a sculpture by Geodesic Temple at Burning Man 2019
The Temple of Brad Pitt channels the famous Hollywood actor. It captures Brad Pitt’s aura, extracts the essence of his being through data gathering and redisplays it as a performative sculpture enabling Burning Man 2019 participants who enter a special apparatus to briefly experience what it is to be him.
The Temple of Brad Pitt (TOBRIT) is composed of 4 distinct elements representing 4 distinct states of transformation nested into each other much like Matryoshka dolls.
A 40ft. tall structure made of several identical octahedra. Following Geodesic Temple’s design principles, this structure is the central architectural element of the Temple and visually defines it.
The main feature inside TOBRIT, this semi-private chamber serves as preamble and waiting room to the Ark. It can hold a dozen people and is a receptacle for offerings. (Some believe that the grander the offering, the fuller the ensuing bradpittization.) On the walls inside the Purgatory hieroglyphic parables about Brad Pitt and the process of becoming him guide the attentive players through the metamorphoses.
A metal vessel designed to host only one person at a time hovers inside the Purgatory. Entering the Ark is the next step toward becoming Brad Pitt. Although it is possible to experience some level of bradpittization anywhere inside the Temple, players are encouraged to deposit their bodies inside the Ark for best results. Make sure you lift the Veil before positioning yourself inside the Ark.
Designed to host the head of the person inside the Ark, this exiguous space is the theatre of the second metamorphosis. It is recommended to stay there about one minute (do not look at your watch). A place to quiet the mind and expand consciousness; to let go and explore the infinite within. The place for enhanced bradpittization, the Encephalus is where most players will experience the deepest sense of being Brad Pitt. The most sacred space of the Temple. Pro tip: lift the Veil as you enter the Encephalus.
Playing along with the Metamorphoses theme of this year’s event, TOBRIT addresses questions of presentation and interpretation of data as well as the role of belief in the transformation of self.
The piece offers two distinct metamorphoses.
First, the visual metamorphosis of information takes data from one state of representation to another. Concatenated through different filters (iterative process), different output streams (generative design), the same data produces different results. One is the existing primary source (Brad Pitt himself) from which the data is extracted, the other is the sculpture which is constructed based on data collected from the primary source.
Secondly, the ontological metamorphosis, experienced by individuals entering the Temple and positioning their physical bodies inside the Ark, leaving their own selves to become Brad Pitt for a few seconds of eternity.
The interactive dimension of the sculpture resides in the realization of one’s interdependence with the piece: to get something out, you must first put something in. In other words, you have to believe. The player needs to travel through the four nested elements of the sculpture (Temple, Purgatory, Ark, Encephalus) to complete her metamorphosis into Brad Pitt. The installation is transformative and performative, to be played like an instrument and, as such, is a metaphor for Burning Man itself.
- Recognize that a sense of being Brad Pitt will meet the user willfully entering this sacred space with openness, determination and conducive intentions.
- Relax when you stand inside the Ark.
- Quiet your mind when inside the Encephalus.
- Stay in the Encephalus until you stop being aware that you are in the Encephalus at which point your bradpittization will likely have taken place.
- Speak loudly inside the Temple.
- Disturb the bradpittization in progress.
- Expect a figurative representation of Brad Pitt.
TOBRIT projects the visitor inside the aura of the actor, allowing her to experience Mr. Pitt from within, what it feels like to be him, what it means to be Brad Pitt.
Data gathered from a variety of sources linked to the actor’s life such as, psychological profile, names of characters he portrayed in movies, astrological theme, face recognition parameters, etc. are fed to the AI engine to help determine the physical characteristics of TOBRIT through generative design and a recursive process.
Positioned at the intersection of science and alchemy, mysticism and mathematics, physics and spirituality, TOBRIT embarks on the courageous task of opening a door of perception for the player, and provides a download that, once experienced, cannot be forgotten.
Just as in the age of mechanical reproduction only the aura of the artwork remains as Walter Benjamin argued, TOBRIT points at a not-so-distant future when its aura is the only remaining sign that humanity as we know it ever existed. The human race, dematerialized, reshuffled, is not eliminated but perpetually rehashed.
TOBRIT, an example of meta-metaphore, provides the user with access to an instance of this state of perpetual transformation. The little that seems possible to us today is trivial achievement in the grand scheme of things. Everything is possible. The key is inside each and every one of us. Go for it!
TOBRIT's pop reference stands-out in the midst of the overt and increasingly hypocritical "love" culture. We think of it as counter-counter-culture, a revival experiment that doesn't actually lead you back to a place experienced before.
Consciously not participating in the LED arms-race that we are witnessing on the playa we are partisan of a less-is-more and greener approach. To that end we are using an evolution of our wholesome Solpix v.0.3, the distributed solar lighting system used on Temple of Incompletion at Burning Man 2018.
Striving for striking subtlety, our color palette only consists of a few white temperatures including Soft White (2700K – 3000K), Bright White/Cool White (3500K – 4100K) and Daylight (5000K – 6500K).
￼Director/Exec. Producer: The Eye of Disorient
Producer: Ria R.
Producer (Purgatory): TBA
Metal Fabrication (Ark, connectors): Simas
BM Artery Liaison: Ria R.
Engineer Liaison: TBA
Assembly Leads: Pinky, Ria R.
Face/emotion recognition, generative design, Encephalus input/output: Nick C.
Lights: Solpix v.0.3 evolution
Design: The Eye
Electronics: Matt M.
Burn Lead: Johnny B.
Perimeter Lead: Naim B. (TBC)
Fire Safety Liaison: Sasha K. (TBC)
LNT Lead: Ivan F. (TBC)
Crew: TBA, you.