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Therme Art Program

Arthur Mamou-Mani to Realise Virtual Edition of Burning Man Structure

As part of this year’s Burning Man celebrations, Therme Art was set to support the realisation of camp Catharsis, a new municipal building for Black Rock City. Designed by architect Arthur Mamou-Mani and conceived in line with Burning Man’s theme of Multiverse, Catharsis was to be a fully carbon-neutral amphitheatre and place dedicated to cultivating artistic expression and collaboration.

 

Rendering of Catharsis by Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani

Rendering of Catharsis by Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani

Based on the Poincaré disk, Catharsis gave a model of the hyperbolic plane where an edge is infinite and where curves are shorter than straight lines. Seven branches would then create seven different universes, each one filled with community art as well as art from the outside world.

With the festival now postponed on account of current restrictions, the much-anticipated physical realisation of Catharsis is on pause. In lieu of this, Mamou-Mani, along with gaming engineers and VR specialists, has seen this interim as an opportunity to explore Catharsis’s virtual potential for a new digital edition.

Mamou-Mani is now working with developers to place Catharsis into a metaverse using  AltSpaceVR. The software provides meeting spaces in virtual reality, where users can interact with one another; play games, attend live shows or start an activity/gathering. Users can access the environment through a portal, where they will be able to experience the virtually rendered ampitheatre.  The structure itself will be complete with lights, shadows, nets, optimised geometry, and more seating than the physical edition, with infinite fractal edges.  As a special surprise, the virtual landscape includes Mamou-Mani’s 2018 Burning Man temple Galaxia. The experience is best accessible with VR goggles such as Oculus Quest.

Catharsis by Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani in AltspaceVR

Catharsis by Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani in AltspaceVR

As well as aiding participants with “toolkits” to create their own 3D models and artworks, the team is also looking at incorporating an artwork within one of the seven branches of the ampitheatre, in which participants will be encouraged to add their own sounds and images for an evolving, participatory piece, marking the unique edition.

The VR experience is planned to officially launch in late August, in place of the postponed event, although a preview is currently available on AltspaceVR.  Therme Art is continuing to support the digital and physical iterations of the project.

Catharsis by Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani in AltspaceVR

Catharsis by Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani in AltspaceVR

 

Galaxia, the 2018 Burning Man Temple by Architect Arthur Mamou-Mani as seen from Catharsis in AltspaceVR