Cosmic Voyager

Submitted by Martin Taylor

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Client: Burning Man

Location: Black Rock City, NV, United States

Completion date: 2018

Project Team

Client

Burning Man Arts Foundation

Burning Man Arts Foundation

Overview

Cosmic Voyager combines the ancient mytheme of the “Cosmic Turtle,” carrying the world on its back, with reflective futuristic design reminiscent of a “Spaceship Earth” traveling through space. The sculpture provides both an immersive space for people to congregate and get “beamed up” and an enchanting “star map” to be appreciated from afar. Cosmic Voyager is constructed from laser-cut polished stainless steel bent into a polygonal swimming sea turtle. A futuristic city rises from within the turtle’s body into an acrylic skylight dome above. Participants can walk underneath this majestic spaceship-like creature and peer upwards into the city within.

Goals

Cosmic Voyager was designed to be displayed for long periods of time in outdoor public settings, requiring a design that was weatherproof and resistant to climbing and vandalism. Furthermore, the sculpture was designed to reflect external light during the day and emit its own light at night. The sculpture used an innovative stainless steel sheet metal design to create a corrosion proof form that emitted light from its laser cut perforations.

Process

The project was funded by a grant from the Burning Man Foundation. Martin Taylor led the project and worked with a diverse team of collaborators to create the sculpture. Colin Bowring, a 3D animator, modeled the turtle’s form. The futuristic world contained under the turtle’s dome was designed by architect Jamie Marchini and animator Conor Molinare. Martin designed and fabricated the internal structural frame that supports the 1,500-pound turtle and used parametric design software to create the laser-cut stainless steel plates.