An art installation for Burning Man 2015

Philosophical statement

We go from place to place, often for the sole purpose of getting there. We work, expend energy and intellect, just to get where we're going. Often we wind up not far form where we were, but transformed by the journey rather than the destination. It was the work that mattered, and the experience on the way.

The journey on the bridge starts easily, and gets more crowded and convoluted across the path. The transformative moment signals the change; traversing the unsettling twist puts one truly on the other side of the journey. At the end, we can view the journey as an accomplishment on its own. It's a solo endeavour, made easier with the help of others on the same path, and done in the midst of those who have made the same journey, and those who may be willing to take it on.

On the way, we fight the elements as well. The bridge, totally suspended save for its endpoints, will move with the exertions of others, and with the wind and elements. It is a small struggle with rewards, pushing ourselves to achieve the goal and overcome the obstacles to come out the other side.

Work must be done. Rewards are reaped with the accomplishment of investment.

Project description

The bridge structure itself is fully suspended from tall 6x6 masts, which loom high above. The mouths of the bridge are anchored tightly to the ground. The bridge itself, composed of suspended planks of wood (2x4), extends from wide mouths through a wicked S-curve. In the center of the bridge the flat planks perform a half-twist, Mobius-style, on which the traveller must negotiate an edge of the bridgework, using the hanging ropes and hands of her fellows for stability. On crossing the twist, the traveller will find herself truly on the other side of the bridge, where she will complete her journey through the other symmetrical side. The wind may wreak some havoc with the traveller on her journey across as well.

The planks are suspended from the masts by numerous ropes. The juxtaposition of curved contours and linear planks and ropes make for a compelling silhouette. The curves themselves are organic, and provide very differnt shapes from different viewing angles. The ropes are attached to planks with a strong, metal-free design.

The masts are 6x6 posts, buried into the playa and guyed down for stability and safety. The suspension ropes are likely to be attached to steel rings capping the masts. The masts must be strongly coupled at their joins, likely with 2x6 cladding and tongue-in-groove construction. (The original proposal specified curved metal trusswork from which the bridge was suspended, but this has proven costly and the stability was uncertain. The masts are a fine replacement, and burnable to boot.)

Beneath the bridge, most of which is suspended above head-height, is a light garden. Seating around the mast bases and LED lights will feature, where others can gather, take small shelter form the wind, and enjoy the serenity of a transformative achievement. Other artists will have the opportunity to display smaller sculptures below as well. We are also considering artful shade structures for daytime relief, and monitored burn barrels for warmth at night.

Viewed during the day, the bridge presents a visually appealing curved shape composed of straight lines. The twist has a functional purpose as well, that of preventing bikes from recklessly plowing into unsuspecting burners. At night, the bridge is lit with animated LED lights and the garden below. The suspension lines may be lit as well. Guy lines must be lit at their bases.

A small powerhouse is erected to the side, housing a generator providing power to the lights. It is ventilated but otherwise sound-shielded to minimize the noise of the generator. We are also considering a solar-battery component as a nice-to-have, but this much light gets power-hungry. Trenches will conceal power cables in conduit.

More to come

Watch this space for more information and updates! We'll turn this site into a working blog, to provide updates on the build progress. We'll also begin taking donations--a thing this ambitious isn't cheap.

We'll also be looking for more crew, both pre-build and on-site! A thing this ambitious also doesn't build itself.

In the meantime, contact Trevor, the project lead, at for more information.