Imagine, as you approach from across the Playa you first notice undulating waves of light accentuated with small bursts of fire. You approach with wonder. Upon a closer look you see that the lights and flames are occurring in what appears to be a brain suspended inside of a gigantic, 15 foot tall, half buried head.
The lights, a woven matrix of lines and orbs, keep changing colors and patterns – sometimes fast and with vigor – sometimes more calmly and slowly. Color palettes shift from cool blue greens to hot orange reds and back again. At times bright and alive – other times dim and resting. All the while an ever-present pulsing shift of light in the background. Now and then a flame bursts from the surface of the brain – here and there and here again. You notice a crowd gathered around the head and around a person seated on the ground in front of the head (or inside the head). The crowd is interacting with the seated person who is wearing a headset. As the mood of the seated person changes – at times from the prompting of the crowd – the patterns of light and fire change.
This sculpture, on its surface, will be an amazing display of craftsmanship and technology. A mix of the work of hardcore metal workers and brilliant geeks. It will amaze and inspire. Walk up to it and you’ll say “Wow!” But, dig below the surface and think about what it represents, what it’s doing, what it’s mimicking and you’ll go “Wow!” again.
The project is partially funded by Burning Man, an annual event held in the Nevada desert where the brain will make its debut (and that Larry Paige has said he enjoys attending), but they have an Indiegogo campaign to raise the rest of the money they need. And a generous donation of $500 will land you your own desktop brain! The desktop brain is powered by an Arduino microcontroller since it will be smaller (because really, who has room for a 15-foot tall brain around the house) and therefore requires less computational power.