Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment Artist: Workinonit

Workinonit first attended Burning Man in 2006. The experience changed the way he viewed his life and what role he does or could play in the world. It opened doors to creativity though that were lost by years of inter mingling amongst the stagnating influences of the default world. Burning Man and its culture offered him a way to release his creativity and to visualize his imagination. Being a software engineer challenges his mind, but being a burner has challenged his imagination. It has since then been a passion of his to integrate both his technical skill and creative imagination. In the years since his first excursion to the playa he has dabbled in costume creation, welding, and giving to both his burner and local community through volunteering his time and effort to make this world a better place. But alas, it has not been enough. The need to participate has infected him!

The Project: The inspiration for this project began with my experience with Cubatron in 2006. It was one of the first things that truly made me pick my jaw up off of the playa and question my place in the wonderful world created by Burning Man. he intention is to take that concept to the next level and create an interactive and unpredictable light design that participants are able to meander through, the question mark of life, followed by the polar experience of then giving them the controls to alter the experience for others.

Through interaction with the art piece, they find themselves going through a series of random experiences that are generated by the lights emanating from The Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment. The experience of which will be a rite of passage in and of itself. This experience offers a reflection of the journey through life. We don’t always know where we are going, or even perhaps, from where we have come. The path is unclear, yet at times the insights along the way are profound. Our environment colors our perception, and our perception in turn illuminates the path. As we approach the curve of the question mark, it is suddenly apparent that we are not alone in our journey. Others who have navigated the Questionable Transformation, are there to help us along our way, and in turn we assist those that are waiting in the dark dusty alcove inside the question mark.

This project consists of one hundred 7.25 foot tall steel arches placed approximately 1 foot apart and arranged in a question mark shaped pattern on the playa floor. Each arch will be lined with an LED strip which holds 160 individually programmable LED lights (16,000 LEDs total) and are controlled via 4 independent wheels in the middle of the question mark’s arch. Participants will initially begin at the dot of the question mark and be presented with directions and the philosophy of the project by a podium illuminated by black lights. Participants will walk through the path of the tunnel, surrounded by the stimulation of ever changing colors and patterns of electro-luminescence. The tunnel will be an open beacon on the playa which will draw curious participants to inquire what the lights could possibly be.

There will be breaks in the tunnel every 20 feet for an easy immediate exit should it be necessary. Upon completing the 100 foot trek of the hall of lights at the top end of the question mark, participants will be faced with 4 large wheels of various sizes, ranging from 4-10 feet in diameter. Each correlate with a function of controlling the light, speed, pattern and color of the tunnel. Participants rotating the wheels provides an opportunity for them to affect the enlightenment for those walking inside.