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Singularity Transmission: Tower of Babel to be Rebuilt for Burning Man, by Texans!

Houston sculptor Troy Stanley and architect Brey Tucker are in the T-shirt and fundraising phase for “Singularity Transmission,” a temporary sound installation/structure for this year’s Burning Man festival. In keeping with this year’s theme “fertility,” the derrick-like structure combines not-so-subtle penis-and-vagina imagery, and will function as a sort of low-fi drop-in jam session: burners in sixteen onion-shaped pavilions speak, sing, rant, or babble through tin-can phones to a central collector, which digitizes and amplifies the collective voice into a central sound womb. The shirts have been printed, the kickstarter campaign is underway, and the project has been awarded an honorarium by the Burning Man art committee. You can read all about it on the project’s blog.

You’ll have to be lucky to see it, though. Even at $240-$390, Tickets to the ever-more popular desert event are scarce: so scarce that a scheduled “open sale” was cancelled when random drawing for tickets from an enormous pool of applicants left out too many returning festival-goers. Black Rock City LLC, the event’s organizers, have instead, reluctantly, opted for “directed ticket distribution,” that favors past burners over newbies.

also by Bill Davenport
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2 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for helping spread the word!!!
    Singularity Transmissions is a project that can be difficult to explain. On it’s surface, it is a 40 ft tall sculpture, surrounded by multiple 10 ft tall sculptures, connected by tin can phones to create a visual and audio experience. It is an interactive piece being created for the 2012 Burning Man art festival. Deeper than that, Singularity Transmissions is a project about people. The artist team is comprised of some of the most creative and dedicated people from across Texas, being lead by Houston based artist Troy Stanley. A piece as complicated as this requires experts from fields that would, under ‘normal’ circumstances, never meet. Wood sculptors, audio engineers, metal artist, set designers, painters, photographers, videographers, and general fabricators are coming together to create a piece that will be experienced by upwards of 50,000 people from all around the world. As the only project from Texas awarded an Honorarium by the Burning Man art committee (out of 349 applicants), the pressure to successfully represent not only ourselves, but Texas artist in general, is extreme. The project goes beyond that however. While we are burning down the piece at the end of the festival, all the collected audio will be available online in an open source data base. Used as-is or remixed as desired; our hope is for artist, musicians, film makers, and performers to create new work with this material. Showing that while the physical is fleeting, inspiration only grows.

  2. An article that may be of interest, as it shares many of the same themes as this essay:

    What is The Babel Singularity?

    “The eleventh chapter of Genesis opens with one of the earliest recorded stories of collective human ambition. The brief account, commonly known as “The Tower of Babel,” relates the attempt of the people of Babel to build a tower tall enough to ‘reach unto heaven.’
    “They sought to put themselves on the same level as God…The event marks an early endeavor by humanity to reach a godlike status through its own means.
    “Today, we are attempting the same feat.
    “In recent decades, we have begun to take the future into our own hands. Just as the tower-builders, we have abandoned our fear of God, and are once again seeking advancement by our own device…”

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