Broken memories started off with a giant bucket of broken glass. We entered our art space one evening and discovered that one of the four giant windows facing the street had broken. We swept up all the broken glass and put it in a bucket and boarded the window. Eventually the window was replaced.
One evening, three of us were sitting in a circle, drinking some beer, and brainstorming ideas for projects. We were all staring at our feet silently in this sparse, drab room in a warehouse and it was surprisingly relaxing. We knew each other well enough that silence was comfortable, each of us in our own heads, rearranging pieces of our own puzzle. Maybe it was somewhat reminiscent of camping, in our own habitat away from home, yet not in a public place, sitting in a circle just thinking to ourselves. The idea came to us to create a fire to sit around and stare at to brighten our space.
There was the bucket of broken glass and some LED strips from a previous project to play with. So we played.
We experimented with different amounts of glass, distance between the LEDs and the glass, and even types of glues that would dry in a way that kept the "sharpness" of the glass when refracting light.
A digital prototype for the fire was modeled in SketchUp.
A physical prototype was made from cardboard.
And the final plastic shell from plastic.
LED strips programmed to undulate from red to yellow using a Perlin noise pattern was used to light the glass, but it needed more. The fire turned into a representation of the chaos of the city. Neon signs, traffic lights, and sirens were added.
EL Wire was used for the neon signs.
A test run was done at a First Friday at Warehouse 640 before the Byte Me show.
At some point, something more was felt from the project. The experience of living a fast, fragmented life. Not having the time and space to process past memories and emotions. Retreating to nature and staring at a fire and reflecting and piecing together and mending and melding together a story of healing.
A sign was put up in the store at the entrance of the art space. A camping chair with a box of sand in it. A sign post in the sand asking for broken memories. Over the course of many months, customers to the shop, friends, visitors to First Fridays, and people in the art space contributed items to the box. Some came with brief notes connecting the item to a memory. Hopefully there was some feeling of release when these items were given up to be put in the fire.
A ring around the fire was created with the memories.
Insulating foam was used to hold the memories. It was sprayed over a wire mesh and a clear plastic sheet to create a space for an LED strip to light the foam with fiery colors.
The fluid simulation from the Shadows and Echoes project was modified with a lower viscosity and a slight upward pull to imitate smoke and projected on the wall behind the fire.
A fog machine was put inside the glass shell to create smoke at the push of a button.
After Byte Me 7.0 the broken memories that formed the ring around the fire were unceremoniously thrown in the dumpster behind my building. The glass fire pit remains and was used in Original Media and other projects.