Temple of Forbidden Symmetry

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A sculpture by Geodesic Temple at Burning Man 2017

A symmetrical structure made of 5 identical columns, each made of 4 identical octahedra, each made of 12 identical wooden studs and 24 identical "Simas" metal connectors stands in the desert simultaneously referencing sculpture and ritual architecture.

The only rupture in this seemingly perfect harmony is the open wedge at the top of the structure which forbids the closing of the highest ring 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 Forbidden Symmetry 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, imperfect, open.

Director: The Eye
Producers: The Eye, Justin D.
Lights and Electronics design: Justin D.
Assembly: Ria, Justin, Raffi, Pat, Thumper, Nali, Jane, Space Hippy, Connor, Arturo, Kevin, Moses, Jared, Andy

Overall dimensions: 35' (Width) x 35' (Length) x 26' (Height)
Components: (20) octahedra, uses wood and connectors from Geodesic Temple container on playa
Assembly sequence: using crane (see assembly sequence drawing below)
3D model: TempleOfForbiddenSymmetry_BM2017.skp
Animation: TempleOfForbiddenSymmetry20170609.mp4
Reference: Forbidden crystal symmetry in mathematics and architecture

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