Digital Consciousness News.

Issue 110. September 2008
Burning Man 2008
Burning Man is an annual week long arts festival that takes place in the Black Rock desert in Nevada. This issue of the newsletter describes just a few of the installations there.

Tantalus is a life-size stroboscopic zoetrope. The mechanism produces an illusion of action from a succession of static pieces. It tells the tale of Tantalus, who stole ambrosia from the Gods. His punishment was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. The Tantalus zoetrope at Burning Man presents a revolving Uncle Sam hat. A man's arm reaches for an apple, or golden watch. The object goes up and down, but it is always just out of reach.

Tantalus is the creation of Peter Hudson, a San Francisco visual artist who has installed zoetropes at Burning Man since 2000. In 2000, Playa Swimmers was featured in a Time Magazine article about the art of Burning Man and in filmmaker Renea Robert's award-winning documentary, Gifting It. In 2001, Possession, a collection of six hands strategically placed on a model. In 2002, Sisyphish which depicts strobe-lighted swimmers in motion. In 2004, Deeper; in 2007 Homouroboros and this year Tantalus. Peter Hudson is the September 2008 Digital Color Artist of the Month.

The largest installation was Babylon, a 10-story steel frame tower rising 100 feet into the sky, with a stairwell to the top. It was built by union workers out of recycled materials to specifications that allowed for tear down. The festival is a "leave no trace" event, so everything is temporary. The process of quickly and cleanly building and tearing down a structure so big it would be fair to call it a skyscraper is in itself a work of art.

A few hours after dark the artist himself fired up the structure releasing fuel into the ceiling of a small open building. In calm conditions there is mesmerizing, creeping, undulating fire suspended overhead. In windy conditions there is still a partial coating of the fire just beneath the ceiling.

The Apocalypse Lounge Dinosaur Spider
This is a gigantic mechanical beast that looks like a dinosaur, but has eight legs so may be a spider. Three years in the making, it is powered by a single truck motor geared up enough to move the 7 ton object. It tromped across the festival straining to make a step, but doing it, pausing and then making the next. It was two stories high and people climb up and ride on the top story. It cannot turn. It makes loud thumps as it goes and stirs up dust as it pounds the earth.

A super size Humvee measuring 38 feet long x 18 feet wide x 16 feet high. Half of the Hummer was painted in military khaki and the other half in bright sporty colors. The headlights were bright enough to bring day to night. The taillights were a shadow show.

Altered State
A symbol of the United States Capitol becomes a mirage of mythical creatures fabricated of elaborately carved white steel. Each cut is rendered in the archetypal graphic style of Pacific Northwest Coast Indian imagery. Gymnasts climbed the interior swing and as intended, a government building was transformed into an Altered State.

Temple of Community
A thirty-foot-high rendition of an origami crane. On the playa, the crane symbolizes the act of letting go – of people, places, feelings, ideas – making wishes, discovering hope, finding peace, and building the wisdom, happiness and longevity of a community that is united in this experience.

Shiva Vista
A circular fire installation with an elevated performance platform in the center. Sixteen large propane guns fire in rhythmic sequences while fire performers, dancers and musicians play along with them. Twelve of the guns are arranged in a 100 foot circle and four more are located at the corners of the platform, controlled from an elevated platform just outside of the circle. It is a place where humans and machines enter into a fusion of fire, movement and sound.

Flamethrower Shooting Gallery
Modeled after a county fair-style shooting gallery, this provides a new twist on a long-standing American tradition and pokes gentle fun at the American fascination with firearms and personal power, as well as the Burning Man fascination with fire and radical self expression. It does this by allowing and encouraging participants to literally play with fire and shoot things.

Emerald Portal
The Emerald Portal was originally made for Burning Man 2006. It is based on 3-dimensional sacred geometry heart chakra colors and incorporates the Quasar Wave Transducer, a subsonic nonlinear dynamic analog feedback device. It is made of specially painted plywood and has seating both within the lower area and on a raised central platform. The outline is a steel tubing version that clearly shows the geometry of the structure and can be climbed on. It catalyzes a personal connection to the Emerald within the participant's heart chakra and facilitates a connection to the Earth and Galaxy's energy bodies.

New Contemporary Artists and Galleries
The following artists registered in the last month. To view the work of an artist enter the artist's name at To see these most recent artists go to
  1. John Torode. Abstract expressionism
  2. James Faulkner. Digital collage.
  3. Tony Blue. Blutography art, a form of photo-illustration.
  4. Cynthia Fusco. Landscape and nature photography.
  5. Lewis Liu. Reproduction of famous oil paintings.
  6. Liz Rogers. Transparent watercolors.
  7. Paul Bonnie Kent. Brilliant abstracts and other offerings from Emilia Romagna, Italy.
  8. J P McLaughlin. Image creation from Scotland.
  9. Jett Vivere. Dramatic impressionistic oils from Ayrshire, Scotland.
  10. Rollo West. Oil and colored pencil animals and wildlife.
  11. Cody Wilkerson. Digital graphic photography.
  12. Peter Hudson. Life-size stroboscopic zoetropes.
  13. Kristina Wentzell. Landscapes and florals.
Gilbert Abric, Kevin Barr and Nicholas Caputi have added new artwork to their galleries.

Ad-free Galleries With No Commission
Artists with Digital Consciousness Gallery Service can create and edit on-line galleries from a control panel. These galleries contain no ads and are among the most prominent pages on Digital Consciousness. Artists may sell artwork from their galleries free of commission. Gallery Service requires registration and $30 a year. Registration is free and registered artists may create an Artist Page without purchasing Gallery Service. Registered Artists can use the Edit link at the bottom of their Artist Page to edit their Artist Page or to upgrade to Gallery Service.
Forums  |  Database  |  Artist List  |  Awards  |  Registration  |  Email  |  FAQ  |  Galleries  |  Directory  |  News  |  Home