I met with Jay Lincoln, a local artist and teacher at a coffee shop. He drew sketches for me and we worked on it. It was during this meeting that the project fully became collaborative.
Jay suggested adding outriggers to hold up the long spans of the branches—perhaps to appear like ladders, or if the branches touched the ground. I insisted the branches be free-standing, though … unless, of course, it proves impossible to do so. He had the idea of integrating ladders and stairs into the minor branches which would be fine by me.
Yesterday I was sure the project was completely dead. I had nobody who was helping me. I created a model and sent photos to both Antoni and Brandon and received no response at all. But today I decided I would have to do it all myself, although I figured I should find someone to help with sketches.
I have been working on some scale drawings in 2-dimensional CAD software and came up with a way to build the main branches. There would be four branches—one for each compass direction—and all of them would be similarly constructed. Alone, each would fall outward, so they would need to be tied to the mirrored pair to balance it.
The branches would be built in segments that could be prefabricated and brought to the Playa for final assembly. The assembly could be done by hand, using only simple pulleys and winches to lift the branches. By working in mirrored teams, the branches would counterbalance one another. As they are winched off the ground, the next segment could be attached, continuing in this way until they are fully hoisted into position.
I decided I needed to figure out my motivations. I wanted to see it happen, for one: I wanted to see it on the Playa at Burning Man, and see how people added their messages, and how the leaves formed, and how the lighting would transition through seasons at night, and how it would burn.
I also wanted to be able to feign humility about it, to put a positive spin on it: I'm adept at being not noticed, or at least not approached. So I want to be able to be near people who want to shower compliments and gratitude, but to do so with anonymity. It's kind of a funny motivation, but it's ultimately about trying to control having power: having the power to decide whether I accept comments like that. It's like I want some of the benefits of fame, but I want to avoid its pitfalls. I fully believe that power over other people is corruption: not that power corrupts, but that it is corruption itself. It definitely gets me into trouble because what I do, and why people are impressed with me are inexorably linked to why they like me. Wish as I might, there is no such thing as being liked for "who you are" separate from "what you do".
So I also find it frustrating to receive compliments for things I've done. If you want to see it firsthand, you can approach me after this and try it. I'll be polite but start falling down the existential rabbit hole: what am I? what have I done? everything is derivative, so what do I add? if all this that I have made is not just me, but a series of events and tremendous help from others, so what part is me?
I figure I will meet some very kind and well-meaning sadists today.