Story & Progress

Wild Ride

Ok building things is hard. I just want to get that out up front. Building things is especially hard when you habitually design things in an “if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it all the way” mentality. All the way. It’s what Ripple is all about.

In the past month we’ve done some amazing things. We’ve etched nearly all of the acrylic for Ripples art and poetry. We’ve finished most of the carpentry. We created power. We made sound. We solved lighting and circuitry problems. We used first aid. We laughed, and drank, and Rippled. We freaked out a bit as the weeks started dwindling.

But we’ll make it. Ripple will be a thing. For you. Huzzah y’all. I’d like to thank Woodstock and Levi for visiting and rocking it with power, sound, & lighting. And to Warren for working with such detail and care on our amazing finalized art pieces. And thanks to Kristin, Ali, Buttercup, Deb, Ron, Wave, Edgar, and others for their help with build. And most importantly, thanks to Maureen for keeping us together, and organized, and smiling.

You too can build a Ripple!

I’d like to introduce our Build Logistics, Sourcing, and Co-Architect Tommy McNamara. Of the Minnesota McNamaras. How would I like to introduce him, you ask? This is how:

Tommy is how we will build Ripple without losing our minds. Though… too late, I just lost my mind when these were delivered. The phrase “this is the work of a goddamn professional” was bandied about. I do feel a bit sad at losing the opportunity to stand around blankly wondering what we should cut next. It’s the price of teamwork. Le sigh.

I mean, would you like to build a Ripple? Here:

But really would you like to build a Ripple? We’re building this weekend and until the burn, in San Francisco. Sign up and join us!

It’s about to get real

Moving on from our halftone test, we’ve done a lot of iterations toward getting the method right for developing these acrylic art panels. This simple image of four people is the end of a long road of many tries and many failures.

It’s a bit of a magic formula to figure out how these can be cut fast enough to be feasible, but also deep enough to be epoxied. How to sand the epoxy to let the light through, without knocking it out of the holes.

And now we’re moving on to the big stuff. That image above is just a tiny slice of one of the 5 art panels on Ripple’s perimeter. Our next test is a 3’x3′ near-complete part of the Loss panel:

You can see the same people from the first image here in the bottom right. This 3’x3′ image is roughly 1/4 of the Loss panel. For the 5 panels, we’ll be making about 20 of these. It’s about to get bizay over here.

We haz power.

When deciding where to build and test our epic and sustainable solar array, we thought that sunny San Diego seemed like an optimal choice. It has delivered. As has our power lead… putting the rest of us to shame by pretty much finishing 2 months early. We can’t wait to hook this up to the real thing. Way to go Michael!

Studies in color and light

When all you have is a list that’s too long to accomplish, everything looks like a landing strip. Because you get to “lights” and you think “screw it, white seems good enough”.

But happily you partnered with someone who considers it their duty and privilege to stop this kind of silliness. A visual person. They thought something like “what kind of psychopath would do such a thing”, but what they said was “I think I’ll do some color studies”. Thanks again Warren!

So through the magic of teamwork, I’d like to present our first concept of Ripple’s nighttime profile.

A little place to call home

At long last we have a build space. A little build space with no roof or inside storage area. But Ripple is strong. It needs no shelter. Ripple just needs a little place to call home. And if the space has about 1000 pounds of trees and metal working tools in it which need to be dug out first? Ripple is good for that too.

We’d like to thank the good people at The Box Shop in San Francisco for giving us access to all the tools we need to develop Ripple’s acrylic artwork, and space to build it. We hope you come build with us over the coming months. Please let us know if you’re interested!

A picture is worth 8 stanzas

I’m happy to announce that one of our founding artists, the amazingly talented Warren Trezevant, has begun his work of visually interpreting the themes of Ripple’s 5 companion poems! This sample is an early concept piece based “The Parts of Us”.

These works will be etched into acrylic using the stippling method to create shading out of monochrome, and mounted on the outside of Ripple’s 5 border panels to match the poems mounted on the inside.

Our very own Meep is shown here for size reference. She’s a svelte little thing, so dang that’s a big panel.

The Mighty Mighty Halftones

So we went and designed these fairly massive art panels into Ripple. 5′ x 6′ backlit displays (and 5 of them) sounds massive to me at least.

We’re playing around with how to get that done. And it turns out that we’re already laser etching a bunch of acrylic and filling it with black epoxy, soooo….

This here is called a halftone test. It’s to see how effectively we can do shading in this medium with the strategy often called “pointilism”, “stippling”, or (wait for it) “halftones”. For a first run, I’d say this turned out pretty mighty.

386 septillion watts

Roughly speaking. Through the power of pure magic, a whole lot of studying, and a bit of sweat, your team here at Ripple has successfully harnessed the 386 septillion watts our sun produces and turned it into enough to charge a battery. There’s some conversion loss there. But damn that’s cool.

It’s a small start, but we think the sun has a few more watts to spare for us. Congratulations to our solar lead Woodstock (Michael Vermette) for completing Ripple’s first Proof of Solar!

Thank you RAT team!

We’re both honored and EXUBERANTLY STOKED to announce that the Black Rock City’s Renewables for Artists team (RAT) has chosen Ripple as one of the projects they will support in 2022! Thanks go out from us to Bruce Cooper, Doug Hanson, and Ken Rehor for their support and guidance as we work together to bring this fully integrated sensory experience to the Playa, powered by the Sun. And love. And sweat. But definitely the Sun.