PSYCHO-KINETIC CHILD

BURNING MAN 2013

THE CREATION

 

PSYCHOKINETIC CHILD will be a gigantic, interactive, mechanically puppeteered newborn baby's head.

Anyone may physically enter the interior space of the child's mind.

 

Psychokinesis is understood as the real or unreal act of turning unanimated matter into movement. Magicians may claim to "magically" give life to ordinary objects with the power of their mind. 'Psychokinetic Child' gives any participant the chance to become a "parent-puppeteer" magician, controlling a gigantic child's mind from within.

 

A face appears on the desert horizon, at once still, then suddenly endowed with seemingly "magic", yet in reality "mechanical" life. From this juncture-point of interactive play, I hope that deeper questions may appear in a spectator's mind. Then, once inside the hollow head, as you turn the wheels which control the head's eyes, mouth, and expressions, you are also confronted and surrounded by unsacred objects. Five interactive recycled object-shrines, each dedicated to the first objects imagined to confront a human's first awareness, psychedelically surround you.The first shrine of food. The second shrine of clothes. The third shrine of chairs. The fourth shrine of cars. The fifth shrine of phones.

 

This is the socio-cultural-stuff which even now, informs almost every-aspect-of-your-life. When will we have the opportunity to pause, just for a moment, and contemplate the impact of all of this Stuff?

How may we sense a ghost within the machine? Could an object live through us? What is a chair's will? This chair-filled sedentary lifestyle turns our bodies into the shape of a number five. This has resulted in a a national crisis of back pain. Could we say that a chair's only desire is to be sat upon? Does our clothing describe us as individuals, or convey the effect of clothing upon our culture and perceptions? We created phones and cars. Could it be argued that these objects are now creating us? Why do we rarely think about all of these objects' "invasion" of our lives? How can we truly understand ourselves and our own beings when we are covered and surrounded by so many objects?

Can we recreate the light sense of innocence and wonder that we once experienced as children, before any of these objects existed in the absolute sense? It was a time when everything-could- have-been-anything.

Some Buddhists say that "the ultimate aim of meditation is freedom from the bondage of attachment to objects". But what if these objects play such a crucial role in our day to day life, that true freedom is impossible? True to this artwork's message, we will set fire to the child's head at the close of Burning Man.

 

 

AN IMAGINED WALKTHROUGH...

 

In the desert distance you see a giant child's head. Unmoving for the moment, yet… is your mind playing tricks on you? The eyes seemed to turn toward you. Yes, indeed it's true. Your curiosity moves you. Closer. The head seems neither sad nor happy, smiling nor frowning, yet its moving eyes give the sense that it's thinking about something. Upon arriving you laugh as the lips open and close, someone is speaking this giant child's words from the inside. "Hello hello! is anyone out there? Where's my mother?!"

Towards the back of the head, a macabre stairway of spinal joints winds up the back of the head. You ascend, feeling strange to be stepping up a spine, as you reach a curious passage at the top of the scull. Descending down the hole, into the mind of the child, you're feeling the sense of upward and downward crossing of thresholds.

 

Here she is! You've found the beautiful joker who was pretending to be the voice in this head. She laughs, kisses you on the cheek, and hands the controls over to you, climbing, laughing, merrily up and out the same way you came in.

You're drawn to a curious wheel, which you turn, as a series of simple gears turn the eyes to look left and right. It's impossible to simultaneously reach the other interactive pulley. It's just too far away. Luckily another stranger, soon to be a friend, arrives, and he grins at you, while controlling another pulley. The mouth moves up and down. Both the controls are alive, and only through dual participation could it happen. We're the puppeteers… we gaze through the mouth, others are observing across the desert. But the stranger turns away, distracted. "How am I going to run this brain without you?"

 

But now you see what distracted him… down here in the depths, fifty phones absurdly covering every inch of a small wooden monument. Curious, you turn away as well, wandering to a similar pile of broken car parts. You reach out with curiosity gliding your fingers across the parts. They seem to all be covered in a smooth see through resin. It turns every busted car component into a single continuous object. There are some pillows here, so you sit down for rest, in front of another strange altar of broken chairs, all connected and covered in the same amorphous see through material. A group of people are now playing at the head's controls, and they hardly notice you as you close your eyes.

Only seconds have passed but you feel as if you've just awakened from a long dream. The sky was raining chairs. You were a child playing, strangely unafraid of the fact that chairs were falling from the sky. Each chair had burst into water like a giant raindrop at the moment that it landed upon you. The head is now filled with the light of a flood lamp. Some burners woke you up from your daze, shouting baby voices while ogling the eyes back and forth. You ascend out of the head, down lit up spinal-stairs. But as you walk away, you have an uneasy feeling as if the sky behind you might be filled with rainclouds, ready to burst into phones, wreaking havoc like giant hale on the countryside. You look back and of course you see nothing but the desert and hazy beams of light, streaming from the giant head's eyes and mouth. The enormous face in the distance somehow seems to be smiling at you. It's as if you and that enormous psychokinetic child once shared a joke together, in some other place, many years ago.