We were finally able to start buillding the 1:1 sized model over the weekend. Here's how it looked like!
How to turn your craziest ideas into something artistic and functional? How to design something that you put together over 8000km away, from materials you order online? These are some of the challenges we have been wondering for the last few weeks. In this blog post you can see how our concepts are becoming a reality as we have four weeks before the construction starts at Reno.
Blending simple & natural elements and modern technology seems to take us forward all the time. Here on the left you can see a rough prototype we came up with in order to get ideas for the structure of the pike head. We then decided to stop thinking that we can beat evolution and took a real pike head into a 3D scanner, which eventually led to an executable 3D model.
Another example is the exterior for our installation. We had a range of ideas and suggestions for different materials and designs that we had been discussing for weeks, but once we started experimenting with samples and prototypes, it all came together. First it was a pile of strips of cardboard, and at the end of the evening, we had tried out the shape with plywood and applied a cardboard sample into a 1:5 size model of the whole structure.
Drawing sketches and throwing around ideas is important but for us results have been happening when we can see and feel the materials and try them out on rough prototypes. Of course this comes as no news to design-minded individuals like you, but in a large project like this where time is limited and tasks are divided, it is especially hard to get everyone in on the process of turning ideas into prototypes. For us the bi-weekly meetings have been essential, as everyone turns up there ready to work and brainstorm.
Next up, we are really going to bring the pike to life as we start designing lighting, sounds and of course the instruments inside. Now that we have (literally) slain the pike, we can turn its head into a Kantele just like in the Kalevala songs.
A lot has been going on and it has been difficult to keep up with the pace. The team has been meeting on a steady pace on every Tuesday and Thursday, but as the project will proceed further, it is most likely that we have to increase the pace. The piece that the group will deliver will be a pike head with a kantele in its mouth, inspired by the Finnish national epic Kalevala.
Because we did not just want our pike to be a simple fish, but we wanted it to sing, it was natural to invite the most traditional Finnish kantele manufacturer, Koistinen Kantele to join the project.
We were extremely happy when father and son Koistinen said yes to the project and they will join us in Black Rock City this year. Hannu Koistinen, the CEO of Koistinen Kantele, has decades of experience in building kantele’s and while doing so he has reinvented the whole instrument by starting to manufacture the world’s first electric kantele’s. The family business could be described as the Stradivarius of kantele.
Hannu Koistinen’s son, Anttu, 22, is very experienced kantele player and we hope that he will get the possibility to introduce kantele to the bigger crowd at the Burning Man event by performing on various stages and events within the Burning Man event.
We also got great news from the US. The Reno Generator finally confirmed that we could build our piece there before the event. This was a great relief for the entire group, as the piece could not be delivered to the playa unless we got a place to build in the US. Shipping the piece was out of question as it would had taken 2 months from us and was impossible in terms of our schedule.
We are now on a good roll with finally getting the concept ready within the upcoming days and hopefully will be able to begin our build next week.
More update to follow a bit more often.
Aalto on Fire - Refinement
We continue working on the concept of our art installation that Aalto students and affiliates plan to deliver to Burning Man this August. Project submission deadline is coming upon us, and there’s a lot of work ahead. Yet we are not afraid of challenges. Instead, we are getting more and more excited about the project. Our team is growing and welcomes new people with very special skills. On Thursday we gathered at ADF once again for our refinement workshop. Inspired by Kalevala stories we are striving to share the ancient knowledge of Finland with the Burning Man community this year. Going through the journey of Väinämöinen we chose to recreate one of the Kalevala Runos.
Reina created a beautiful piece for our concept:
“At night, it transforms into a crazy party fish, being lit up with colorful lamps/LEDs powered by solar/wind energy collected during the day. Time for a fish rave” – comments Reina
Stay tuned for more updates.
Last weekend Aalto Design Factory was turned upside down once again and played host to the first Aalto on Fire Art Installation workshop. We gathered 20 amazingly creative and exceptionally talented individuals – artists, engineers and business students - who didn’t mind dedicating their entire Saturday to the project.
We aimed at an event, which would inspire creative collaboration to enable people to get a taste of Burning Man community. Gladly, our participants started to share their inspirations to our Pinterest board way before the workshop. It was so encouraging to see that folks already have a vision of what they want to bring to the project.
In order to get to know each other, we started from a short introduction. Our organizer Andrew took the lead. He is an experienced teacher and his job is to help youngsters to express their creativity. To tune in such a mixed team, he has used his “Giraffe and a tree” method. The backbone of this method is draw a giraffe and a tree, where spots on the giraffe represent personal skills and the tree depicts goals that one wants to achieve participating in Aalto on Fire. The exercise was very useful in the sense that each participant was able to communicate his or her own involvement in a creative manner. It also helped the organizers build a greater unity within a group and to discover our known and unknown skills we had at our disposal. See our giraffe farm here:
After having a good laugh at our giraffe farm we realized – it is happening. From that moment we were a tribe, we were together and there was no way back. We are ready to move on to our next stage - ideation. Andrew passed the ball to our engineering guru Peter. Peter coaches Aalto PDP students and knows everything about prototyping. He leads the technical part of the project. Peter prepared an ideation exercise, the aim of which was to create something great within a group. At first we were given 15 minutes to sketch the installation based on the guiding principles of the Burning Man community. Then, we formed pairs to share and combine our drafts. Not much to our surprise, several people had similar ideas, and started building upon them. At the final stage we formed larger combined groups and prepared the final concept. Each project, although shaped in a different manner, represented the spirit of Burning Man and Aalto University – gathering - unity - collaboration.
The rest of the day we were busy shaping our ideas into a physical prototypes and figuring out technical details. The installation must comply with the Burning man guidelines, e.g. be technically safe, interactive, use technology in a creative manner, sustainable and preferably burnable. At the end of the workshop we had 3 solid projects/prototypes, each made with excitement and joy. Which one will make it to the Burning Man? Follow up our Facebook group for the latest updates.
When work comes with a sense of satisfaction and good results, there’s always room for celebration… so we did so with a traditional Finnish grill and sauna.
“What can be better than having a barbeque on a sunny day, especially after the great work is done?”
We are happy to announce that we got two great additions to the Aalto on Fire project team! Artists Alvar Gullichsen and Klaus Nyqvist will be joining the project. Both of the artists have extensive experience building large-scale installations.
We also got guidelines from the Burning Man Organisation about how to deal with corporate sponsors. We are happy to know that corporate sponsors are acceptable in our case as they would then support us and Aalto University, not Burning Man. This helps us a lot when raising funds for the project and making it hopefully more affordable for the participants.
We are happy to announce that our friends from the United States agreed to accept us in their camp previously known as Fear and Cuddling in Black Rock City. This year the idea is to have a camp consisting mostly of Nordic nationalities and therefore the name of the camp will probably be changing.
The camp can accommodate up to 25-30 Burners under the shaded structure of the camp in total of about 300 square meters. We can also include a couple of camper vans / recreational vehicles at the camp.
Other amenities of the camp will feature a living room with multiple sofas and a soundsystem, a kitchen, water deliveries and most likely a shower and a private porta potty.
Every year thousands of people buy a cheap bike for Burning Man and then throw it away after one week of use. Needless to say that this is not very sustainable way to get around on the Playa.
Loop Cycles is a project where the the bicycles used at Burning Man will gain a new life in the hands of those in need in Namibia after they have served their purpose on the Playa.
Aalto on Fire just ordered 20 Loop Cycles bikes on a special price including a basket and a lock for those who will join the project.
For more information, check out: https://www.loopcycles.org/