Temporary Land Art

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Temporary Land Art

Postby Onion » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:04 pm

This year will be my first burn, and I am thinking about creating at least one temporary spiral on the playa surface.
For this project, I will need:
A rake
A length of rope or string several hundred feet long (with flags tied on at intervals for visibility)
A spool (a 24" or larger sono tube to be either temporarily staked down or held down by an assistant)
A volunteer or two.

I would unspool all the line, tie the end to the side of the rake, and keeping the line taut, rake my way back to the center. With a 2 ft. diameter spool, each full revolution would bring me about six feet closer. This would be best seen from a viewing platform vantage point, like the one that will be on Anubis.

The questions I have about this project are:
Is it okay to lightly rake the playa?
Is playa fairly easy to rake?
Will I have to register and get placement for something that may only exist for a few hours?

I understand that wind, weather, and traffic will quickly reclaim the spiral back to the dust of which it is made. I chose this for a first year project for its ease of transport, interactivity, and temporality. It's also something that won't cost much money, and if I, or the weather are not cooperative, no big deal. I think it would be fun spending a few hours making something huge, but extremely temporary. I'm sure something like this has been done, if you have any pictures I'd love to see them.
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby AntiM » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:33 am

The dust is not even, some of the playa surface is scoured clean and is like crackled cement. Other places, it is chunky and broken up. This year there will be dust pits.

Give it a try, but there will be challenges to your concept. Have fun.
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:22 pm

I think this is a really cool idea, both because it's participatory and because it's ephemeral. Do it!
When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby trilobyte » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:42 pm

Information, including guidelines, can be found here.

The BRC playa, however, isn't a beach. There are occasional dunes made up of very fine dust (about the consistency of flour), but they're spotty and depend completely on weather and wind conditions. Last year was probably the best weather ever, and even then such a project would only have lasted a few hours on a few days of the week. Be prepared for conditions where you wouldn't be able to see the results of your labors after just a few steps.



Don't let that deter you, though. Be prepared, and don't let it ruin your burn if we end up with a year that's as dusty as that all week. Then you and your team can rush out to create anew when the weather breaks. :)
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby Bob » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:49 pm

Shouldn't be any issues, just give the art department a heads-up. Lake bed surface is variable, per the above comments. Art dept puts placement stakes flush on the playa, don't rake one of those up.

As I recall, in 2001 Dan Miller scratched a 2000-ft-long burning man stick-figure-- )*( --into the playa. Used either a rototiller or some kind of spiky thing towed behind a truck.

Might try a Garden Weasel with a couple of dumbbell weights slipped on. Buy an extra one, everything breaks at least once.
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby Onion » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:08 pm

Thanks for the advice. I will have to scope out a fairly soft spot in a good location.
I like the garden weasel suggestion too. Maybe a wide one with lots of weight would work to be able to do it in a single pass. I also have the option of making it as large or small as I feel I can finish. Maybe start with a 100 footer, if that goes well then try for 200 and so on.
The impermanence of the piece is okay by me. If it's able to last a few hours, and be seen and enjoyed by some people, then that is more than I could expect. If I finish it and it is immediately consumed by a playa dust devil, then that is fine too.
So it goes..
As we get closer to the event, I will contact the Artery for any more info I may need, and to let them know what I plan to do
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby trilobyte » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:42 pm

Registration for art projects is actually open now and runs through mid-June. And from what I understand, the ARTery guys are great to work with plus you get the benefit of your project being listed in the guide (if you so choose) and having some kind of reserved placement on the open playa.
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby Onion » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:01 pm

Thanks for the link, Trilo! I will register as soon as I am able to make an image. I don't really plan on needing much help from them, but it would be nice to be listed.
This was an inspiration for this project.
http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2012/feb/04/snow-drawings-leave-lasting-impression-steamboat/
If the weather and the playa are cooperating, and I'm feeling ambitious I could do several.
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby Onion » Thu May 24, 2012 11:53 am

I'm abandoning this project for the year. I will be far too busy with the build lead position on the CORE project to take on too much extra. I do need a few days on playa to just explore and roam. If anyone thinks this is a good idea, feel free to do it!
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby trilobyte » Thu May 24, 2012 12:07 pm

Good call. Not that your project doesn't have merit, but overextending yourself on the playa is no fun.
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Re: Temporary Land Art

Postby Onion » Thu May 24, 2012 1:06 pm

Yeah, after conference calls with the BORG yesterday, I now know I will be busy from Wednesday before the event until after burn cleanup Friday at noon. A lot of that will just be docent duties, and I'm totally looking forward to talking to people about our art. So glad I got hooked up with the CORE crew :D
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