2.. Oh this is rich, and juicy great idea! reading this post just got me so excited flooded with all kinds of artsy pharzty fun ideas ...I can see an Pirate Theme camp, and pirate invasions at a level beyond any ... I wish I lived closer to work with you guys. I live in Florida... I will be watching you.
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby deutlich » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:31 pm

nolaflamingo wrote:The Pier 2.. Oh this is rich, and juicy great idea! reading this post just got me so excited flooded with all kinds of artsy pharzty fun ideas ...I can see an Pirate Theme camp, and pirate invasions at a level beyond any ... I wish I lived closer to work with you guys. I live in Florida... I will be watching you.


When I read about the Pier 2, the first thing I thought was PIRATES!! :twisted:
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Re: The Pier 2

Postby Toothfulwon » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:02 pm

I'm in to help. A close friend (Eric T) worked on the original this year and said it was most satisfying. And it's my third burn; I want to participate more and more every year. This sounds amazing. I'm in Sacramento area, able to travel to Reno if necessary.
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