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A Light-Bending 'Pulse Portal' Welcomes Burners to Black Rock City

This is the interdimensional portal the Playa deserves.
August 31, 2016, 6:45pm
Rending of Pulse Portal. Images courtesy the artist

A photo posted by Victoria (@meyersdesigns) on

Aug 29, 2016 at 1:05pm PDT

Like a window to another dimension, a giant effervescent archway is coming to the Nevada desert. All visitors bring a contribution to the isolated desert bachannal, and self-taught Chicago artist Davis McCarty's is Pulse Portal, a massive crystalline structure that that makes even the sober viewer question reality.

The Pulse Portal is made from dichroic filters, a perfect physical and ideological match for Burning Man. An integral part of both centuries-old craft traditions, as well as the experimental practices of artists like Liz West and Stephen Knapp, the material mirrors the festival's twin connections to the simplicity of past nomadic cultures and the best technology the future has to offer. Visually, the acrylic transforms depending on the light and its position in space, so the desert's drastic differences between day to night will bring out the full depth of the installation. "It's a lot like Schrödinger's cat. The material is in two states at once and it doesn't decide until you look at it," McCarty explains to The Creators Project. "I chose this material because it is the closest thing to an atomic probability cloud I have found on earth." The filters' multifaceted appearence is a succinct metaphor for the tranformation Burners create in the "temporary autonomous zone" that is Black Rock City.

McCarty and a team of 24 have put a combined 1,500 hours of work into designing and constructing the Pulse Portal since January, funded by the prestigious Burning Man Honoraria Grant. The curving architecture of the installation is modular, allowing for 20 different arrangements. The structure can also fold flat for easy transportation to the desert—but he plans to take it even further. "I would love to see this work go from the Playa to Art Basel and beyond," McCarty says. "I think a modern building's lobby would be a perfect fit for this type of elegant sculpture, too." No matter the location, the Plus Portal will undoubtedly to draw plenty of interdimensional travelers willing to step through.

Check out more of Davis McCarty's work on his website.


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