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$876 pledged of $3,000 goal
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$876 pledged of $3,000 goal
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About this project

Balance, The Nail Contraption... 10 nails on the head of one... is it possible??  ... YES!  And we plan to do it on a GRAND SCALE on the Black Rock desert, where Art and Science and Great Things blend as one.  

The back story:  It begins with the Caravansory... 

Past, present and future come together when tribes group, exchanging things, stories and different cultures.  Food customs are shared as well as contraptions of science or unseen things that inspire great thinking.  Challenges and gambles are a day to day experience.  Monies won and lost, futures changed, some for the better and some, well, let's say no future at all.  

And so we give you, "Nails - The Contraption"  

A carpenters pub trick to win drinks as well as money.  This brain game on a small scale (16 penny nails) has also been entered in science fairs and used in the classroom to inspire problem solving.  We propose to bring a scaled up version to the playa.  The creative team of Union Phi will construct a 15 foot version of this carpenters trick with 10 foot steel nails fabricated and then assembled on the playa as close to the original small scale form as possible. Because of safety issues, the sculpture will have to bend the rules of the game a little to accomplish this feat of engineering. The sculpted form will stand as a simple reminder of how humanity can master it’s physical world to create functional yet beautiful and inspirational forms.

Natural Beauty, tested 

The beautiful natural curved configuration of the contraption is a result of the weight, friction and balance of the nails. The sculpture seems to be manipulated to accomplish this curve, yet it is the rules of gravity and friction creating the natural beautiful curve. Broken down mathematically, it relates to Phi, known as the Golden Ration, a magical proportion that can be rationalized in monumental art, architecture and in nature.  Some believe Phi is connected to how humans distinguish beauty at a subconscious level. 

Union Phi

Some good friendships have come out of this creation already.  When the challenge was presented to me, it took time and some clues, but I was able to solve the balance problem.  Two months later I met Koda on another of his playa art projects.  Within 5 minutes of our initial meeting, I was scrounging the area looking for a hammer and nails to show him the puzzle.  Although it had nothing to do with the task at hand, once it was completed, he realized that he had stumbled on a like-minded, creative eclectic, much like himself ... and so started our artistic partnership, Union Phi.  Though we are all such small spots on the plain of time, together our experiences make a difference in the lives of one another. We walk a fine fine line between all things but one things remains the same... our balance of it all.

Union Phi is a collaborative group of passionate and creative individuals that transform the eccentric thoughts we all have rattling around in our imaginations by physically manifesting them into beautiful and inspirational art that connects us all at a basic human level. With our collective experience of the playa and beyond, Union Phi is developing two large scale sculptures for Burning Man 2014. This Kickstarter campaign is known as Nails, The Contraption, but please explore our other project known as Burning Phi which is running in parallel to this campaign.

Risks and challenges

The challenges are many in a project of this scale, especially where we will be physically installing this piece (Black Rock City on the playa). Union Phi has several core members that have participated and have personally created and installed multiple installations at Burning Man over the years and as recently as last year (2013). Union Phi has been developing and coordinating this particular project over the past three months which includes developing renderings, a scale model, working drawings and coordination with a Nevada State engineer. Union Phi has multiple contingency options for every phase of the project. For example, we have priced structural steel from multiple commercial suppliers and are currently coordinating options to use steel components from salvage opportunities. Another example is the technical abilities of our crew. We have multiple options at the fabrication and installation levels as our experience on the playa has taught us to work in a communal way.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Everything counts and your support means a great deal to us! We will give you a solid Shout Out on our Facebook project page.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Come have a drink with us on the playa! We are going old-school and sending you Union Phi Wooden Nickels that are redeemable for a tasty beverage in the hot desert sun. We will also give you a shout out on our Facebook page!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Show your support everyday with a Union Phi Wristband! Arm art is all the rage, and nothing says you care more than a public display of support. With the wristband, you will also receive retro Wooden Nickels (good for drinks from Union Phi) and a Shout Out on Facebook.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    What everyone needs on the Playa... a Koozie to keep those mountains blue! Receive a custom Union Phi logo drink Koozie, Wooden Nickels to exchange for a drink from Union Phi, a Union Phi Wristband, and a solid Shout Out on our Facebook project page.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Form AND Function are key components to accessorizing your outfit on the playa. We have just what you need... a PLAYA RAG! Wear it to keep the sun off your neck and/or your head. Wear it around your neck like a bandanna, and pull it over your nose when the dust kicks up. It is the perfect utilitarian and desert fashionista piece that will be the envy of all your friends! Additionally, you'll get everything mentioned above.... What Could Be Better???!
    (photos on Facebook)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    NAME-A-NAIL SPONSOR: Become a permanent part of the sculpture with your name carefully welded to one of the nails! You'll not miss out on swag, as you'll also get everything listed above!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    YOUR OWN PERSONAL ROAD SHOW:
    Impress your friends with this great bar trick! A pocket-sized box of nails and instructions on how to set the puzzle up anywhere. You will also receive a playa rag, a koozie, wooden nickels, a wristband, a shout out AND your NAME on a NAIL on the PLAYA!

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    TABLETOP VERSION:
    Art & Science are one in this tabletop version of the sculpture. Comes in a tastefully decorated box that doubles as the base for the art piece. You will also receive a playa rag, koozie, wooden nickels, wristband, the digital shout out, your name on a nail at the playa AND the pocket-size puzzle! What could be better than that??!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    OWN THE SCALE MODEL:
    That's right... you can take home the actual scale model seen in the video and used to showcase at Burning Man HQ for approval and playa placement! Adding this gravity puzzle to your yard or deck will be a conversation piece for years to come! Of course you will also receive the pocket version, your name on a nail on the playa installation, a playa rag, koozie, wooden nickels, wristband and top honors on our Facebook page!

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Funding period

- (60 days)