Burning Man Art In Hales Corners (Temporarily)! - Share Lemonade

Burning Man Art In Hales Corners (Temporarily)!

Shared by: Katherine Cannistra

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Art scheduled to be displayed at Burning Man this year, had nowhere to go when the event was canceled due to Covid-19. So, the artist and team decided to make the best of a bummer situation and installed the art in their hometown, offering a creative solution and some solace to those looking to eat or spend more time outdoors, while also bringing some attention to a local restaurant struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic. The 25’ tall LED art, resembling flowers with stamen, is temporarily installed outside of Clifford’s Supper Club, which is owned by the artist’s father and located just outside of Milwaukee at 10418 W. Forest Home Avenue in Hales Corners.

The dedicated area surrounding the art is called Cllifford’s Art Patio and was created for people who want to eat their to-go meals in the open air or simply enjoy outdoor immersive sculpture. The artist and team will host occasional free outdoor art sessions around the base of the display. The stalk of each flower rises from the center of a large table that also covers the underlying support structure. The petals are LED lights encased by white tubing looped back on itself. Each flower can run different colors and patterns and grow dimmer as the evening winds down. Barriers separate the Clifford’s Art Patio garden from the parking lot.

A team of over 10 makers, friends and family helped build the sculptures, known as the “Atomic Forest”. Between painting, sanding, soldering wires, and custom-fabricating metal parts, the team estimates they have over 2,600 hours invested in the project. The Atomic Forest debuted at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin in the fall of 2019.

Artist Statement: The Atomic Forest is composed of three free-standing “trees,” each with floral attributes at the top of a “stem.” The organic shapes and usage of LED technology is combined in a form that resembles a blooming flower with stamen. As a global community, experiencing Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, we have developed a heightened awareness of our reliance on both technology and nature for feelings of solace and interconnection with fellow humans as well as the earth. Each tree in the Atomic Forest, takes on a life of its own, looms above the observer, and embodies representations of both technology and nature in a single experience.

About the Artist: Katherine Cannistra served as lead artist and designer for the Atomic Forest floral sculptures. She has a background in studio art, immersive exhibit design, and education. As a longtime member of the Milwaukee Makerspace, Katherine enjoys working on collaborative projects and community events. Her creative passion is developing immersive sculptural art that merges technology and nature.

Fun Fact (numbers): There are 15 geodesic spheres within the Atomic Forest. Over 1,700 pieces of copper tubing were hand cut, 3,400 holes were punched, ends crimped, and bent between 15 and 19 degrees to make the spheres.

Fun Fact (shape): The Geodesic dome is the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised because of the interconnected triangles they are composed of, and are the world’s most earthquake resistant structures. The aerodynamic nature of the dome allows them to withstand hurricane winds about 200 miles/hour.

Fun Fact (community): The majority of the Atomic Forest was created at the Milwaukee Makerspace, a community owned and operated, DIY workspace. Over 10 Milwaukee Makerspace members assisted with the creation of the Atomic Forest in one way or another.

Fun Fact (rapid prototyping): The art team designed and 3D printed over 500 custom LED holders using PETG and ABS filament. It takes about 30 minutes to print 12 LED holders.

Fun Fact (tools): The list of tools used to create Atomic Forest include: horizontal metal bandsaw, standard metal band saw, CNC Mill, manual mill, MIG welder, plasma cutter, chop saw, hydraulic press, manual press, metal break, punch press, drill press, 3D printer, laser cutter, soldering iron, and router.

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