I was surprised when I came across James Tyler’s brick head sculpture as I was cycling across the Playa. I had just struggled through several inches of thick dust that had bogged my bike down and required all of my attention. (The Black Rock Desert gives a whole new meaning to dirt biking.) Hitting solid ground, I breathed a sigh of relief and looked up. The sculpture was directly in front of me, maybe a hundred yards away. Like the molecule sculptures I featured in my last post, it seemed like a perfect fit for the desert. There was something powerful and ancient in the sculpture, but it also seemed surprisingly modern. Earth was written across its forehead. Tyler, I learned, hails from New York and specializes in ceramic brick heads. His work can be found throughout the country. To learn more, visit his website.
More and more robots will be in our future, guaranteed. Artificial intelligence and robotics are racing forward at Mach speed. Many of the jobs we do today will be done by machines in 10-20 years, if not sooner. For example, Peggy and I rarely vacuum anymore. Robota the Roomba does the job. She even cleans under our couch and beds, which is something we rarely did. In fact, I’m convinced she goofs off there, hiding out where we can’t see her. When her battery runs low she scoots back to the charger and recharges herself. The upside of robotics is obvious, but what about the downside. Isaac Asimov’s series on robots were among the first science fiction books I ever read. Will there come a time in our future when robots run the world and look down on us as the highly inefficient, messy creatures we are? Christian Ristow’s 30-foot tall robot sculpture at Burning Man was designed to encourage conversations about robots and our future. Check out Ristow’s website to learn more about this fascinating artist and his giant creatures.
And, as they say on late night television, there is more. Isn’t there always?
- A lovely white dragon named Akle by Swig Miller reminds me of the Pern series by Ann McCaffrey. Miller built the sculpture as a memorial to his dog, Elka.
- Twelve foot high letters made of steel urge us to Dream, Live, and Be OK. This message was designed by Laura Kempton and built by Jeff Schomberg. Believe, a project of theirs created for an earlier Burning Man, was recently sold to Reno.
- A giant Meta-heart built by Jonathan Hamilton should serve to remind my readers that Valentine’s Day is a week away (grin).
- Have you ever seen a light show that played classical music instead of something loud and raucous? Bay Area artist Christopher Schardt’s creation did just that. Burners lay down on their backs in the Playa dust to watch the show.
And finally, several of you have asked how large art makes it to Burning Man. I provide an example with Christian Breeden’s Colossal Skeletal Marionette.
NEXT BLOG: My third installment on the Sculptures of Burning Man.