Seattle: it’s a dark, wet, city at the top of the greater 48 states and about as far away from New York as you can get while remaining in the same country and latitude. In the default world it is famous, for coffee, black mold, Grunge Music, more mold, the Pike Place Market, tasty mushrooms, pretentious microbrews, some unidentified types of mold, and two mega corporations, one that builds computers and software and the other that builds airplanes. But there are no brand names in the burner world, there are no corporations; there are camps, and there is art, and this year Seattle’s sending out spores of both…er did I say spores? I meant SeaCORE.
Why the Freudian slips on fungus? Well, when I first got a look at the specs for the SEATTLE CORE project (SeaCORE), nicely penned up by a Seattle Burner known as Maxx Destruct, I saw perhaps my favorite thing on the planet, a mushroom. I sat down and talked with the artist for the first time at the Monday Burner Potluck after the proposal went in to BMorg, and got her input on the motivations behind the design. The sketches she showed me were strongly influenced by the artwork of Dr. Seuss, but also represented were the trees in the logo of our local burner run IGNITION NORTHWEST, the people who bring us Seacompression and Critical Massive every year as well as fund burner projects and activities in our communities on the local level.
I asked Maxx why her designs reflected the artwork of Dr. Seuss and she replied, “Because it’s playful, burners are playful.” But as the project progressed, we learned that burners aren’t just playful, they’re full of ideas and opinions. The project began to take on a life of it’s own as that original image spored and took root in the minds of the burners in the community. It began to mutate. Everyone had input, every voice was called for. There wasn’t a CORE effigee from Seattle in 2011, and many of the people working on this year’s effigee are virgins. It’s a new thing for everyone involved and as such, ideas bloomed, fluctuated, some died back, others were pruned, but new ideas sprang up in their place like a humongous fungal hydra. Massive amounts of energy were being spent researching, and theorizing, and planning; but researching and theorizing and planning for what, exactly?
The original design was for an interlocking “puzzle like” structure featuring a central “mushroom” , surrounded by clouds and trees made almost entirely out of ply-wood. There was talk of placing a hamock in the center below, and a misting system powered either by pedal bike or solar panels.
But not everyone I spoke with agreed on whether or not the misting system was a good idea. Some feared a mudfest, others feared it getting clogged with fine particles of dust. Others didn’t like the idea of hauling massive amounts of water out into deep playa to feed it. But it seemed for every non-believer in the mister there was at least one believer, and so the dream of the misting system went on. The next sketches incorporated four pine trees and a viewing platform, did the mister system survive?
Like all things, the SEACore design is still evolving. The crew has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the project which they’ve aptly named Tendrillar Woods. The latest and perhaps final incarnation appears to have trees patterend off some form of sacred geometry, and an interesting bubbly cloud viewing platform and shade structure, but the mushroom is gone and until we see it’s Seussian shadow stretching across the playa, nothing is certain for this art installation. Except, in traditional creative community fashion, that it went from being a collection of ideas from a dozen different minds into a concrete tangible form. And that’s pretty amazing when you think about it.