The Fate of Timescale

Dear Timescale column artists, supporters, donors, and friends:

As you’re probably aware, Burning Man is unable to fund Timescale. We’ve discussed whether there might be room to negotiate, and there simply isn’t. All of their art grant budget is committed to other projects. This has been a disappointment, but we understand that Burning Man received many beautiful, engaging proposals, and some difficult decisions had to be made. We look forward to seeing our friends’ successful projects, funded or not, on the playa this summer.

We have spent the last few weeks reviewing our own resources, discussing possible new sources of funding, and looking at ways to cut costs. After much effort, it became clear that a mile-long art project is inevitably expensive and time-consuming to build. The time spent on fundraising would directly impact the amount of time we could spend working on the project itself, especially since the work and the fundraising would have to start immediately.

When we add in projections for what we could realistically fundraise during a recession, it just doesn’t add up. We simply do not have the resources to build Timescale in a way that’s consistent with our artistic vision. We know this will disappoint the people who were looking forward to making column art, or to walking the corridor and gaining a deeper understanding of our planet’s history. We’re all quite sad that we won’t see 27 different visions for periods in Earth’s history. We received so many wonderful column proposals, and we’re truly sorry to have to walk away from the promise of such inspiring collaborations. However, at this point we’d have to make so many compromises for the project to succeed that it probably wouldn’t feel like a victory when we made it to the end. In the words of the inimitable Nina Rawkstah, “Burnout isn’t sexy.”

Upon the announcement that we’d lost funding, the outpouring of support, care, and offers of help from the community was an inspiration. Thank you all. Please don’t consider this a failure of our community, or a case where things could be different if we’d all tried harder. The scope of Timescale was set from the very beginning with the assumption of major grant funding. If we’d been denied funding initially, we’d probably have tossed the idea into the “too
expensive” pile and moved on. As it was, the momentum we built in the weeks following the original grant announcement allowed us to consider moving ahead regardless of funding status. At this point, we’re happy to have the team, even if the project can’t happen.

Since making this decision, our task has been to decide what to do now that we have a collection of motivated, interested artists who’ve cleared their schedules to build a big project. We’ve come up with a number of good ideas, narrowed it to the best one or two, and are already doing the preliminary design work. We have fourteen people and big box of tools — only good can come of it.

— Ian Baker, on behalf of the Timescale team

PS – Some people donated money to the project. We really, really appreciate that. Your donations will be returned over the next few days.

PPS – If you’re in the SF Bay area, please join us on Saturday, April 4th at 7pm for a Timescale Wake at NIMBY^2. We’ll take sledgehammers and explosives to some of our concrete test cylinders and column models to celebrate the creativity and dedication that was poured into this project before its untimely demise.

Timescale Evolves: Stronger, Faster, Lighter!

Despite loosing status as an honorarium art piece for Burning Man 2009, the Timescale Project team is eager to move ahead. We have redesigned elements of the project to accomodate a smaller budget, and now it’s time to fundraise like crazy!

The call for artists is now extended to March 25 (previously March 18): read about the column chapters in the Timebook and submit your proposal.

Funding & Equipment Support

We are currently accepting cash donations via PayPal (see donate link in the right column). Cash donors can also sponsor a column for $400 — the cost to fully build a column, the associated electronics and power system, and to haul it to/from Burning Man 2009.

We’ve published a Wish List of materials and equipment necessary to make Timescale happen.

Our intrepid team continues hard at work, and marches full steam ahead! Next stop Black Rock City!

Scratch that…

Timescale Loses Funding

We previously had heard from BMORG that we would be funded as an honorarium piece this year at Burning Man. Unfortunately they have come back to us and said that they will not be able to fund us due to budget issues. At this point, Timescale’s future is undecided. We will be reexamining our budget, our possible sources of funding, and will be making a decision over the next week or so. We had originally planned to fund a large part of this out of our own pockets to supplement the BMORG funding we would have received. Unfortunately in light of the economics of our times, it’s just not possible to fund the project fully ourselves.

We do however encourage artists to continue submitting their proposals as it is possible that Timescale will be happening in another time and another place. Additionally if anyone has leads on any organizations, companies, etc that would like to help fund this piece, please let us know via Stay tuned to the blog and our Twitter for more information as decisions are made.

Prospective Artists Q & A – March 12th

Want to build a column sculpture? Have questions regarding electricity, structural constraints, column design, or the artist application process? Want to meet the crazy geeks who are making Timescale happen? Come on out next Thursday night, March 12th, from 7-9pm to meet the art curator and technical leads. We will be available to chat about your ideas/proposals, or we can all just drink some wine and hang out.

Chez Poulet
3359 Army St. SF 94110
Army betwixt Mission and S. Van Ness
Bikes outside, no dogs and please do not park in the lot next door.
3 blocks to the 24th st. BART (last BART at midnight)

Call for Artists!

Timescale - Your Artwork Here

The official “Call for Artist” has gone out! We want your art to fill our plexiglass boxes! Here’s the official release, please forward to anyone you think might be interested.

We are now accepting proposals for all 27 Timescale chapter columns!

Timescale is a journey through 4.57 billion years of planet Earth’s geological and biological evolution, extended across one mile (5280 feet) of open playa. Beginning with the formation of the Earth from a cloud of gas and dust, participants will traverse through time — advancing two million years with each footstep, culminating at the present day.

Twenty-seven chapters in Earth’s growth are highlighted along the way, allowing participants to appreciate the transformation of our planet and the exponential complexity of living things. Each chapter will be marked by an 8-inch square column rising from the playa surface. The 6.5-foot tall column holds a clear box that contains a sculptural representation pertaining to that period of time.

We are actively looking for artists to create column sculptures. Pieces should evoke an event, creature or other aspect of the chosen chapter’s unique story. We will provide a well-lit clear display box eight inches wide and deep, and twelve inches tall. Electricity will be available for your installation if coordinated in advance.

For more information about this Burning Man art project check out the following links:
* Timebook – a list of the chapters and brief descriptions
* Artist’s FAQ
* Proposal Submission Form

Timescale is a funded project!

Timescale is Funded!

Ardent Heavy Industries is thrilled to announce that Timescale will be a funded Burning Man honorarium art installation for the 2009 event! What began as a geeky geology idea more than five years ago can now become a reality: a mile long art gallery, inspiring participants to learn more about the history and evolution of our planet Earth.

We didn’t chose to create theme art, it’s more like the theme chose us. The idea for a scaled representation of geologic time was already rolling around in our conceptual project queue, and 2009 seemed like the perfect year to translate the idea into reality. When we heard that this year’s theme would be Evolution, we had no choice but to make Timescale happen.

The entire Ardent crew is gearing up for a busy spring and summer. We’re cleaning and organizing our new shop, testing various concrete mix designs, and spending hours upon hours drawing things up in CAD and choosing just the right components to use in assembling the Timescale columns. We will be putting out the official call for column artists in the next few days, so stay tuned.

Once again, a HUGE HUZZAH to the Burning Man organization for choosing to fund our project, thereby allowing us the resources to spread our geeky joy over a mile long line in the desert!

Timescale Has a Twitter Account

Timescale on Twitter

Timescale has a Twitter account! Follow us!

The Timescale Project

Timescale is a new project from Ardent Heavy Industries, the not-fire-centric parent group to Interpretive Arson. Timescale is a journey through 4.57 billion years of planet Earth’s geological and biological evolution, extended across one mile (5280 feet) of open playa. Beginning with the formation of the Earth from a cloud of gas and dust, participants will traverse through time — advancing two million years with each footstep, culminating at the present day. Each chapter in Earth’s growth is highlighted along the way, allowing participants to appreciate the transformation of our planet and the exponential complexity of living things. Each chapter in Earth’s history will be a 6.5ft tall 8in x 8in column of concrete with art representative of that chapter inside.

A hard copy of the proposal for Timescale was recently submitted to the BMORG for funding. The hard copy, in this case, consisted of a 12″ concrete cube, hollow down the center, with a 52.8 ft long rop inside, marked out at 1/100 scale of the final project. The cube was finished top and bottom with mild steel plates, with the printed/bound proposal mounted atop the top plate under a piece of clear 1/4″ acrylic. The whole shebang was held in a lovely rope sling with wooden handles.