The theme for this year’s Burning Seed is Zoophemism. This theme invites you to ‘Imagine a world where all euphemisms are animal related and puns are considered currency’. This had me scratching my head. How to radically self-express via animal euphemism? What does that outfit even look like?
One person not daunted by this year’s theme is Lucas Li, head creative for the Pillars of the Guardians art installation. Lucas and his team have created an interactive installation that pairs each of the ten principles [http://burningseed.com/about/ten-principles/] with an animal totem. A zoophemism for each principle.
The Pillars of the Guardians exists to encourage burners to interact with the ten principles and really think about their meanings. The installation is a playful, totemistic puzzle that you can solve with your friends. We can’t give away too much, but promise that it will be visually stunning, interactive, informative, and performative.
Spotlight on the Artist
Lucas Li is a filmmaker, professional creative and enthusiastic member of the Burning Seed community. I was lucky enough to catch up with Lucas and find out more about him and his inspiration for creating Pillars of the Guardians.
What is your background and how did it lead you to making Pillars of the Guardians?
I'm a film-maker branching out into other forms of creative visual arts. I’m really interested in stories, myths and eliciting emotion. I find they're great communication tools and I really wanted to bring that sense of sacred mythic quality to the burner principles, because I think that can really help people learn them.
Have you attempted something like this before?
Not since my dinosaur diorama in high school. This is my first installation and it's been so challenging and rewarding. Learning woodworking, resin casting, 3D printing, LED lighting, all very new to me. I am very grateful for the experts that have stepped forward to help.
What is your Burning Seed story?
I had friends who couldn’t stop talking about it. I’m normally quite a serious person so it didn't compel me much. But four years ago, I had burnt myself out trying to help the refugee movement and also had a major relationship breakdown too. I was in a really dark place when tickets were coming out, so I just went for it. And it blew my mind. The creativity, the openness, the irrelevance… It was a sparkly explosion that reignited my creative fire. It taught me how important it was to have fun and look after myself too.
What was the inspiration for the Pillars of the Guardians?
There's a 10000 year old site called Göbekli Tepe and it just got me wondering what sort of ceremonies and stories and songs they were sharing back then and what it would have felt like being that space. I wanted to see if I could create something like it here in our time.
I really wanted to infuse the project with positive energy, in the making of it too, so using as much recycled materials as possible and cooking wholesome vegan food for the volunteers. Even the plastic for our 3D printing is biodegradable.I'm hoping some of that good vibe will rub off on people entering the space and inspire them to bring their own positivity to it.
The installation is very reflective of this year’s theme. Was this a coincidence, or did you react to the theme?
It was a reaction. Originally, I wanted the guardians to be old gods and spirits - but making them animals gave the work this universality that makes it so much easier to connect with.
Do you have a favourite principle?
I'd say communal effort, we become more than the sum of our parts when we work together… Also, I love gifting too, it just creates this beautiful positive feedback loop of love and generosity. Basically, anything that inspires us to set egos aside and think communally. We burn brighter together.
The Pillars of the Guardians will be open from 5pm-midnight every day during Seed. However, the best time to see it will be during the opening ceremony [https://www.facebook.com/events/1088055534717346/] on Thursday night from 7.30pm. That’s your chance to become a part of the art and meet the guardians behind its creation.
The Pillars of the Guardians are asking burners to support their art piece through the purchase of a principle pendant [https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/709568852/burner-animal-pendants?ref=hp_rv-1&bes=1] (Spoiler Alert! They have their animal zoophemisms on the back!)
The Pillars of the Guardians is one of 21 art pieces supported by ARTery art grants this year. You can find out more about how to apply for an art grant here [http://burningseed.com/art/] or the ARTery concierge on the paddock.