Peter Hudson and the crew of Hudzo Design have been big contributors to the Playa over the past few years. They create interactive, large-scale, three dimensional, stroboscopic zoetropes. Yikes, what is that? Here is a link to a nice interview with Peter Hudson where he defines a zoetrope as "a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures." In Peter's projects, instead of pictures, he uses rotating consecutive sculptures creating the illusion of continuous movement by flashing a stroboscope, giving the eerie appearance of a 3D film. All of the zoetropes from Hudzo that I have seen are run by collaborative human power, such as, by pulling ropes, pumping levers, or banging on drums, which particularly for Burners, is satisfying self-empowerment (We like to play, especially together.). If this description is a little unclear, check out the videos below and this should give you a better idea. Hudzo Design has brought several different zoetropes to Burning Man called "Deeper," "Tantalus," "Charon," "Sisyphish," and "Homouroboros." Most of his creations are inspired by mythology. It is fascinating to me that these creations can actually tell a tale albeit a very short (several second) "story."
Peter, is nothing if not ambitious, and he has announced a new project entitled "Eternal Return." Although the exact details of the project are secret, some clues can be found on his webpage, "The concept of the eternal return is touched upon in virtually all cultural and religious narratives. The concept can be found in Ancient Egyptian, Mayan and Aztec beliefs, in East Indian, and ancient Greek philosophy, as well as the 19th century deliberations of Friedrich Nietzsche. In Tibetan Buddhism, the concept is explored in Samsara, cyclic existence represented by the Bhavacakra symbol, the “wheel of life” depicted on the walls of temples and monasteries." Wow! I'm certainly excited to see how he can convey all of these concepts in one project. I'm also happy that this will be a departure from past, darker, themes: "Eternal Return will celebrate the joy and ecstasy of life, not just repeated, but begun anew." If you want more details, or at least clues, regarding Eternal Return, or, if you would like to help support this kind of art, check out this link.
So, from the bottom of my fluttering (defibrillating?), stroboscopic, heart, thank you Peter for sharing your gifts with us, and may you have many (maybe even "eternal") returns to Burning Man. Below are links to videos of "Homobouros," (the monkey zoetrope) (left) and, my personal favorite, "Charon," by day (center) and night (right).
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Truth is Beauty and Bliss Dance were created by Marco Cochrane, as part of the "Bliss Project" They are the first two of three large sculptures using Deja Solis as a model. The third project, called "R-evolution" is planned. The stated intent of these creations is to, "be a catalyst for social change; to de-objectify women and inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive." The Bliss Project is sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts organization. Donations are tax deductible. Please visit this link if you would like to support this project. Below, I have selected three videos that highlight these projects, none of which are really satisfying compared to the real thing. On the left is an interview with Cochrane where he talks a little bit about the technology. In the middle is an aerial video of Truth is Beauty from this year. On the right is a time lapse video of some of the color changes that Bliss Dance goes through.
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I have gone to Burning Man eight times and I feel very lucky. I know is has become almost cliche to say that the festival is a life-changing event, but it certainly has been for me. Thank you to my fellow Burners. Hope to see you on the Playa next year.