In 2013 I experienced my first Afrika Burn. There are no words that could possibly describe the experience. You drive through the last outpost of civilization on the West side of South Africa (sorry Calvinia) and then turn down an unforgiving tire chewing dirt road to the end of the world.
Obviously I read a lot about AB before this trip. What to take with and what to expect. One word caught my eye and stuck – “participation“. In the guidelines and well stocked informative website it states:
“We call it the “DO-ocracy”. Forget standing at the sidelines. Jump in with both feet and get busy.”
Well, I prepared and packed my little suitcase of mirrors and tested the waters with a theoretical project. If one could focus sunlight with enough mirrors on a combustible target we should get fire? Fire from the sky… right?
This initial test was a failure but the idea was a success. All the participants (I packed 100 mirrors and got at least 25 people to hold two mirrors each) believed in the theory!
So, back to the drawing board… I started preparing and mulling over ideas to make this project a success.
AB 2014 was fast approaching and with the help of great friends – Thomas König & Samuel Weisenborn – we built the sculpture and fine-tuned the details with contingency plans. Anything that could possibly go wrong was though off and sorted. Then Thomas slipped of the first rung of the stepladder whilst we were busy with the final coat of paint, one week before lift off, and broke his ankle. Disaster!!
Thomas, being who he is, kept the spirits high. He helped direct the packing as we needed his Land Rover to get down, flailing his crutches as we tied down the steel to the roof rack. We needed a four-man crew. Billy, Sam’s 20 year old son and Inglin, my son, made up the final crew. (b.t.w. Sam and Billy flew in especially from Germany, helped with the construction and made this project possible.)
“Cosmic Ignition” refers to bringing fire from the sky. It is a participatory art project that enables the spirit of participation and collective focus to achieve a common goal. The basic outline is to have volunteers help reflect sunlight from the sky on a “target”, igniting the combustible materials (newspaper and pine cones) and bring the Mother Flame to Earth.
The gods smiled on us and send fire from the sky. Guiding the light we ignited Cosmic Ignition and lit the Mother Flame.
Thank you to all you beautiful people who helped prove the theory right last year! Keep on giving and never stop participating!!