Lodestar

Submitted by Randy Polumbo

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Client: Coachella

Location: Coachella, CA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $750,000

Project Team

Artist

Randy Polumbo

Lead Fabricator

Jon Shearin

Overview

Currently installed in Bombay Beach, CA, Lodestar (2018), commissioned by the Coachella music festival in April 2018, is a 50-ft-high sculpture made from a 1940 Lockheed Lodestar WW2 military jet adorned with hand-blown glass flowers made out of mercury and silver-plated glass lit with LED lights and electronics. It is an instrument of destruction involuntarily crafted into an interactive flower. The interactive piece invites guests to act as “pollinators” by ascending through its center and into the symbolic ovule to gather, interact, and observe which they generally do at length. Taking this harrowing and constrictive journey of almost 50 vertical feet, the viewer is disoriented and confounded then sprung into an open 20-foot nest that sways uneasily. It is a dizzying experience meant to alter and confront the viewer’s expectations and perceptions.

Goals

In the summer of 2018, I re-installed Lodestar at Burning Man, an annual festival in which participants negotiate a vast desert landscape by transforming it temporarily into an ephemeral city. Burning Man started in 1986 as a small, spontaneous gathering on Baker Beach in San Francisco and continues today as a highly organized, planned, and federally permitted festival drawing 50,000+ people annually. The festival relocated to the Black Rock Desert in 1991. Burning Man serves as a model for fostering dynamic and sustainable interactions with the surrounding environment and promoting radical self-expression. Although temporary, Burning Man emphasizes adaptation to a radically hostile environment. Negotiating derelict or inhospitable environments is crucial to my work today.