The Pulse Cube

by Mark Donovan

 

The inspiration for this piece was a series of  “light objects” that the collective Numen/For Use created several years ago culminating in a cube that “breathed” on exhibit in the Rizzordi Art Foundation, St Petersburg Russia, in 2011.

The Pulse Cube. Photo by Mark Donovan

The Pulse Cube. Photo by Mark Donovan

I saw a video clip of the cube and knew right away that it would be at home on the playa. I have done quite a bit of woodworking, but never ventured into the world of purely aesthetic art before. My struggle is not the creative aspect of purely aesthetic art, but the making of things that have no real function (Engineer, sorry!). My curiosity was piqued when I attended my first burn last summer with Camp Tsunami and the Desert Wizards of Mars and was blown away by some of the art there. Even more inspiring were the reactions and interactions that people seemed to be having while looking at it all.

When Rachel Willman mentioned BEquinox and the LA League of Arts grants my thoughts immediately turned back to the exhibit. It would be a really fun and challenging build… this could be the perfect opportunity to make something unique for a community that would appreciate it, and contribute to the making of some good memories in the community.

The Pulse Cube by Mark Donovan

The Pulse Cube by Mark Donovan

It was inspiring to see the way people’s eyes lit up and to hear the exclamations of excitement and surprise to one another as they poked and prodded the sides and watched the pattern change inside the cube. One of the best things about the weekend for me was watching people transition from a fast walk to slow their pace as they drew nearer the cube, then stop altogether, then circle back to walk 360 degrees around it with a big smile on their face. Talking to them and hearing their impressions and their personal stories was easily the most fulfilling part of the weekend.

We liked the interaction with the people and the interesting conversations that the piece helped precipitate, and were happy with how quick the setup was. We did learn, however, that we should have built the sides of the cube a little bit sturdier; a few nights of exposure to the forgetful muscles of the occasional inebriate took their toll and we had a few cracks that will need to be repaired if it is to make its way to burning man this year! The hydraulic system that was designed to flex the sides of the cube did not move them as much as we anticipated, either, and there are already plans in the for a design that will have a larger range of motion while preventing accidental damage to the piece this summer. Hope to see you out there!

—  Charles White introduces The Pulse Cube, Mars Rover Art Car, and Black Rock Observatory.