Apex of Azure
An interactive installation planned for Burning Man 2023, Apex of Azure (AoA) allows viewers to walk around a dynamic painting, by using transparency, lights, and structural design.
The installation features a pyramid-like structure made of triangular plexiglass panels that resemble futuristic stained glass. Each panel is painted with alcohol inks (isopropyl-based pigments) depicting water and sky. Light passes through the panels to create a multi-layered painting. A beacon shines through the apex at night.
Ten triangular sections each feature linear and organic laser cutouts in the plexi that allow light through. While from afar, the structure looks like a pyramid, from above and up close, it resembles an "x". Openings in the middle provide access inside the structure, offering another spatial and visual perspective. At night, each section will be backlit along its borders with LEDs. During the day, the sun passes through, casting colored shadows and cutout patterns on the ground.
To withstand the winds of Black Rock Desert, each section features linear and organic cutouts, as well as entrances on each side of the pyramid. The plexiglass is 0.22” thick - strong enough to resist significant impact from humans. Each section will be divided into smaller plexiglass panels for easier assembly and transport. The support frame is made of square 12 gauge 1” tubing, cut and welded to fit the shape of each section. Base plates are welded to the bottom of the frames and have holes drilled for ground anchors (10” American penetrators for example); there will be two anchored base plates per each section’s frame.
Engineering & Construction
This piece features relatively unexplored materials and techniques for the playa. Rather than wood or metal, the piece utilizes inks, plexiglass, and the bright light of the desert (or LEDs) to depict water and sky; these fluid and shapeless elements are contained within the pyramid, but are not limited by its shape thanks to the panels’ transparency. As a result, viewers can get lost in the paintings visually the way we sometimes lose ourselves while swimming, or walking through a beam of sunlight.