Ellipse

by Drew Huening

Awarded $500

From a distance, the structure is low slung and flat. On approach, Participant sees two symmetrically curved walls. The walls point toward each other, almost making an oval shape, but interrupted in the middle by a pass through that acts as entry/exit. Entering the structure, Participant realizes the walls’ interior surfaces is made of dozens of flat wall mirrors.

DAY MODE (Lakes of Fire)
With just a few steps, Participant sees reflections of themselves and compatriots. A few steps in any direction shifts the reflections, re-reflections, re-re-reflections, and so on. Participant and compatriots are confronted with a hall of mirrors that provides opportunity for open ended kaleidoscopic play. After 1 minute or 2, Participant realizes that there’s a pattern to the structure and its many reflections. At this point, Participant might see one of two flat platforms near center of each structure half. On each platform are painted foot marks, implying the position and direction Participant and a Compatriot should stand.

After a minute or two of experimentation, the full effect is achieved:

Participant stands on one platform, Compatriot on another. Participant is surrounded by reflections of Compatriot. Moreso, Participant can see ALL of Compatriot: some mirrors show Compatriot in profile from the left, others show Compatriot in profile from the right. Staring straight ahead, Participant can see Compatriot’s front, but also Compatriot’s back.

Compatriot has the visa versa experience, seeing all of Participant.

NIGHT MODE
(Burning Man, possibly Lakes of Fire as well) Participant enters and detects mirrors, using cues from ambient light, head lamps, glow, etc. There is opportunity for kaleidoscopic play, but it is limited, for a few reasons.

  1. It’s dark
  2. Half of the structure is cordoned off
  3. In the other structure half, there is a glowing button on a waist-high pedestal, commanding attention.

On approach the waist-high pedestal, Participant sees illuminated footprints, implying the position and direction Participant should stand. All that’s left is to press the large red button…  WHOOSH! From the cordoned off half of the structure, a propane flame effect bursts. For a moment, 3 of Participant’s senses are activated and surrounded:

  1. Sight: reflected images of the flame effect surround Participant
  2. Sound: reflected sound of the flame effect surrounds Participant
  3. Touch: reflected radiant heat warms Participant from all angles