Setup days for the gallery finally arrive. I was really excited to get all the stuff out of my living room and have some space back. It may not seem like it, but a dome takes a huge amount of fabric to cover.
We carefully packed and moved them. The adhered glass was really fragile and we didn't want anything cracking before the show.
A bunch of prep still had to be done in the gallery before we could set up the dome. An entire wall of mirrors was installed on the back wall of the gallery to reflect the light that would be projected at the dome. It took quite a lot of jigging, and I was grateful to artist Kevin Flynn who came in to give me a hand installing the five 8 foot tall mirrors.
As well the hubs and poles were all coated with a mat black spray paint, a look I love and am excited to tour several of our domes with this year.
Once the gallery was ready and we could begin installing the dome. But this installation is a bit different than domes we've built before and required a bit of experimentation.
Normally we have bungee harnesses that create the tensile strength necessary to hold together the dome, but I decided I wanted to try something new this time.
I wanted to see if I could design a system that would take the star shape out of the interior of the panels. I wanted the panels to be completely free of distraction.
To do this we used ratchet straps to loop the hubs and poles together, ratcheting them super tight to see if we could create the type of strength necessary to hold the dome together.
Honestly, I didn't think that it would be that easy, and I was all prepared to use springs and rope in various formations to achieve the strength.
But the ratcheting worked great. It was actually amazingly stable. When I did pressure tests on the dome it actually seemed to be holding up better than the harnesses did.
The one thing about using the ratchets was that they were a pain to install. Unlike the bungee harnesses which go on in seconds, the ratchets were finicky and difficult. When you put on a harness it naturally holds the poles and hubs together as you're installing, but with ratchets you didn't have that. We had to come up with a system of tying the poles together as we raised the dome so that they would stay connected.
As soon as the dome was most of the way up we wanted to try our first lighting tests.
There had been no way to test any of this aspect before the actual installation. I had an idea of what the materials would do, but I wasn't actually sure if it would work.
The goal was for the mirrors and the dome to bounce the projection light around the room, which would shift the content of the video.
I couldn't have been more thrilled with the outcome. The bouncing light was amazing and the dome did exactly what I hoped in changing the nature of the image.
The rest of the panels went up and I was super happy with how they all turned out and looked on the dome.
I also loved how clean and slick the lines of the dome were with the new harness system!
A floor covering needed to be made for the dome. A full night was spent laying out canvas and cutting panels to make a floor that would fit the footprint of the dome exactly.
Electrical needed to be wired so that there would be lighting in specific hubs of the dome to cast light in the correct way.
By this point we were already a couple days in. It was hard to tell the time of day inside the windowless gallery as we just kept plugging along.
Sleeping on the floor became a pretty regular occurrence as we worked between cups of coffee.
The floor gets laid and I begin to prep designs to paint on the canvas floor.
Once the paint has dried a soft and comfy plounge gets put underneath it so that the whole dome will be like walking into a cozy pillow.
After about three days of work, fussing and perfecting, last minute touches to the video and installation of signage, the dome is finally ready to be shown.
The very last thing I needed to do was a little personal ritual to cleanse and prepare the space. I spent the final night alone in the dome, meditating and clearing the space, with the intention of creating a settled and grounded temple that participants could enter into.
The next morning, the show opened, and the dome was ready to be seen by all!
Show images to come soon!