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Fractal Rock: Math Sculpture for Burning Man 2016
Fractal Rock shares an artistic perspective on math through a climbable sculpture for BM 2016.
Pooja Shah
Black Rock City, United States
$8,367 USD total funds raised
103% funded on June 30, 2016

Fractal Rock is the recipient of a Burning Man Honorarium Arts grant and is brought to you by math geeks who love to build things and climb things. We hope that you interact with this piece at Burning Man this year, and can viscerally experience our math-based sculpture.


When Fractal Rock is on the playa, it will appear as an ossified helical structure that seems to glow from within. We want it to appear as if it is grown from the earth, an organic structure designed using math and built to scale through the love and labor of people who are inspired by its intriguing shape and mathematical foundations.


We want you to be able to walk up to the piece, where there will be a description of its philosophy, and then climb it. We hope that you’ll chat with the others who gather in Fractal Rock’s inner cavities and stare out at the goings-on and passers-by of the playa from atop your mathematical perch.

Fractal Rock will be finished in white fiberglass, and the texture of the surface will be similar to the texture of rock climbing holds, making it fun and easy to climb!

Fractal Rock was designed using fractals.

The following video is a good 2-minute explanation of fractals and how to generate a simple one.

In practice, fractals can be incredibly complicated and incredibly beautiful due to the ingenuity of the humans who mess around with them! We were inspired by the beauty of fractals, and the Julia set in particular. Our shape is a new perspective on fractal art. We used several Julia set fractals we liked and used software to mathematically interpolate (i.e. connect) these different patterns in three dimensions, so that we could build a 3D shape.

We hope that our piece inspires wonder in all those who interact with it, both at Burning Man and wherever we install it after the event. We especially hope that we can inspire people to be interested in creating their own math, art, or both.



Pooja Shah
Hi there! My name is Pooja. I went to Burning Man for the first time last year, and that experience, coupled with my own explorations of fractals and making, inspired me to give Fractal Rock a real shot! I'm a first-time playa artist and am excited to make this happen.

(Amazed by art at Burning Man 2015)


Stijn van der Linden, aka Virtox

Say hi to Stijn! :)

Stijn is an artist who started his career as an electrical engineer. He's the innovator behind the idea of using Julia set fractals to create mesmerizing 3D shapes. He's got quite a following within the 3D printing community, and his Julia set vases that he's published on Thingiverse are some of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Here's a link to Virtox's Thingiverse gallery.

Here are some pictures of other works by Virtox. Beautiful, right?


Nigel Fluharty
Nigel is an Oakland-based artist, sculptor, and lighting specialist! Nigel is on our core fabrication team and will be the steel mastermind behind fabrication.
Levon Fox
Levon is another wonderful Oakland-based artist and sculptor who is formally trained as an architect. Levon is the brains behind how we should divvy up our shape into bite-sized steel pieces that we will weld together to create the flowing curves that are Fractal Rock.
A Gray
A is a fiberglass specialist who is going to help us finish Fractal Rock to its beautiful white rocky texture and ensure that our lighting is epic and will glow on the playa!

We want to raise $8,000 on Indiegogo. Where are those funds going?

Here's an explanation of our budget:

  • Indiegogo fees and reward fulfillment/shipping: $1,600
  • Build site and insurance: $1,500
  • Materials cost (steel, fiberglass, consumables and some equipment): $6,500
  • Lighting (LEDs): $1,000
  • Generator for lighting and fuel: $1,200
  • Labor for fabrication: $8,000
  • Labor for design work: $1,500
  • Engineering analysis: $2,800
  • Transportation (to and from Burning Man): $2,500
  • On-site insurance (at Burning Man): $1,100
  • Storage of the piece (post Burning Man and until we can get it to another site or back at Burning Man next year!): $1,000
  • Campaign video: $1,000

Total project cost: $29,700 (including Indiegogo fees/rewards)

Indiegogo target: $8,000

Other funds raised: $22,000 (from Burning Man and personal donors)

You can also take a look at our timeline below:

  • September 2015: Pooja and Virtox begin designing what will become Fractal Rock
  • January 2016: Design is somewhat finalized. Application process for Burning Man grant begins
  • March 2016: Burning Man Honorarium Art grant is awarded. Build planning begins in earnest.
  • April 2016: Indiegogo campaign video is recorded and produced.
  • June 2016: Indiegogo campaign launches and runs throughout June. Structural engineering analysis and shop drawings produced. Building of internal steel structure commences.
  • July 2016: Building of external steel structure takes place
  • August 2016: Finishing of the piece with fiberglass and preparation for transportation to the playa
  • August 22, 2016: Build crew arrives onsite to install Fractal Rock at Black Rock City!
  • September 2016: Burning Man runs through the first week of September! Then we pack up and bring Fractal Rock back home, storing it somewhere until we can find another place to install it or bring it back to the playa next year.
  • October 2016: Finish fulfilling and shipping rewards that haven't already been fulfilled!

I'll deal with the simpler issue first: transportation. Our plan is to build Fractal Rock in four sections, with one vertical axis and one horizontal (but not in the most obvious way). All pieces will be fully constructed at our workshop, and once completed, we will load them onto a 24' flatbed truck, bring them on playa, and use on-playa cranes to assemble the pieces. 

If you've been following this project, you'll notice that we've changed from our former plans to use foam to construct the piece and will now be building the structure purely out of steel and fiberglass! We're constructing the piece in the following four parts:

  1. INTERNAL SUPPORT: An internal steel support structure that is being engineered by the external structural engineering firm Rbhu and will be fabricated by steel fabricators
  2. EXTERNAL STEEL CAGE: An external steel cage this is composed of thousands of small steel triangles that are welded together (think the Bliss Project sculptures)
  3. WIRE MESH: A layer of wire mesh to cover this steel cage
  4. FIBERGLASS EXTERIOR: A fiberglass exterior for finishing that will polish the piece and add structural strength

We started our structural analysis of the piece early on to ensure that it would be safe, and as mentioned above, we have been working with an external engineering firm that has experience with Burning Man projects. Their expertise and our research will yield a beautiful, strong piece.


We're doing our build in the Bay Area, and could use assistance on any of the following tasks:

  • Steel fabrication (cutting, shaping, welding, assembly)
  • Fiberglass coating
  • Finding another home for Fractal Rock after Burning Man

If you're interested, please fill out this form!

Thank you for reading about our project. We hope you get a chance to experience Fractal Rock in some way, whether it is through our 3D printed rewards, VR experience, in-person at Burning Man, or even just through this campaign page! If we see you at the burn, please be sure to say hi! If you want to reach out, you can email us at fractalrock2016@gmail.com.

Attribution: 

Thank you to Bryan Perez, our talented videographer!

Some of the Burning Man footage we used in the video was published under a Creative Commons license. The footage can be found here.

Timeline: This is a large project, and Burning Man is in 3 months. This is why we've spent the last several months planning, finding a crew, and figuring out exactly how we're going to build this thing. We've worked out a build schedule that will ensure we get the piece done in time. We're also working with experienced fabricators who know the ins and outs of building for Burning Man, so we're confident we can do this well.

Budget: One risk is that there could be unforeseen costs that might go way over budget and risk the project. In order to prevent this danger from occurring, we have researched all costs carefully. In many cases, we've been discussing costs for months with vendors and laborers. We're pretty confident in our budgeting for this project. There is, of course, the risk that we will not meet the fundraising goal. If we do not meet the Indiegogo goal, we will still complete this project (this is possible because of the grant we have received) but might have to complete it at slightly smaller scale. 

Structural engineering: We've been consulting with an external structural engineering firm, who are working with us to design the structure and give it an engineer's stamp of approval.

Crew: We've got a solid core team, consisting of the two artists, a project manager, a lighting and build manager, and a fiberglass expert. This is the minimum that we would need in order to make this project a reality, but if you are interested in volunteering, we'd love your help! Please email us at fractalrock2016@gmail.com and/or fill out this form!

Rewards: The hand-crafted rewards (the 3D printed models and bases) have been planned for and are already being worked on. I have also identified and vetted suppliers for the rewards that are not hand-crafted and have done careful research into shipping and material costs for all rewards. These estimates have been included in our budget calculations.

Perks
$1
USD
STAY IN THE KNOW
Thank you so much for your contribution to making this project a reality! We want to keep you in the loop and will include you in our Fractal Rock updates.
3 claimed
Estimated June 2016
Estimated June 2016
Get this perk
$10
USD
+ Shipping
POSTCARD FROM BURNING MAN
We'll send you a postcard from the Fractal Rock crew to you from the playa! We'll write you a special note thanking you for your contribution to making this happen.
3 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated September 2016
Estimated September 2016
Get this perk
$25
USD
+ Shipping
DIGITAL GOODS + STICKERS
We'd like to thank you for your support with several digital goods: 6 beautiful 3" diameter stickers, a photobook of Fractal Rock's build and installation at Burning Man, and inclusion in newsletter/updates.
9 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$75
USD
+ Shipping
POSTER + STICKERS
To you, dear backer, we will send a stunning 18"x24" poster of our sculpture, 10 Fractal Rock stickers, and all of our digital goods (VR application included).
2 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$75
USD
+ Shipping
T-SHIRT + STICKERS
Choose one of our two t-shirt designs that celebrate mathy art!
0 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$100
USD
+ Shipping
T-SHIRT + POSTER
If you love math and art, you'll love our swag. You'll get to choose one of two t-shirt designs that celebrate your appreciation for mathy art, our poster, stickers, and all of our digital goods (VR application included).
1 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$200
USD
+ Shipping
3" 3D PRINTED MODEL ON BASE
A small scale model of our sculpture, made specifically for you! This is art on its own. Our commemorative models are 3D-printed and come on an engraved acrylic base. We'll also be sending you all of our digital goods (VR application included) and 10 Fractal Rock stickers.
4 out of 100 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
SOLD OUT
$2000
USD
34" SCALE MODEL (local pickup)
This 34" (almost 3 feet tall) scale model of Fractal Rock is made of layers of wood, carefully arranged and assembled. It is glorious and inspiring, reminding us of why we decided to proceed with this crazy project to begin with. If you live in the Bay Area or can arrange for a local pick-up, we will pass on our model to you. We would also love to meet you in person, so we would love to show you our workspace and talk to you about math/art/etc. over lunch or dinner.
1 out of 1 claimed
Estimated August 2016
Estimated August 2016
Get this perk
Perks
$1
USD
STAY IN THE KNOW
Thank you so much for your contribution to making this project a reality! We want to keep you in the loop and will include you in our Fractal Rock updates.
3 claimed
Estimated June 2016
Estimated June 2016
Get this perk
$10
USD
+ Shipping
POSTCARD FROM BURNING MAN
We'll send you a postcard from the Fractal Rock crew to you from the playa! We'll write you a special note thanking you for your contribution to making this happen.
3 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated September 2016
Estimated September 2016
Get this perk
$25
USD
+ Shipping
DIGITAL GOODS + STICKERS
We'd like to thank you for your support with several digital goods: 6 beautiful 3" diameter stickers, a photobook of Fractal Rock's build and installation at Burning Man, and inclusion in newsletter/updates.
9 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$75
USD
+ Shipping
POSTER + STICKERS
To you, dear backer, we will send a stunning 18"x24" poster of our sculpture, 10 Fractal Rock stickers, and all of our digital goods (VR application included).
2 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$75
USD
+ Shipping
T-SHIRT + STICKERS
Choose one of our two t-shirt designs that celebrate mathy art!
0 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$100
USD
+ Shipping
T-SHIRT + POSTER
If you love math and art, you'll love our swag. You'll get to choose one of two t-shirt designs that celebrate your appreciation for mathy art, our poster, stickers, and all of our digital goods (VR application included).
1 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
$200
USD
+ Shipping
3" 3D PRINTED MODEL ON BASE
A small scale model of our sculpture, made specifically for you! This is art on its own. Our commemorative models are 3D-printed and come on an engraved acrylic base. We'll also be sending you all of our digital goods (VR application included) and 10 Fractal Rock stickers.
4 out of 100 claimed
Ships Worldwide
Estimated November 2016
Estimated November 2016
Get this perk
SOLD OUT
$2000
USD
34" SCALE MODEL (local pickup)
This 34" (almost 3 feet tall) scale model of Fractal Rock is made of layers of wood, carefully arranged and assembled. It is glorious and inspiring, reminding us of why we decided to proceed with this crazy project to begin with. If you live in the Bay Area or can arrange for a local pick-up, we will pass on our model to you. We would also love to meet you in person, so we would love to show you our workspace and talk to you about math/art/etc. over lunch or dinner.
1 out of 1 claimed
Estimated August 2016
Estimated August 2016
Get this perk
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