We’ve enjoyed building this project at WaterFire’s new Warehouse in Providence, RI, and were excited to invite our local Providence community to a one night performance on August 16, 2013 to see the boulders before they head to MASS MoCA in North Adams to be filmed. During the evening we invited all the people who had helped fabricate the project to help us to pick up a boulder and pack it into two trucks.
Danny Dibattista, Naushon Hale and Ed Osborn created the sound live.
Photographs by Mike Formanski.
How do you get a camera to move vertically 50 feet? You have two options: 1) rent the $20,000 a day Hollywood solution that they use to film diving at the olympics or 2) custom design it with Will Reeves (on right) and have him lead the fabrication. Special thanks to Jon Stone for electrical assistance on the trolley motor.
Will’s assistants Tim and Naushon
I spent some serious time on Will’s mill. I got to get one of these…
Finished section (one of seven)
Four accurate digital scales on each line allowed us to give the proper data to our rigging company, ZFX, as PA Dylan DeWitt assists.
Alex Peacock and J.R. Uretsky
PA Gianna Stewart (who is actually a sculptor/painter hybrid–this job could not have had a better match).
Second Assistant Alex Peacock with MASS MoCA Fabricator/Art Ninja Derek Parker loading the finished tea house lock mechanism to take to North Adams. Derek ended up taking all the measurements off of this and rebuilding it so it could better fit into the tea house (which he built off of our SketchUp model). And look prettier. There are some really hideous connections in there. In my defense, there is a comic amount of screws in those terrible looking connections.
Alex Peacock with the completed tea house lock mechanism in position with the boulder.
The completed tea house lock mechanism with 4×4 lock inserted and locked.
J.R. Uretsky and Alex Peacock
Building the scaffolding to hold up the tea house lock mechanism (the part of the tea house that the boulder fits into).
Boulder-riding performer Dorothea Ulrich testing the final foot mount.
PA Greg Lookerse and PA Christian Meade installing the performer foot mount as J.R. Uretsky checks the numbers.
Performer foot mount in position. The 2×4 system protruding forwards is the skeleton of the mechanism that locks the boulder into the floating tea house.
PA Greg Lookerse and PA Christian Meade designed and fabricated 7 versions of the foot mount, each version slightly better than the previous generation. This is version 4, which featured the better angle. Great work guys.
Second Assistant Alex Peacock
(Left to right) PA Greg Lookerse, PA Christian Meade and Second Assistant Alex Peacock
Performer Boulder Base, ready to be suspended.
Placing a performer, Rhode Island artist and aerialist Thea Ulrich, on a boulder 25′ in the air in an industrial coal bin is something to get right. This single boulder took us as long to make as the other 8 combined. Each component of the internal structure is comically overbuilt. My rule of thumb as a designer without an engineering degree is make it twice as strong as I think it should be. We have never had a performer get hurt and spend a lot of time and energy working to prevent it.
Actually, we’ve never had a crew member get hurt either (at least nothing a bandaid couldn’t fix). We start each fabrication day with the same question to everyone on our crew: how are you going to get hurt today? Although this gets crazy repetitive–it reminds each of us (and Megan and I who also answer the question daily too)–that the more relaxed we get with the tools we use everyday, the closer to forgetting that they can hurt us we get. I must not loose my fear of these tools.
This is the I-beam we made and placed to hold one of the lines for the performer boulder. 2×6 top and bottom with a 2×10 middle: oh my heavy. Installed on the hottest day of summer during a heat storm. Thank you Alex Peacock.