To some, the famous “Burning Man” Arts Festival is a regular hotspot for gatherings of young and talented artisans from all across the globe. Back in 2000, a female-dominated art group was born through collaborative work during this special festival. The Flaming Lotus Girls took their group’s name from their very first sculptural masterpiece; the Flaming Lotus Sr. The art collective makes use of interactive elements to form kinetic and innovative sculptural pieces that dazzle audiences with displays of light and fire. They’ve gone from using alloys of metal, to medleys of glass and wood to create flame spurts of up to 150 feet in height.
A few years back, they created an original piece called Soma. They were deeply inspired by the ability of neurons to fire signals into a complex system of nodes and receptors. The large-scale sculpture exhibits two neurons that seemingly transfer signals to one another using intense displays of fire and light flow. One of the neurons roots itself onto the ground, while the other is hoisted higher above it. Computers are used to control the LED patterns within the connected neurons. The concept behind the interactivity isn’t limited to automation either. The complex design allows the public to communicate with the sculpture itself via a control system accessible to anyone. A Soma in nature is actually neuron with branches called dendrites and a projection called the axon. Basing from biological science, the art of Soma by this group of artists is a wonderful example of kinetic and contemporary art today.
Soma 2009 by the Flaming Lotus Girls – Photography by Michael Prados