The Chilopod

by Lawrence Grown

CA

About the Project

The Chilopod [ky-lo-pod] is an interactive, biomorphic structure that will premiere at Burning Man 2018 and will continue living as a sculpture in Bay Area public spaces afterwards. An artificially intelligent, insect-like creature, it will be brought to life with human touch and sound. It is designed to evoke a living organism, in order to remind us of our integration with the natural world rather than our superiority to it.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

The Chilopod is 18 feet tall, 30 feet wide, 55 feet long, and build mostly of wood. A central spine rises from the ground and curls over like the midrib of a leaf. From the spine extend 13 pairs of legs, 24" apart at the spine, and 48" apart at the ground. The spine is also a single lane walkway, with a climbing ladder that leads to a platform and a slide.

LED lights animate the Chilopod. Inside, white lights branch out into lung shapes, then recede, and "breathe" again. Additional lights suggest the circulation of blood and the movement of energy. The external lighting patterns morph over time like the skin of a chameleon. The lights illuminating the Chilapod respond to touch and sound from people and the environment, creating an interactive experience for visitors.

PROJECT PHILOSOPHY

Imagine waking up in a house that reminds you what it means to be a human animal, part of the natural world on this planet. The Chilopod structure feels familiar like a house under construction, yet its complex organic nature helps to connect you to the earth.

The Chilopod reminds us that even the smallest of bugs is important in the balance of life. When we feel ourselves in harmony with nature, and recognize that all living systems are connected, it no longer makes sense to pollute the life support system that sustains us. We see a hopeful future where we are at one with a healthy planet and the living structures we inhabit.

WHY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT

Art is the best form of ourselves: the creative, the curious, and the playful. Through art we manifest the mystery and magic in each of us, both the creators and the receivers. Art engages in pure creativity, whether spiritual, social, political, or personal. Donating to the arts builds a community in which we are all artists, engaging in self expression regardless of financial concerns.

Support the Chilopod to bring positive change to the world, to support innovation, collaboration and community building. Support this project to support organic architecture and interactive experiential art. Support the Chilopod to participate in its creation. Support the Chilopod because it is amazing!

THE CHILOPOD REQUIRES FUNDING

Creating a large work of art and moving it from place to place requires a lot of resources. The following are some of the components.

- Construction materials and tools, 50% - LEDs and technology, 35% - Overhead (rent, insurance, transportation and storage)15%

The Chilopod spine will be made of two parallel tube steel columns, bolted to the playa with earth anchors.

The legs will be built-up wood construction: e.g. two layers of 2x8 construction lumber sandwiching a plywood core. Connection points will be plywood and steel.

This structure will be solid, thanks to the collaborative structural geniuses of RBHU Engineering Imagination.

The LED systems architecture will be a laptop running Touch Designer, PixLite controllers, and APA102 addressable LED strips, in case you like technical details.

Donations through Hatchfund are tax deductible, so make your contribution today!

THE CHILOPOD TEAM

Lawrence Grown 

"I'd been looking for a group of collaborators to create large scale organic structures, and in the Burning Man community, I've found a family who is ready to work together to make this dream a reality." It’s this passion for producing biomorphic interactive installation art that led Lawrence to establish TeamEmbrio. Lawrence’s background is in organic architecture. He studied at the University of Cincinnati and worked for Michael Reynolds, Eugene Tssui, and others before founding the custom fabrication company Metro Lighting in 1993. In 2012, he founded the West Berkeley Design Loop, a design district and business association, of which he is the executive director.

Herbert Diamant 

Herbert Diamant is a professional computer systems engineer. He specializes in getting technology of different vintages and scales to work together in challenging environments. He’s worked on everything from Macs (back when they were black and white) to JAVA Enterprise applications and data analytics that help keep BART trains on time, and big events like museum exhibits and live music productions. More important than the technology, Herb has experience creating a playful and cooperative environment where people can do their best work and have fun while doing it. He has the resourcefulness to meet the challenges of the Playa, starting by not underestimating its challenges.

Rob Carpenter

Rob is an engineer, juggler, musician, healer, and long-time burner with a knack for wires, numbers, machines, body-energetics, silly songs, crossword puzzles, sudokus, and LED-lit night juggling balls. Over the past 35 years he's designed countless computer video, graphics and camera products. He has appeared in many Renaissance fairs, parades and Burning Man events as an itinerant juggler and dixieland trumpet player. He also has a strong affinity for pizza.

 

Kristi McKenney

Kristi McKenney first attended Burning Man in 2016 and was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer on the Sonic Runway project and join the Aqua Zone Healing Oasis Camp. These experiences created an instant love of the community and artistic creation of Burning Man. Diving in deeper each year, Kristi was excited by the vision of the Chilopod and was happy to join the amazing team creating this creature. Kristi spends her days managing complex airport operations and enjoys transferring this knowledge to support Burning Man artists like Lawrence.

Thelma Lee Gross 

 

Tee is very visual and easily excited. So you can imagine her reaction the first time she saw the Playa. She felt that same buzz when she first saw the Chilopod animation video. Originally from the Midwest, Tee loves living in a gorgeous, multicultural city like San Francisco with her little terrier, Marley. A veterinary pathologist and scientific writer by trade, Tee loves cooking and preserving as well as trying new dishes (fried grasshoppers, anyone?); gardening and touring gardens; and singing and sound healing. In her spare time she volunteers for Foodrunners in SF, a nonprofit organization that moves food from areas of excess to areas of need.

 

Galen Alexander

Galen attended Burning Man for the first time in 2015, where he was immediately bitten by the creation bug. He has been participating in large scale art projects like the Gummy Bear Pyramid ever since. At his public relations day gig, he helps companies and nonprofits share their stories effectively. In 2016, Galen fled D.C. for sunny California, after spending a decade in political communications, fundraising, and policy positions. He’s using what he learned in the non-Playa world to fundraise for the Chilopod.

Diana Sanchez, PhD

 Dr. Sanchez is an Assistant Professor in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program in the College of Science and Engineering at San Francisco State University. She is leveraging her PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University to keep the Chilopod team cohesive and on-track. Her applied experience has included over a decade of experience in human resource management, project management, and human capital consulting. She currently researchs technology innovation and implementation, specifically looking at how organizations can integrate technological solutions to help manage personnel.

Igor Dulkin

Circus artist and computer engineer, Igor likes to make lights display all sorts of pretty colors and is always trying to put LEDs on anything he can. He has created several LED flowtoys, as well as smaller scale installations and personal lighting devices. He was last in BRC in 2015, when he built lighting for the theme camp Temple of Fluff.

Dan Lockwood

Dan Lockwood first attended Burning Man in 2001 and has been every year since. He is hoping to extend his 17-year streak to at least 20 continuous years. Dan is also a founding member of Camp Bojon. Over the years, Dan has built a variety of Playa projects including Big Brother, Pulsar and the art car Sil-vi.

 

Zach Whitaker

Zach is owner and Creative Director at Zalt Function. Before opening up his own fabrication house, Zack worked successfully across his native Bay Area in roles as widely varied as large-scale project management for Scientific Art Studio, Lead Auto Technician, logistics management for Burning Man Department of Public Works, and Event Chef. He is a connected problem solver and artist experienced in all aspects of large and small productions. If he is not working on his own art, Zack is busy threading a Mustang up an elevator shaft or making a sixteen-foot topless Monkey sculpture with epaulets.

Ria Aguirre

Ria is a junior industrial design student with a minor in business studying at San Jose State University. She's passionate about creating design solutions that are practical, functional, and enjoyable. 

Sonia Trujillo 

Sonia is a Junior Designer at an architecture firm, Studio KDA, in Berkeley, California. For the Chilopod team, Sonia has been putting her efforts into 3d modeling and will soon be working on the construction drawings for the Chilopod. She completed her Bachelors of Architecture at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo in the spring of 2017 where she was able to explore design-related hobbies such as welding, woodworking, and furniture design. 

Wesley Hale 

Wesley Hale is a graduate student studying Psychology and really passionate about cultivating experiences that reveal connection, self-discovery, and a greater understanding of life. The Chilopod art project will his first art project for Burning Man and 2018 will be his first burn ever! He is drawn to the project because of the integration of interactive components to bring the giant insectoid creature to life. “The connection that can come from seeing a giant visionary creature respond to one's presence will surely be mind-expanding,” he says. Wesley will primarily focus on data entry and file management--keeping the team organized.