Metamorphic Dis-chords

A wind-powered cacophony with interactive musical elements

The transformation culminating in one experience is often the result of many. The modern life we enjoy arrived at great cost. Industrialization required disrupting earth that rested in wait for thousands of millennia.

We broke and drilled the surface, crushed and sifted, burned sludge, smelted and reformed. We cut living trees and ground them into shapes to serve our needs. Long before all that, stars exploded and meteors collided to create earth itself.

Humans settled into their exploitative, rote civilizations, periodically arrested in shock and awe when natural disasters repossessed nature’s materials. We’re not in control, never have been, never will be. We adapt to transitions through transitions of our own. This project reminds through the haze of two events, past and present.

In 2017, a devastating fire changed the lives of thousands of people in Sonoma, CA. With this fire event, nature took back everything, reducing human constructs to the elemental components of charred ash and metal. Order to disorder.

Shocked by landfill-consigned losses, humans find solace in re-purposing the remnants. Disorder to Order.

Material transformation abounds, structural elements reformatted; inspiring contemplation, yet speaking of devastation, abandonment and artistic possibilities in the wake of crippling losses.

A mass of many artistic projects, with distorted metal materials salvaged from fire-ravaged properties, this is not one single artistic element, but many. HALF of the metal materials used in this project were salvaged from fire-ravaged properties.

From their valueless wasteland, donors smirked reprise in learning of the plan: an alternate reality where groaning scraps of morphed instrumentation could express their narratives. Kinetic and interactive fabrications combine to play nature’s random songs. We don’t assume harmony here; we anticipate discordance. The question is: can harmony emerge via human interaction on the playa?

Circle Smirk


Circle Smirk

12 foot diameter, 8 feet tall

Based on a round salvaged trampoline frame married to those pervasive Costco garage tents that often are destroyed in gusting wind launches,  components that have been modified to extend the height of the tramp frame to serve as a platform to mount a wide variety of noise making applications, both wind-activated and visitor played.

Kinetic Wind Machines

Whirlygigs that make noise along fence line. Open call for anyone to add to this project by building and bringing a wind-powered noise maker for the exhibit.

Scaffolding frames are arriving for smaller projects to hang on.

Interactive Instruments

Random placement TBD. Open call for anyone to add to this project by building and bringing a wind-powered noise maker for the exhibit.

Chime Turbine

10 ft. square x 12 ft. tall

An artfully crafted wooden frame constructed from mostly reclaimed lumber hosts a horizontal-cupped scoop turbine that runs a vertical shaft. Repurposed from a past evapotron project. Not entirely sure fabrication of inner mechanism will be done in time for this Burn.


2019 Implementation Recap

A few weeks before the event, the only person who knew how to assemble and complete the Chime Turbine fractured three vertebrae and was forced to back out of all projects. Since this was the anchor component we shifted from brag-worthy to doing the best with remaining assets and partners. 

The Trampoharp fabrication was complete but it was impossible to test its function in the construction area where wind seldom blew. So we hauled that whole thing out there and set it up hoping it would function as designed. It didn’t. It still looked impressive enough to receive some positive feedback, but there was one main problem: in spite of bringing five different types of strings for the resonance system, all but one type broke when tensioned enough to reach a high enough frequency to project into the echo chambers holding the pickup coils. The stainless strings that didn’t break held together only when tension was low, which resulted in them not projecting. The heavy string, similar to the thickness of barbed wire, was too heavy to oscillate. 

Luckily, Wildcard’s whimsical kinetic plastic trash art saved the project. They turned out to be quite noisy and quirky and many people fell in love with his six pieces scattered around the perimeter. 

In 2022 we’re aiming to get the Chime Turbine on playa as originally envisioned. And keeping with the theme of upcycling, there will be far more components in this installation, many utilizing used materials at the core.