Our art proposal for Burning Man 2008 is finally complete and submitted – Mutopia.
“Sprouted seeds are food fit for a King, yet they are within the means of the veriest pauper.” D.R.Hiatt
Mutopia is a spiraling sculptural installation of Seedpods made of fire, cast aluminum, steel, copper and stainless steel. Within a footprint of 97 feet x 60 feet, 13 Seedpods spiral out from a central point, each showcasing a different stage of growth, from emergence to full maturity in bloom. The spiral initiates as Seedpods emerge from the playa, then rise in height and complexity as one travels toward the center of the spiral. The Seedpod spiral forms a Fibonacci sequence suggesting that the life forms within Mutopia are achieving a basic intelligence capable of reacting to the presence of Playa citizens and beckoning them to interact.
Mutopia comes to life at night. Walking through the darkness toward the installation, one first encounters the youngest emerging Seedpods at ground level, pulsing with lights that beckon and welcome. Walking forward, one feels the Seedpods begin to rumble, with hissing steam and heartbeats of inner light. Circling in along the spiral’s arm, the pods begin to germinate, extending roots, cracking open, exposing the beginning of growth, and becoming more aware of their environment and of human presence. Flickers of video are seen among the internal root balls, unfocused images at first, becoming more discernible towards the center. Spiraling more, a glow of fire emerges, a delicate ambient flame at first, then bursting with fire and movement from propane driven pneumatics. Growth is exponential now, with rootballs pushing up into the air, tangled with abandoned shells of sprouted Seedpods. Reproductive parts gain form and move with the force of participant-controlled, multi-directional propane “poofers”. The evolving plants respond to each other, reaching out with aerial tendrils that create archways for participants to gaze through and walk beneath. Nearing the inner vortex, the plants gain in ability to respond to human voice and touch. Participants use cranks and levers to create articulated motion, and use their voices to create undulating fire effects. In the inner sanctum of the spiral, the leaves have interwoven in a canopy of multicolored computer-controlled fire that reacts to the movement and sounds of the playa.
Read the full proposal here.