Bernal Physicist Raising Funds to Build Giant Fire-Breathing Mechanical Art

Neighbor Matthew is an Bernal Heights physicist and artist who’s building an ambitious, musical-kinetic fire art sculpture. The piece is called Torch Song, and it will be a 15-foot structure with nine flame-heads that can move independently.

To complete the project, Neighbor Matthew has organized a crowdfunding campaign. He tells Bernalwood:

Torch Song is a 15′ musical kinetic fire art sculpture. I’ve been working on it for about two years now. I pretty much started from scratch; I didn’t know anything about fire art, and knew only as much about metal machining as I learned doing a doctorate in physics.

Last year I formed an organization, Hydrocarbon Collective, and started ramping up to try to get it out to Burning Man. From there hopefully we’ll get to bring it out to other venues in the bay area. We now have a crew of five people (and several occasional volunteers) who work out of the Box Shop in Hunter’s Point on weekends and Wednesday nights. (Our team includes one of the instigators of the Cardboard Animal Parade.) We’re always looking for more help if people want to pitch in, especially if you’re an experienced welder, or want to work on electronics.

Torch Song is a 15′ diamond (a double tetrahedron, to be exact) which will have nine independently moving flame heads. We conceived of it without consideration for practicality, safety, or common sense, and we are dangerously close to making it a reality. And, in honor of the absurd times we live in, we will be donating 10% of our proceeds from this fundraiser to the ACLU.

You can learn more about the project and donate at Neighbor Matthew’s Hydrocarbon Collective crowdfunding page.

IMAGES: Top, TheHydrocarbon Collective team with a flame unit at the box shop. Below, rendering of the proposed Torch Song piece. Images courtesy of Neighbor Matthew

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