Temple of Incompletion

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a sculpture by Geodesic Temple at Burning Man 2018

The Temple of Incompletion is an evolution of the Temple of Forbidden Symmetry, Geodesic Temple's installation at Burning Man 2017.

Temple of Incompletion BM2018.1.jpg Temple of Incompletion BM2018.2 photo by Jane Metcalfe.jpg


A symmetrical structure made of 5 identical columns, each made of 5 identical octahedra, each made of 12 identical wooden studs and 24 identical "Simas" metal connectors stands in the desert simultaneously referencing sculpture and architecture.

The only rupture in this seemingly perfect harmony is the open wedge on one side of the structure which forbids the closing of the top and bottom crowns and impacts the radial distribution of the columns. When face-connecting 5 octahedra in a circular fashion on a plane, the small wedge that remains between the 1st and 5th octahedra makes it impossible to close the loop. This wedge is a mathematical enigma that has eluded mathematicians for millennia. It is an example of forbidden symmetry.

The Temple of Incompletion is an ode to the unsolved problems and the unanswered questions, it is a reminder that it is important for some things to remain unfinished, incomplete, open.

It is through this opening that you can enter the Temple.


Overall dimensions: 35' (Width) x 35' (Length) x 32' (Height)
Components: (25) octahedra
Weight: 6520 lbs (25 OH (kiln-dried 2x4x8 plus Simas connectors) x 160lbs = 4000 lbs) + (30 5/8” plywood x 84lbs = 2520 lbs)


Director/Exec. Producer: The Eye of Disorient
Producers: Ria R., Lowroad
BM Artery Liaison: Ria R.
Engineer Liaison: Lowroad
Assembly Leads: Ria R., Markus H. (Pinky)
Platform: Lowroad

Lights plan A (Solpix): The Eye, Matt M.
Lights plan A install Lead: Gabe
Lights plan B (LED pars): Vadim

Burn Leads: Yahel B.D., Johnny B.
Perimeter Leads: Rion F. , Rachel C. , Naim B.
Fire Safety Liaison: Sasha Kakasha
LNT Lead: Ivan F.

Tight Crew: Canaan F.R. (Nitro) , Simas B. , Marcus S. (Moses) , Randy P. (Thumper) , Yarrow D. , Anya O. (Aniutka) , Bobby. (Jizzy) , Brandon. (Bshullz) , Ian S. (Epic) , Pat S. , Asaf N. , Ray B. , Arwen B. , Nali S. , Sam M. (Crazybaby) , Marco L. , Deva. (Devastation) , Andre R. , Artem P. , Ahmad S. , John S. , you.


TOI has one quasi-pentagonal central platform made of plywood onto which burners are invited to recline. This platform makes a great stage for different kinds of performance (dance, theater, fire spinning, etc.). Squares of sand-colored material above provide some shade.

TempleOfIncompletion20180722.3.jpg TOI PLATFORM PACKING.jpg TOI column plate DETAIL.jpg TOI column plate.jpg TOI COLUMN PLATE OVERVIEW.jpg TOI COLUMN PLATE location.jpg Leg to sculpture connection.jpeg


At night one hundred and fifty individual white solar lights (Solpix) located near the nodes on the structure create a scintillating effect. Each Solpix is equipped with solar panel, battery, light sensor and 6 LEDs pointing in 2 directions. Each Solpix works independently. There is no physical connection between Solpixes and no external power is required to run the lights.


TOI will be burned at 1am Saturday September 1st.

The radius of the perimeter will be 120' and will require a crew of 55, that's 1 person every 15' plus 4 quadrant leads.

Burn plan:
- Build 3 "log cabin" style triangle fires under corners of the structure/platforms
- Smaller burn structures on first level, inside structure:
- If we arrange some of the 2x4s raised above the base fires, either on platforms or around structural sides in a conical hourglass structures we can put smaller fuel in the vertexes to help the fire burn towards the higher platforms.
- Drilling a few holes in the plywood will allow airflow for heat/fire to travel
- Ropes will be used to help fire travel and provide additional fuel/heat at structural points (natural fiber) pending approval from FAST team
- Ropes will be fueled using diesel gas, wicked upwards into the structure
- Ropes from the top down through both platforms into the base fire to basically run the fire straight up, creating a fire chimney
- Rope will be wrapped beams to move the fire vertically
- Rope will be wrapped around intersections to add fuel and heat, ideally to weaken the structure in a targeted fashion
- To be sourced on west coast:
3-5 sawdust fireballs will ignite the burn remotely using e-matches
5 gallon plastic bucket with gunpowder charge, filled with sawdust, tamped down
Sawdust is ejected and ignited by gunpowder charge
Burns very hot/fast as sawdust is aerosolized

TOI BURN PLAN V1 DETAIL.jpg TOI BURN PLAN v1.jpg TOI Burn Perimeter July9 2018.jpg TOIperimeterTshirt.png File:Open burn lanyard.pdf

Home Depot List



Assembly sequence: Top-down (similar to geodesic dome) using crane (see assembly sequence drawing)
3D model: TempleOfIncompletion20180119.skp
Animation: TBA
Reference: Forbidden crystal symmetry in mathematics and architecture

Additional Drawings

TOI 20180802.1.jpg TempleOfIncompletion20180722.1.jpg TempleOfIncompletion20180722.2.jpg

GeoTem TOI Banner 20180803 825px.jpg


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