The Combinatorial Whimsy of Interactive Art

Whether you can twiddle it, tweak it or twirl it, Burning Man art oftentimes requires the viewer to somehow complete the piece through their engagement with it.  With interactive art, the viewer becomes an active part of the experience, rather than a passive observer. They become a participant.

Fish car, entrapped

And an awesome corollary to this is the unexpected combinatorial whimsy that spontaneously happens in what is essentially a community of 50,000+ performance artists spending a week in a giant dusty idea factory.  Here’s a place where you’ve got fish, and you’ve got fishermen.  You’ve got maids, and you’ve got dirty people.  You’ve got folks running around in animal costumes, and you’ve got Animal Control officers.  You’ve got platforms, and you’ve got performers.  And you’ve got an appreciative audience that might just get involved, given the opportunity.

This, of course, makes for a fabulous melting pot to brew up those magic playa moments … those serendipitous vignettes you stumble across and find yourself uttering “Oh my God … only at Burning Man” before chuckling, shaking your head, and smiling as you head off to the next adventure. Yes, if Burning Man offers us one thing, it’s the permission to rediscover our inner child … to be spontaneous, and PLAY.

So here you go … here’s a quick collection of some great ones that were caught on film.  If you know of others, pop a link to them in the comments, and tell us the story! (more…)

Mobule Needs You


In the spirit of the revolutionary interactive art of [BM] and [BRAF], we invite YOU to come out to celebrate and pARTicipate in the Mobule experience! Get involved with this great Black Rock Arts Foundation grantee project and help make it happen! It will be in New York, Black Rock City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, SOON. You know you want to, so make it happen!

Mobule is a kinetic, multi-media, mobile, interactive street art performance that connects people from different cities. Check out theses videos about Mobule on the project’s website: http://www.mobule.org/

The artist, Ludale, needs 3 partners for each performance. It’s really easy to help! All you do is:

– Invite people to participate in an interactive game (invite them to try on the ‘space helmet’ and control the Mobule. Who doesn’t want to wear a space helmet?!?)
– Interview people
– Help video the interviews
– Help pack up the Mobule after the show

Don’t one of those roles sound just like something you could do?

Here are the dates the Mobule needs help. All performances are 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm:

Monday, August 15th
Tuesday August 16th
Brooklyn Bridge park – New York.

Friday, August 19th
Pier 14, Near the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, by the Ferry building – San Francisco.

Saturday 20th, August 20th
Mission Delores Park – San Francisco.

August, 29th – September 4th
Center Camp – Black Rock City.

Friday, September 9th and Saturday 10th
Santa Monica Pier – Los Angeles.

Artist Ludale and the Mobule also need places to stay during their travels, and need a ride to and from Burning Man any day between 8/23 and 8/28!

Can you help? Email ludo here: ludo (at) ludale.fr if you can!

Compression! Art and Fire, this weekend in Reno

Evening crowd shot from the Cal Neva parking garage during Compression 2010. Photo by Bill Kositzky

Reno is blowin’ up. Living here right now is highly exciting, despite the recession that just won’t die. We may not be rich, but we Reno dwellers have great art at our fingertips and Burning Man culture up the wazoo. Who needs money when you’ve got art and fire?

For years now, the City of Reno has been working with BRAF to exhibit Black Rock City’s best artworks. This month, the Spire of Fire is in place and will be lighting up every Tuesday night as part of Artown, Reno’s month-long art festival. (more…)

Earthalujah Explained!

[Editor’s Note: For those of you unfamiliar with him, Reverend Billy is a New York-based performance artist whose work speaks to the heart of Burning Man’s principles of decommodification and radical self-expression. He was a Burning Man honorarium artist in 2003, where he performed in front of the Man as part of that year’s “Beyond Belief” art theme. Enjoy!]

Reverend Billy’s brilliantly bombastic, boldly brief Earthalujah sermons — now available as a podcast! Watch more episodes and subscribe at revbilly.com/podcast

 

Sometimes people come up to me and ask “The Church of Earthalujah…what is that? Is it a political rally? Is it a real church? Is it a comedy sketch? What is it?!”

Question: Is consumerism, is consumption, is consuming too much killing us right now? Yes it is. In the Church of Earthalujah we are definitely fighting consumerism. And that starts with the flags, the banners of consumerism are labels. There’s a label on every product, Amen! So, let’s not label anything. Let’s get beyond labels – that’s the devil!

We have an Earth crisis right now that we can’t label. In the old days it seems like there used to be people who would run down to the village common and shout “there’s an emergency here!” The traditional town crier. Someone should be shouting “Hey! The atmosphere! Too much heat! Extinction! Everything’s dying! Do something!” Where’s that person now? There seems to be a giant hush from the governments, celebrities, corporations, religions, armies – all the people who are supposed to be leading us. There’s a hush because they don’t have the right labels. But they look around them and they see what we all see: fires, floods, tsunamis, quakes, typhoons, tornadoes…Yes! That is the town crier! That is the force that is so powerful it’s chasing the God-forsaken celebrities off the front page of the newspaper. And that is the Earth itself getting our attention, and killing some of us.

In the Church of Earthalujah we regard these events as expressions, as words, as communications from a living being. The Earth is talking to us not just through these tragedies but every time we love each other, the Earth is whispering in our ear. When we walk out across a field on a beautiful day the Earth is alive.

Lets continue to live here. Let us ask the Earth to teach us to save the Earth and save ourselves. Amen.

Market Street Blooms Opening Reception

The Black Rock Arts Foundation has been working on many new partnerships and projects and we want you to help us celebrate them!  After all, it’s our community that makes it all possible.

The Black Rock Arts Foundation is honored to be part of the effort to revitalize the Central Market area in San Francisco in collaboration with the San Francisco Arts Commission, and we love sharing and supporting  Karen Cusolito’s sculptures.

photo: Mark Hammon

Central Market will come alive for the Art in Storefronts launch celebration!  The festivities include receptions at three neighborhood galleries, the debut of two temporary public art sculptures by Karen Cusolito, live music lining Central Market, and Off the Grid food trucks. The community celebration will kick off with the unveiling of six storefront installations and five murals designed by San Francisco artists.

Join the Black Rock Arts Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission for this FREE Market Street Blooms Opening Recption.

Music, speeches and mural unveiling:

May 13,  5:00 pm
998 Market St. San Francisco

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Green Dimensions

bandshellparkcycle-cropeed

We would like to give a shout out to the The Bandshell and the PARKcycle. There is an opening reception tonight at Fort Mason as part of Green Dimensions: An Exhibit Celebrating Bay Area Artists and Reclaimed Art Materials (until August 16); Pipeline : Art, Surfing, and the Ocean Environment at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery (until August 28); the PARKcycle, an art project consisting of a 10-foot x 4-foot planted garden, mounted onto the front of three bicycles, planted by the San Francisco Community Garden, until September 18; and the Bandshell, all free to the public.

Reception
July 16, Thursday
5:30-7:30pm
FREE
(RSVP required for reception) – call (415) 345-7561
Fort Mason, San Francisco, Bldg D

Fort Mason asks “Since when does Fort Mason Center have an outdoor performance space?” The outdoor Bandshell — created from salvaged car hoods, recycled circuit boards, and reclaimed wood — is located on central campus. The Bandshell hosts improv, musical and circus performances, readings and meetings, lunch space, and impromptu public performances. If you are interested in reserving a time in the Bandshell: contact here: contact (at) fortmason.org

The Bandshell, previously known as the Panhandle Bandshell was part of the [BRAF]’s Civic Arts Program, and the PARKcycle was a recipient of a grant through the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s Grants-to-Artists program.  We are proud to have supported this public art that is continuing to promote art, community and civic participation.

PARKcycle photo: Photo: Sasha Wizansky
Bandshell photo: Melissa Alexander

August 29th: Man II

As of this afternoon the new man, Replacement Man, is nearly finished, awaiting some neon.  The Man Krew built him on site, working round the clock, and he’ll be ready to raise tomorrow.  Access to the Man base since Monday night has been limited to authorized Burning Man personnel.  It’s been fenced off and surrounded by work trucks and heavy equipment.  It’s weird not being able to go to the Man and check out the displays or look back at the city after climbing up on the base, and I haven’t had any chance meetings there in the middle of the night like in years past.  BUT!  Today was awesome…

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Apogaea – The Colorado Regional Burn

Hello friends!

Once again I hit the road to find out just what the heck is happening in Regional Land. This time, my visit took me to Apogaea, the Colorado Regional Burn.

Located about an hour outside of Colorado Springs on private land, Apogaea is a little treasure tucked up in the mountains. The drive from Denver took about 3.5 hours and was one of the most majestic and beautiful drives I’ve taken in years. Snow capped mountains, green fields, winding streams, big jagged rocks, it’s been years since I have traveled to such mountain country. I had forgotten the massive scale of things in this part of the country and found myself in awe for most of the drive.

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