One of the overlooked goals of Burning Man, the desert festival that opens today, is that the twinned ethos of “radical self-reliance and radical self-expression” culminates in a great deal of art making. From each year’s man that goes up in flames to the dozens of other works of art that are created for the event, Burning Man is one of the larger annual art events in the United States.
There is, however, a substantial gap between what Burning Man considers art and what the art establishment thinks of as art. Some works, like Josh Haywood’s Hayam Sun Temple, could easily be erected at a museum. Others, like the Indiegogo project The Vulvatron, which the Huffington Post says will be out on the playa but Burning Man’s site does not list, would be an unlikelier fit:
The Vulvatron is an interactive, immersive mobile art environment that honors the female form using video projections, responsive LEDs, sound, and scent. Its compelling visual and interactive concepts enable a dynamic exchange of experiences between all participants. The environment responds, embraces, and transforms all who choose to interact.
The Vulvatron consists of 3 main features: The Vulva & Clitoris, The Erogenous Zone, and Mobility.
The Vulva and Clitoris
The Vulva is two 18’ tall video projection screens made of 4-way stretch fabric. Live video artists will perform projection-mapped video and multi media sets. Participants can play with a Kinect motion and proximity sensor to affect the projections. The Vulva lips are lined with RGB addressable LED strips that process the live video. The Clitoris is a 36” diameter acrylic dome lined with super-bright LED lights, hanging at the peak of the Vulva screens. When participants touch pressure sensors located inside the Erogenous Zone, both the Clitoris and the Vulva light up in programmed responsive animations.