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Are you Devoted?   Explore the ritual of voting, the power of identity politics, and external influences at Burning Man 2017.
Are you Devoted? Explore the ritual of voting, the power of identity politics, and external influences at Burning Man 2017.
24 backers pledged $5,561 to help bring this project to life.

1300 Zip Ties Later...

Posted by Joe Miller (PocoJoe) (Creator)
4 likes

I've been back for a week.  The car is fit for polite company - the passenger and rear seats have been reinstalled, the dust cleared, the interior ArmourAlled back to a color other than light tan. The driveway has pretty much been cleared of construction debris, clothing has been washed (at a laundromat to keep the silt out of our own machine), the kitchen utensils cleaned, and for the most part, stuff has been put away.

So, How did it Go?  Was it fun?  

Nope.  It was more like a marathon.  Marathons aren't fun.  I'm glad it is done, and I'm glad I could do it, but it took a lot out of me - and my campmates, and friends.  But I'm glad I did it.  And, I think, it was the only thing like it on the open playa.  

There is no prohibition against political speech at Burning Man, and I do think that I did create a debate - but nearly exclusively among those who were already engaged in the process.  That said, lots many people viewed the installation, and looked in.  Fewer got off thier bikes and either wrote on the panels or in the composition books attached to the voting booths.

I'm going to scan and post the comments for giggles - but not tonight.  Tonight, just some gratitude for being in sunny and dry Arizona and not where my voting booths came from, Florida.

How different was "Devoted"?  Different enough to enter mainstream media:

http://www.rgj.com/story/life/arts/burning-man/2017/08/31/trump-gets-roasted-burning-man/623608001/

The Initial Installation
The Initial Installation

 As you heard from the prior postings, I got out of Tucson behind schedule.  The original plan was to start building "Devoted" on Thursday.  We started on Saturday.  I wasn't loafing, and considering that the build had pretty much occupied me outside of work (Sorry Sarah) since January, it is amazing to me that I ended up within three days of schedule.  The construction was just one guy.  The assembly was a crew.

Saturday Afternoon - it goes here
Saturday Afternoon - it goes here

 L to R:  Dom, Jesus, Henry, Emily, Joe.  Pink Floofty in foreground indicating where the installation is supposed to go.

Tensioning the Cables
Tensioning the Cables

 The upper layer came together quickly.  The cables were prestrung on the upper mast, and the Truck Tie Downs were installed at 21 inches - which Henry referred to as the Hysteresis point (pull any further and you get less tension instead of more).

Picking Signs
Picking Signs

 I had more than enough signs to completely cover the roof - and we decided to not cover the roof completely in order to reduce the wind load.  We enlisted the support of campmates to select the signs that would be mounted.

Install the Coroplast
Install the Coroplast

 Fortunately the wind was down, but unfortunately, the temperature was up when it was time to install the signs.  We started the build at 1:00, by 3:00 the heat was getting to everyone.

Human Zip Tie Dispenser
Human Zip Tie Dispenser

 Emily perservered as the Human Zip Tie dispenser,

fall backwards
fall backwards

 and I did my best to be sure to fall backwards instead of forewards.

By dusk, most of the signs were on, and lighting was installed after dinner when it started to cool down.

The next morning it was time for "the big tip".

Ready for the tip
Ready for the tip

 We got the last of the Coroplast (corrugated plastic, like cardboard)  on  (big sheets that could be really tied down) and it was time to see if our plan would work.  We couldn't safely tile the roof with signs the roof if it was in the air.  We needed to build it on the ground, tip it up, get the center mast under it, and the pull it on the big hinge (remember the post "that's not a knife - THIS is a knife!").

The hoist
The hoist

 A very serviceable hoist had been built by Crunchy for his truck.  Our plan was back the truck up to the structure, attached the hoist to the spider at the base of the mast, hoist it up about 7 feet, and "Harpoon" the spider with lower mast section.  We'd then set it down, move the truck to the other side, and hoist it up on the hinged mast to vertical.

Only one problem wtih the plan.  One little detail that was really important to recognize, and that an experienced team would have known.

The playa has about the same coefficient of friction as a frozen lake.  The truck slid to the structure.  The structure slid to the truck.  The hoist groaned.  The fuse blew on the hoist.  The fuse was upgraded, the groaning continued.  It sounded bad.  Time to call it a day.

It seemed like a good idea at the time...
It seemed like a good idea at the time...

 Here I am trying to figure out plan B.  Tear it down, eliminate the signs, and string it up with just ligths for a roof?  Leave it as it is, as a flying saucer UFO like thing telling people who to vote for in 2016?  Tear it down and declare victory?  

HEAT to the rescue

Dominique Hatt, one of the crew, is a very experienced member of the Burning Man organization.  He got to know everyone in his job of distributing and collecting all the walkie-talkies that keep the place working.  He spoke with people who said that help was available.  Now, I knew from my work with ARTery that Art Support Services had a heavy lift team, but I thought (incorrectly) that it was only for the Honorarium, or sponsored,  art installations, and that it was a contracted service otherwise.  I was done spending money at this point.  A day of festering goes by, and finally I go to Art Support and learn that once the big jobs are done, there is time for little jobs (to them it is a little job) and the equipment is already paid for.

HEAT, or Heavy Equipment and Transpo team, to the rescue-

Spyral came over, took a look, made a call to Fernando, who showed up with the biggest damn fork lift I have ever seen.  Once Fernando showed up, we had 15 minutes to find as many people as possible to help stabilize the structure in the light winds that had picked up in the afternoon.

Up it Goes!
Up it Goes!

 With the right equipment, up it went.   As you can see, there was a change in plan- rather than pull, it was a lift all the way - something we could not have done with our little hoist.

Harpooning the Spider!
Harpooning the Spider!

 Once the mast was installed, it was time to pin down the lower mast to the base:

Mother of all Hinges
Mother of all Hinges

 Once the mother of all hinges was in place, it was a tug, a pull, and it was all over except for inserting the final columns around and guying it down:

Up!
Up!

 Once the wind was no longer a concern, time to get out of the afternoon heat.

Woohoo!  Thanks Crew!
Woohoo! Thanks Crew!

 We got it up!  It took a village - or at least a camp!  Everyone who came running, thank you-

"Chinchilla"
"Chinchilla"

 I spent so much time in the dirt that Emily renamed me Chinchilla.  I was told that my new color scheme was "Powdered Sugar Donut".

One wing at first
One wing at first

 I put up one set of Wings (four were planned) to see how they would do in the wind.   The booths seemed to stay put.  The tablet computers were not used - and it is a good thing, because people liked writing in the books for other people to read, and very few people wanted to give their email addresses.  And, we flew the Flag.  I hung it with some trepidation.  I wasn't sure how I would react if it were defaced or written on.  That did not occur.  And, I believe it was the only Flag I saw flying on the Playa.  Didn't even see one in the Temple.  

Flying the Flag
Flying the Flag

 

Last Night
Last Night

 The installation was completely up for 24 hours.  I was really worried that a big wind would take ahold of the flat panels and wreak havoc, so they stayed down till the last day.  Missing how slippery the playa was really shook my confidence in the design.  A day was enough for me.  And, I got to learn that not only does Elvis live, but Tupac does as well.

Make you feel something
Make you feel something

 Art is supposed to make you feel something.  Maybe for a kid, the joy of grabbing the controls.  Maybe for an gymnast, the dream of being a wing walker.  Maybe for a pilot, fear of a landing gone bad.

I am not sure who else felt something from "Devoted" - but with your help, I certainly did.  I did my best to try and work through my anger that I have been feeling about the absence of leadership or ethics among the tech leadership.  This election was sold as clickbait, and I got to get my anger out of my system with all of your help.  I'm back to being Citizen Joe, trying to do the right thing.  But with your help, I was able to be Artist Joe, screaming in the face of the clowns that come to Burning Man to hang out and revel in how they have changed the world and who make billions by "connecting" us.

I keep thinking of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and how they accepted responsibility for the change that they brought on the world, and how they worked to try and contain nuclear war.

And I think of the medical profession, and how we have tried to learn from such failures as Tuskeegee.

Where is there any evidence of conscience in Tech?  Absent.  Barely, interested in what is legal, but certainly not what is right. 

Again, my thanks for your help helping me work through this.

Best,

Joe

Richard Austin, sarah, and 2 more people like this update.

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