For Burning Man 2012, I want to build a great big "hamster wheel" that people can run in that will roll inside an even larger wooden wheel all connected to an odometer to show the workings of the Mayan Calendars. It will stand 22'+ tall, have gears meshing with gears and the whole thing will burn down a week later.
It's more complicated than it sounds and is gonna cost around $7000 to make. I'm asking for you to contribute to make it happen.
The video above and the text below tell you all about me and the project in great detail, but essentially I'm asking for your help to bring a timely and fun project out to the desert.
Thanks for stopping by - wizzard
Illustration of how the piece will look on the desert.
Intro - me & past projects
Hi there, wizzard here. If you've been going to burning man for a while, you've probably seen one or more of my past art projects. Or you might recognize me if you have watched the movie "Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock" (now showing on NetFlix). I am one of the three artists that they followed in 2003 for the documentary.
My past art projects include: A Place to Stand (2003), Pagoda of Infinite Reflection (2004), Project X (2005), IntelligentDesign (2006/2009), THE END (2008) and I was a crew member of Valley of Heart's Delight (South Bay CORE project 2011).
Current project - Mayan TRIcycle
My hope is to help others understand how the Mayan Calendar works and to help alleviate the fears that many have that the world as we know it is going to end on December 21st when the calendar 'ends'. I believe that the cycle is just turning over, much like the odometer in your car does. To visually show this, I am building the Mayan TRIcycle. The 260-day Tzolkin Calendar will be a 13’ tall wheel, driven/rotated by humans running inside the wheel. The 365-day Haab Calendar will be a 22’ tall wheel that the Tzolkin calendar wheel is cradled in. Together the two wheels will rotate and will advance the Long Count “Odometer”.
First scale model of piece.
- Probably WAAAY too much background, but here goes -
I've been building art & big structures at Burning Man since 1999, and this year I'd like participants to play in and learn about the Mayan Calendars while running inside my most complicated project yet.
The Mayans had 3 different calendars that they used to keep track of time.
The Tzolkin was a calendar of 260 days used for the timing of sacred events. It was formed by the combination of 13 numbers and 20-day symbols in all their combinations like gears meshing with 13 and 20 teeth.
The Tzolkin Calendar
The Haab was a calendar of 18 months, each of which had 20 days (360 days), plus a short month of 5 "cursed" days - days you wouldn't plan a wedding or want to have your child born on for example. This calendar was used to keep track of when to plant crops and follows the earth's seasons reasonably well.
Initial Gear Design
The Long Count is like the odometer on your car, but the wheels have more than 10 digits on them and there are 5 wheels. The wheels complete a full cycle about every 5,125 years.
The current cycle began on 18.104.22.168.0 4 Ahau 8 Cumku, which correlates to Aug. 13, 3114 BC. (Note the first digit is never zero. It uses the digits 1 to 13. Think of the 13 as the zero.)
On that day: 22.214.171.124.0 was the long count. 4 Ahau was the Tzolkin date. 8 Cumku was the Haab date.
Note: The Tzolkin and Haab cycles repeat after approximately 52 years; for example: 4 Ahau 8 Cumku only comes around once every 52 [365 day] Haab years or 73 [260 day] Tzolkin years.
If you're adding 5125 to 3114 BC in your head, by now you realize the current cycle gets back to 126.96.36.199.0 in December this year, and it is this rolling of the odometer over to zero that has some people freaked out thinking that the world is going to an end.
It is going to be expensive to build the Mayan TRIcycle because to make such large wooden gears is going to take a LOT of plywood and glue all laminated together. I'm estimating over 100 sheets of 5/8" plywood (or equivalent). Plus, over 100 - 2x4s, 12 - 4x4 or 6x6 beams, a couple dozen skate board wheels, screws, nails, pencils, etc., etc., etc.
To light the project so it can be seen at night, the same human energy that it will take to spin the tread wheels will drive generators to capture electricity. Yep, this still needs to be designed and built, too.
I'm predicting a total cost between $6,000 and $7,000. I'm asking for less here on Kickstarter because I am hoping to defray the costs and make something beyond my reach possible, not necessarily cover everything, while setting a goal that isn't too high. At the same time I'm hoping that we can raise more than 100% of the goal if this project gathers enough interest. It would be great if I raised more than the goal and could cover the entire projected amount, but I will be able to afford to build the project even if I only reach the Kickstarter goal.
I've got my ticket. I'm not asking for help in getting to or surviving the desert. I've been going long enough to need no help there. All the money I'm looking for will go to making the structure and creating the rewards I've been designing.
Most of my Burning Man projects have had some hidden joke or whimsy to them, sometimes only really known to me. I love that this project is rightly called a Mayan TRIcycle even though a casual observer will only see 2 giant wheels.
I also like that this project will be educational as well as fun.
Educational: A legend board near the odometer will explain the 3 calendar systems in text and by using gears that turn by hand.
Fun: When I was building a previous project (2010), every time I had the round concrete forms in a 'wheel-like' orientation, someone would come along to ask to run in it. I have no doubt that people will queue up to have the chance to increment the calendar even while running in 100 degree weather in a 50 mph wind driven dust storm. Wouldn't you?
Previous project laying on its side.
100% of your donation will go to funding this project. All labor is by volunteers and will not require any money. The funding will cover lumber, lighting, electronics, decorations, and transportation for the piece to the playa (the common name for the Black Rock Desert).
I want to thank you for your time. I hope you will consider donating to this project. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
For those of you going to Burning Man, in the Mayan calendar, the Man burns this year on: 188.8.131.52.7 8 Manik 10 Mol.
This is my version of a mayan date stella to mark the event.
Note About Rewards:
The above image is referred to in the Rewards section as a STELLA.
The image below is referred to as a GLYPH in the Rewards section.
Five of the Glyphs make up the long count portion of the Stella. 2 Glyphs are for the Tzolkin and Haab Calendars, and the 8th glyph is known as the Lord of the Night. The Stella Also has a starting portion used to show the importance of the date to follow.
Check out our website http://www.wizzard.com/bm2012.
You can also follow the project on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MayanTricycle
For information about Burning Man, visit http://www.burningman.org.
- (45 days)