Past Project, Summer 2022
Black Rock City Honoraria Recipient
Sirsasana is a playful, welcoming 30 foot tall installation of a tree-like sculpture doing a headstand. Its tree roots reach for the sky, and its trunk is composed of interwoven wooden arcs based on the golden ratio that form a hyperboloid. Interactive lighting and soundscape brings the tree to life at night to display the pulsing, breathing flow of life force from roots to leaves as one would experience doing a headstand.
This installation was inspired by the thoughtful, quirky idea of a human doing a tree pose and a tree doing a Sirsasana pose (a headstand). The Sirsasana pose is human-centric, naturally changing one’s perspective.
Sirsasana's beautiful radiating geometry was covered leaf to root with sentimental details from the lead artist Srikanth Guttikonda's childhood home of Hyderabad, India.
“Sculptural art is dialogue between the participant and the physical manifestation of an artist's idea. With Sirsasana, each guest will have the pleasure to use all their senses to engage in this dialogue.” - Sri
Sirsasana was ceremonially burned in the Black Rock Desert in 2022. The tree's structure was co-designed by Josh Zubkoff and Thaddeus Echeverria. Jewel Sheehan designed and lead the team that created the tree's leaves. Nihar Madhavan designed the Indian veneer patterns that decorated the tree. While Kyle Matlock spear headed the outer branch design. Funding was provided by Black Rock City Honorarium Grant and our personal crowdfunding campaign.
Sirsasana is designed to draw attention and invite burners to gather and interact with each other in the Playa! The last two years of separation from one another have inspired us to reimagine the Playa as a place for grounding, connection, and safety; the contrast with its external environment is integral to the art itself.
For the ones who seek, Sirsasana provides opportunities to climb, rest, wonder, and congregate with friends and family day and night. Sirsasana will provide a climbable nest in its roots where guests can gather and peer out over the Playa. Below, the tree's canopy spreads out on the Playa floor with openings that invite participants to explore its intricate inner geometry and art.
Inside the trunk’s embrace, burners can take a much-needed break from trekking and lay back inside the calm. Mythical stories, illustrations, and images from Sri’s childhood will be laser-etched into the wood, adding depth and meaning to the interior of the structure. Guests are encouraged to lay back in this soft space, gaze up at the roots, and feel rested and cared for.
It wouldn’t be a Looking Up Arts install without light and sound interactivity. For Sirsasana, a series of programmable LED modules will bring life to the tree, showing a pulsing, and breathing flow of life force starting from the tree roots. We have dreams to integrate a songbirds inspired soundscape that will interacting with the tree's lighting.
The many features of this installation encourages fun, surprise, and self-care. But above all, it reminds us of the importance of inspired and interactive spaces. This install is one of a kind and necessary for this particular moment in time. Everywhere we look, it is time to reconnect and rediscover. We reflect on that notion with this incredible, large-scale, lit-up burnable installation for all to play with and explore. This whimsical environment represents the ability to re-learn one's own nature, the ability to change, and to create new perspectives.
Sirsasana turns a world on its head back upside-down, calling to gather in an inspiring, nurturing, and grounded space. Doing so will be a revolutionary act of renewal for our relationships with ourselves and with others. Made with natural, burn-safe dyes for foliage and bark, pieces of the tree will burn at the end of the week, reminding us of the impermanence of all things, even if it feels like it’s been forever since we got to come Home.
Fabrication occurred over the course of 9 weeks in our workshop located in the Mission District of San Francisco, Upside Artspace.
Assembly was completed over one week on playa despite dust storms and a triple digit heatwave.
We owe everything to our incredible volunteer team of designers, builders, artists, and engineers that brought this idea to life during the summer of 2022!