Water-based-art on Playa?

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Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby caveatlector » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:07 am

My father-in-law owns a pretty large water fountain company here in Toronto. They've been behind the manufacture and installation of some serious water art pieces for commercial purposes worldwide.

He's decided to get involved with public art, and is actually behind a pretty big installation here for Toronto's Nuit Blanche this year, and it sounds impressive but also mobile. Unprompted, he announced to my partner that he'd like to bring it to Burning Man-- an event he's only had some knowledge of and the inherent challenges that bringing art to the Playa can create.

Has anyone seen any type of water based art on Playa? Now, I can only imagine a scenario where whatever art piece he designs must be enclosed in some way, but I'd love to see any examples of successful installations that use water as part of their media to maybe give him some direction in designing the thing.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Traveller in Time » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:14 am

Human Carcass Wash a kind of enclosed public shower.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Drawingablank » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:52 am

This sounds really interesting and I assume you have made him aware of not being able to use it to promote his business.

The main draw back I can see is that the combination of playa dust and water will probably gunk up the pumps, jets, plumbing, etc...

I cannot think of any water installations off hand to use as an example other than misters which are not set up to recirculate water.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby FIGJAM » Sat Sep 10, 2016 11:56 am

The wind will be a big factor in any water feature out there!!!
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Token » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:01 pm

There have been some smaller setups over the years with flame features.

Propane through diffuser with dancing flames on the surface.

Another small piece had floating fuel burning down cascading water bowls.

Stuff like that, all small scale.

Big water translates to big mess out there so not a popular medium.

Health department is also tough on public water of any kind. Big Petri dish effect after a week.

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:01 pm

I also wonder if he clearly understands he can't plug his company with a Burning Man art installation.
He really ought to attend at least once before doing this, or there's just no way to understand what he's doing.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby caveatlector » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:49 pm

Yes. He understands that it's not a commercial or promotional thing.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby caveatlector » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:51 pm

Token wrote:There have been some smaller setups over the years with flame features.

Big water translates to big mess out there so not a popular medium.

Health department is also tough on public water of any kind. Big Petri dish effect after a week.


Those are good points, Token. I'll make sure he understands those challenges. Thanks!
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Ano » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:54 pm

I do not know specifically what the rules are regarding water-based art, but I have seen fountains and the like out there in camps.

Even if the rules do explicitly prohibit what he is trying to do, if your father-in-law can prove beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt that he knows what he is doing and how he plans to account for all of the issues that could happen in exhausting detail, there are historical instances of technically-banned art and interactive pieces making it to the playa. There have been very few exceptions in the entire history of the event, but it can happen.

For example, there are a few camps that could fall under the realm of having a public shower, but they have an explicitly excellent plan for all aspects of the interaction and are thus given an exception... I visited two of them this year, and they were both placed camps taboot. There was another camp that brought out a dome with live grass one year (maybe more), and although any kind of live or dead plants are explicitly prohibited, they were allowed to do their thing and advertise it widely because they handled it very well.

Like I said, I don't know the specifics of what your father-in-law wants to do. If he just wants to bring some small fountain for camp, I'm pretty sure that's fine (but don't quote me on that). I saw more than one fountain out there this year. If he wants to do some kind of large-scale water-based art, he's going to have a lot of hoops to jump and red tape to cut. He'll probably want to attend the event a few times before trying to get an exception, as well, because he probably isn't familiar with the random strange conditions that the desert can offer. Is this hypothetical water-based art prepared to survive a six-hour 80mph dust storm followed by three hours of pouring rain? Is it ready for a lightning strike? What's he gonna do about the couple who wants to fuck in it? How about that haboob this year on Burn night, can the piece withstand that? These are some things I'd imagine he would have to get situated before getting an exception. Even then, like I said, very very few technically-banned things ever make it out there. The ones that I know of that have made it, tend to be big camps full of highly-experienced (10+ years) Burners who can answer the questions before they are even asked.

To make a long story short, more than likely, if you want to bring a cute little pissing cupid fountain and run it in your camp with adequate water catching, you're probably good. If you want to make some kind of large-scale public shower thing, get ready for an intense barrage of questioning and probably a denial. If you want to make some kind of large-scale water-based art, you're going to have to convince the very people who banned it in the first place that your piece of art is different and won't cause all the problems other similar pieces have, because _________________________.

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby caveatlector » Sat Sep 10, 2016 2:06 pm

Ano wrote:I do not know specifically what the rules are regarding water-based art, but I have seen fountains and the like out there in camps.

To make a long story short, more than likely, if you want to bring a cute little pissing cupid fountain and run it in your camp with adequate water catching, you're probably good. If you want to make some kind of large-scale public shower thing, get ready for an intense barrage of questioning and probably a denial. If you want to make some kind of large-scale water-based art, you're going to have to convince the very people who banned it in the first place that your piece of art is different and won't cause all the problems other similar pieces have, because _________________________.


Since it's been brought up twice: It's not a public shower.

His experience is in making large water sculptures, and he's hoping to apply that experience to a placed piece of art in the playa. I've not seen the CAD of what's been done, but I know they're building a piece for Nuit Blanche this year and there's an impression that it might transport well out to Playa.

His company has been producing large scale fountains for over 50 years, and I think he's seeing this project as a unique challenge. Doubly so if it seems like nobody has ever been able to produce something like this in the past which incorporates health and LNT considerations.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby SpooKy_K » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:14 pm

I have been racking my brain for a solution to the Dust and Water art on the playa. The only thing I have come up with is building a Dust Free completely enclosed shade structure. Similar to what you would see the military do for a on site lab or med facility. After you do all of that it kills the allure of the art. Makes me sad but a dusty muddy mess will ensure your water isn't clean after 1 min of set up.

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Papa Bear » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:09 am

I agree that enclosing the water-based art within some kind of larger structure seems like the most straightforward approach.

I don't think that would necessarily destroy the allure of the piece, though. I think the key would be to integrate the protective structure with the water art, using it to frame or complement the art - perhaps through creative (maybe interactive) lighting or sound, that sort of thing.

That's a big ask for a first trip to the burn, of course, and I'd definitely recommend trying something on a much smaller scale to get some experience with the practical challenges of doing that on playa. That doesn't mean a first-timer can't pull it off, though, especially if he can find someone experienced to help advise him. I'd imagine there are folks at the org who can put him in touch with other builders of large scale art, as well as local support resources that might be able to help with logistics.

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Sham » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:04 am

Taking the challenges of wind, dust, heat etc., and conquering those obstacles sounds like an awesome challenge. There could be a pump shut-off if the wind hits a certain speed. There could be a filtering system that could capture and remove playa dust. The night effects of something like this could be utterly amazing with some LED's added.

I have seen some outlandish ideas tossed out for Burning Man, and the following year see that project on the playa.

Tell dad to "go for it"! 8)

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby some seeing eye » Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:23 pm

Quite some time ago Otter Camp had a pool, which cannot be done by the Nevada health regulations. There was also the Water Boy interactive sculpture. One idea is to enclose the water in tubing, with the right light and spacing in circulating bubbles, or in a tank, bubbles.

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby AntiM » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:00 pm

I remember waterboy! Terrific.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby motskyroonmatick » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:40 pm

All hail Water Boy!
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:49 pm

I'm probably the odd man out on it, but I remember Waterboy and thought it was freaky creepy!
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Token » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:02 am

CL, why not have your pops-in-law drop in and talk shop, try designs and whatnot?

We big time geeks here and always willing to talk shop.

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby caveatlector » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:06 pm

Token wrote:CL, why not have your pops-in-law drop in and talk shop, try designs and whatnot?

We big time geeks here and always willing to talk shop.


You bring up a good point Token! I will. :)
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby A-RockLeFrench » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:35 pm

One of my friends and I are brainstorming some sort of water themed playa installation, will all the fire art out there some water art would shake it up a bit.. There are many challenges to incorporating water effects into an art piece as others have pointed out..

Fountains seem like the most challenging as far as the environment is concerned. Bubbles are cool but rarely work out there, then there is the potential moop issue with those as well. Misters seem pretty easy, I've seen a few camps with misting systems out there.


I'd really like to play with a steam engine to power a kinetic sculpture... Boilers, whistles and big belts and gears and pulleys and stuff!

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Jackass » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:42 pm

Put the steam back into steampunk... Keep Burning Man potentially lethal.

Steam and propane!
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Sep 18, 2016 12:51 pm

The Neverwas Haul had auxiliary towing by wood-powered steam vehicles. (In early days wood-fueled)

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby AntiM » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:27 pm

In 2002~3, there was a camp where we made clay whistles, they fired them in a kiln (unglazed), and played them on a steam engine thing. We could take our whistles home at the end of the week, I think. Memory is hazy. It was magical.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby 666isMONEY » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:11 pm

I saw a water sculpture on Esplanade near 9:00, maybe at the Pink camp (forget it's name), it was typical (steel?) fountain with about a dozen water Lilies spilling water on to each below it into a pool at the bottom. I checked it out to see how it was handling the dust, can't remember if there was a thin layer of mud in the bottom of the pool but the water was clear. I liked the idea, thought they were brave to try it.

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Elliot » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:00 pm

I would love to see a huge water-sculpture out there, and in the open.
Major technical challenges yes. But doable, I should think.
Incorporate clever lighting at night.
Maybe propane bubbles in the water, igniting when they surface. (Clear plastic, so the bubbles are visible as they rise?)
Probably best to do one year as a regular participant, to learn and to make contacts. Then go for it!
But yes, if he will present the project here on ePlaya, lots of competent folks can brainstorm with him. (Yet, ePlaya is not so big as to necessarily spoil the general surprise of the actual installation.)
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:18 pm

It's gotta be easier than oil-based art.
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Token » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:17 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:It's gotta be easier than oil-based art.


I dunno. These oil fountains were pretty cool in 2001

Image

And this oil fountain left me breathless and ducking for cover.

Image

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:56 pm

Oh yeah, I had forgotten those! That was way cooler than the fireworks show they do now, the massive fire cannons were great.
Those were kerosene, at dangerously high pressure, right?
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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby 666isMONEY » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:23 pm

Image
Egeria, an interactive art piece from Burning Man 2003. By Kiki? Good example of a fire fountain, which would be a fun garden centerpiece.
Pic source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/38351034297004186


Not sure why the pic is so small

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Re: Water-based-art on Playa?

Postby Jackass » Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:03 pm

Image
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