tall grass   .   construction


Warning: the following section is extremely dry. Fortunately, all the images can be clicked.


 Tall Grass is composed of 6 vertical sections each consisting of 8 vertical members attached at their intersections to horizontal frames that transfer the lines of force to each consecutive section below until grounded at the earth anchored base.

Each vertical bundle is composed of 8 - 12 foot long poles that cross one another at three points. These crossing points are joined with an articulating pin connection that will allow the sections to be pre assembled on Vashon Island and then folded into slim bundles for transport.

The horizontal members are of two types - rectangular frames and crosses. The 6 rectangular frames are composed of 4 - 8 foot long poles that are used to stabilize the lashed connections between sections and also guide the slenderness of the spire as they shrink in aperture from 8' at the base to 2' at the top. The 5 horizontal cross sections are composed of 2 - 8 foot long poles crossing at their center. These cross sections are used to expand the vertical bundles at their middle intersection into a gentle curve that pre-stresses the spire and adds to its structural rigidity. Like the vertical bundles, the horizontal frames and cross sections will employ articulating pin connections that will allow them to be folded into a slim configuration for transport to the Playa.

The flower like top section will have a filigree of thin horizontal poles that will serve the dual purpose of creating visual density and becoming the attachment point for the L.E.D. lighting. Because of it's complex nature, the top section will be entirely assembled and wired prior to its transport to the Playa.

Once on the Playa, the sculpture will be assembled section by section, laying horizontally on the Playa, Tarred marline will be used as the lashing between the vertical sections. As each section is completed it will be pre-stressed with internal guy lines. The final task is running a wire to the top for power. Then we gather everyone around, take a few deep breaths and raise the tower into place via an A frame attached to the external guy lines. No crane assistance will be required to raise the tower.


The shade panel structure at the sculpture's base is physically independent of the spire. It is supported by 4 - 12 foot long poles at the oculus and 8 - 8 foot poles at the perimeter. A network of guy lines supply structural rigidity and anchor points for the aluminet screens. A short length of bamboo attached at the midpoint of each screen edge creates a gap that can flip orientation to accommodate sun angle and wind direction. 

It is my intention to use a combination of resources at my camp to power the electrical system for the sculpture. We will have a wind plant, a small solar panel and a Honda eu2000i. The same setup kept last year's camp and sculpture adequately supplied. These sources will be used to charge a deep cycle battery located at the base of the tower. Through and inverter, 120 volts will be delivered to the 55 L.E.D. light strings arrayed on the tower and shade structure. These lights in total consume about the same energy as a couple of incandescent light bulbs. The battery will be returned to camp for charging on a daily basis. Update: I just spoke with Matthew at Snow Koan camp about a solar power system - he can provide me with a system similar to that used on the Big Round Cubatron last year. I'll pursue this option.

At the close of the event the sculpture will be disassembled in reverse of the order above. Once the sculpture is cleared, the site will be gridded and combed for moop. All guy line anchor holes will be filled and packed. The Playa will be returned to a pristine state.

I will be assisted in setup and teardown by two camp mates. Based on my experience with last year's tower sculpture, I estimate two days for setup and one day for teardown and clean up. It is possible for me to setup and tear down the entire sculpture by myself - it just takes a bit longer!

The entire structure will be built, torture tested and refined on a 10 acre site on the windy Island of Vashon where it will reside following it's trip to the Playa. Perhaps it will return in 2008 with another variation that could reside in the 9 o'clock plaza . . .


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