Title: The Time Machine
Medium: Interactive sculpture, group project
I have been going to Burning Man since the early 1990’s. Around 2007 I joined a group of like minded artist and formed a camp called Carbon Dioxide.
For 2009 CO2 Camp brought the Time Travel Booth to Burning Man. I coordinated it’s construction but this was a true collaboration and I can not take any more credit than that. The Booth plays out a complicated narrative about travel to another time and place, and back. Immediately upon entering the booth the machine comes alive; you are asked to make a multiple-choice selection, from dinosauric prehistory to futuristic post-apocalypse, (umm, by some *accident* only “mystery destination* actually worked…); once START was pressed the Traveler was assailed by the workings of the machine… DING! you have arrived, please exit now!
The Booth project itself was a wonderful collaboration: Artists Benji & Emily of Meowwolf, Erika Wanenmacher, Eve Laramee, David Forbes, Tom Jennings and Myself each worked on parts of the Booth, from four different cities, and only on the playa did the parts come together, and it all worked first time. Though technologically complex (reactive electronics and mechanism and sculpture open unattended to all visitors to our street) it ran flawlessly for the entire week.
The Booth consisted of a structure made from rebar and tubing covered in repurposed billboard material, with a custom-built machine inside. The machine was a fiberboard panel with back-lit images and a few switches and pushbuttons, a controller and sound source. The one-minute narrative was largely driven from a very carefully crafted soundtrack (play the video below to hear it), and required visitor action to play it out. Operation was triggered by a mat switch on the floor, unavoidably stepped on when the visitor entered the booth. The booth received hundreds of visits during the course of the week.