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Apex of Azure

Project Description

An interactive installation, Apex of Azure (AoA) allows viewers to walk around a dynamic painting, by using transparency, lights, and structural design. Resembling a futuristic stained-glass pyramid, AoA features 45 plexiglass panels, hand-painted in water and sky patterns with inks and epoxy. Light passes through the panels to create a multi-layered painting. Sensors, recessed LEDs,  and fire add visual effects and interactivity. 

In 2024, we're adding new interactivity features. As participants crawl inside, ultrasonic sensors activate colorful light patterns and sounds in the core. Four handprints with touch sensors invite people to activate together a fire poofer placed at the apex. Finally, blue flame effects will provide another layer of sensory and visual interactivity.

AI Illustration with flames

To withstand the winds of Black Rock City, there are entrances and cutouts in the structure, which is composed of a robust steel frame (made of 1-1.5" steel tubing anchored by 19" American Penatrators). The panels are made of 0.22" recycled plexiglass . Each of the 10 sections is divided into 4-6 panels, mounted onto the frame with a polycarbonate and an aluminum L-bracket system and plates using bolts. 

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Engineering & Construction

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This piece features relatively unexplored materials and techniques for the playa. Rather than wood or metal, the AoA uses 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. For BM 2024, I would like to use interactive lighting and flame effects to increase that feeling of immersion and wonder.

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