The Tree of Transmutation is an interactive sculpture to be installed at Burning Man 2012. This sculpture is part of the Transmutation Series by artist Kevin Christman. It is his vision of his artistic ideas brought to the scale of Black Rock City to share with the unique community of Burning Man and to continue beyond the Playa.
From a distance the sculpture looks like a tree or chandelier with strange translucent fruit or lighted pods suspended from stems radiating out from the center.
The tree is made of fabricated steel branches that spring from the Playa and carry the suspended figures out from the center trunk. Upon inspection the six pods appear to be female forms, two times life size, in various positions, suspended in space.
We have added a new feature to this project..Cocoons! These suspended fabric cocoons will be hung between the branches so anyone can become fetal and emerge as the beautiful butterfly that they want to be.
In the center is a ten foot tall wooden pyramid pieced intricately together like the stonework of a Mayan wall. The top is capped in three feet of copper plate with the tip intersecting a three-foot diameter ball of half life-size skeletons with a ten-inch iron version of the larger female figure suspended in the center.
The delicacy of the gesture appears as the figures rotate in their hanging positions. This sculpture engages a viewer from a distance, transforming as the figures interact on the Playa.
This piece is a continuation of my Transmutation series, which refers to the alchemical process of evolution that we are perpetually undergoing. At this point in time, it feels important to keep balanced, go inward, and know oneself before expanding to our ultimate potential. The female figure in the fetal pose represents a place of nurturing in a safe environment, returning to the fertile womb, the cocoon that provides the enclosure for transmuting from chrysalis to the butterfly. These ideas are explained more eloquently by Dr. Bruce Lipton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcacx_i6MIE
Engaging the viewer is the one of the most important elements that I strive for in every piece I create. I am intentionally creating many layers of interest, from the initial visual hit to the curious close intrigue of the details.
I have always viewed the actions of my life as if I was looking at myself, removed from everything in the world. Just my naked self in a vacuum of white space, how would my actions appear? Would I be the crazy one reacting to someone else's hostility, or would I be centered in the face of the storm? My experience at Burning Man in the middle of a dust storm was precisely such a vacuum. Since that moment I have wanted to bring this project to the desert.
On the Playa
This sculpture is intended to engage the viewer through tactile inter-activity with the sculptures. The female figures are removable from the tree and are free to roam the Playa, and return again to the tree in the evening for illumination. The early hours of dusk the tree would begin to illuminate and when all figures have been returned to their branches a dynamic light show would occur that celebrates the final return. The lighting will act as a metaphor for coming together to complete the transformation into a new brilliant future.
We are so honored to have received an Honorarium from Burning Man. This has made it possible for us to start to make this project come to life on the Playa. We also could not do this without the enormous effort of so many friends here in Oregon. We thank you for your support and would like you to join our Crew
- Kevin Christman - the artist and visionary, www.kevinchristman.com
- JulieO - mother of the crew, www.julieodwyerdesign.com
- Steve Sirianni - making it all work, www.wallsoftimebuilders.com
- Lynda Sirianni - holding the heart of the idea
- Jason Hutchins - our welder
- Zac Snow - Kevin's right hand man..and a Ginger!
- Ken Becker - Aaaaaah!, www.safeworld.com
- Rachel Rose - on the Playa coordinator extrordinaire
- Greycloud - telepathetically solving all problems
- Marya - get-it-done kinda girl
- Inger Jorgensen - artist assistant and great lady
- Mark Millner - transport support and fun guy on the Playa
- Annabel Allen - videographer and wardrobe guru
- Noah Kay - Kevin's left hand man
- Todd Ellis - the prop master
- Gabriel Lipper - fellow artist and antagonist
- Saione Penn - the heart of the art
- Navin Mahabir - archivist and best tan
- Brian Dunagan - engineer god