Monday, March 20, 2006

Trussing & Motors

Again, this entry is primarily to build shipping data.
trusses - 12K#
hoists - 5K#

The performance structure consists of 4 29 m. (95') tower structures, joined at the base by a steel i-beam structure and at the top by an aluminum truss structure containing the motor hoist system and catwalks. The overall performance structure, with base, lightning rods and tension cables, will be 120' tall.

Trusses joining the towers wil be 80' spans of composite truss - a 36" tall x 24" wide top truss attached to a 12 x 12 (or 12 x 18) truss below via alum pipe and swivel clamp. By joining the two trusses, load capabilities are increased to 7000# per truss UDL (uniform distributed load).

4 - 80 spans 36 x 24" 6061 truss. 1600# per section, 6400# total
4 - 80 spans 12 x 12" 6061 truss. 640# per section, 2540# total

bracing -
64 - 10' crossbraces - 640' x 1.5#
64 - 14' crossbraces - 896 x 1.5#
256 clamps x 1.5#
total crossbracing weight - 2700#

Trusses and cross-bracing - 11,700#

Split up among the steel containers, trussing should add no additional containers to the performance structure.

CM chain motors may be available in China, although availability is uncertain during the Olympics. Up to 42 hoists are required. Requirements call primarily for 0.5 kg or less in capacity. With 85' chain drops, .5kg hoists will weigh about 100#. Total hoist weight will be approx. 4800# with spares, less cable. Container space will be 6' x 8' stacked 3 cases high. We will bring a total of 48 hoists, with 6 spares. I'll be designing a custom power and control cable distribution system to reduce cable runs. Nearly all hoists will be top mounted, further reducing cabling requirements.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tower structure - weight estimates

The following sizes/numbers are for estimation purposes only - primarily as notes for me. The weight limit is 50,000 lbs per container, possibly a bit less. I need to find out road weight limits for China from the port to Beijing, then the road from Beijing to Shanghai.

20' 5' dia bottom section (6000#) with 6 x 6 x 1.5" base (2400#) = 8400# per base
40' 4' mid section (9600#)
40' 3' top section(7200#)
25,200# (11,000 kg) per tower - 2 containers required minimum
towers sleeve together on ground and are then lifted by crane onto base system

Base Sections:
20 x 20 base structure covered with 1" and .5" plate, filled with sand
4 - 20' x 2' 120# I-beam (3/4" web & flange) = 9600#
4 - 20' x 2' 75# channel (6 x 24 x 5/8") = 6000#
1- 20' x 6' x 1" plate = 4800#
2 - 20' x 7' x 3/8" plate = 4200#
steel - 24,600# - total 2 containers required for 4 base sections.

650 cubic ft. sand = 64,000lbs - will fit in each base
total base weight, sand and steel - each = 88,600#

Cross brace beam sections:
Cross braces join each tower base section. Each brace section consists of 2 20" I-beams approximately 48" apart. Beams are joined at the base to smaller 6x4" junior beams, spaced approx. 10' on center. Beams are joined at the top by 1/4" plate. All cable runs thru these beam channels, joined to cable channels built into the bases. A rail system is mounted on 2 of the sections, permitting tracked deployment of heavy machines during the performance.

2 - 60' x 18" x 6" 40# beams = 4800#
6 - 10' x 4' x .25 plate = 2400#
5 - 5' x 6" x 4" 9# beam = 225#

approx. 7500# per section - 30,000# total
filled to 1' would add approx. 100,000 to the base system weight, for a total system weight of 500,000#.

Weight with towers and base system would be approx. 600,000#

Total steel weight is approximately 230,000# - 5 containers minimum.

Extra space in containers will be used for aluminum truss, softgoods and other high volume, low weight items.

Show Site Design for CHINA 2008

The next few posts concern new designs and devices for the proposed performances in Beijing and Shanghai in Summer/Fall 2008. These performances are not fully confirmed yet and have only partial financial sponsorship. We won't have an answer until fall 2006 on our primary sponsorship, but we must begin work regardless. This will be by far the largest installations we have every done.

We will be performing outside in a public square both in Shanghai and Beijing. Neither site location is confirmed, but I am hoping we will be close to the main Olympic Village in Beijing. We are searching for a very large space, at least 100M square - about the size of a city block. This is extremely hard to find in Beijing, especially during the Olympics.

The performances will be free and open to the public. With the current design we can accommodate approximately 20,000 people per performance in a 100M square site (crunched in at 2 people p.s.m.). With 5 weeks of performances and 2 shows per night - 60 performances, we have a potential audience of 1.2 million people in Beijing and a similar sized audience in Shanghai - 2.5 million people. I've also had an inquiry from a Hong Kong company, so a month of performances in Hong Kong is possible in December after Shanghai. With larger sites, a powerful show and excellent marketing, an audience of 4 million is within possibility.

Realistically, we expect an audience of 8000 to 10,000 per show, given the logistics of traffic and transportation and the problems of site management - still an audience of 1.2 million people over the 3 months in Beijing and Shanghai.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Core Personnel

David Therrien - 602-487-4740 or 602-820-5649 after Tuesday.
Scot MacKenzie (coming out from PhX)
Quincy (phx)
Carbon Therrien 480-6000-510
Scot Jenerik 415-285-6003

more TBA

hoping for some SRL crew and John Law to help build the tower, which is the first item after unloading. Lots of simple metal fab involved - hanging stuff very high in the air.

I've switched the tower to dual scaffolds that will brace to one another - a 10' x 10' footprint x 50' high. see TOWER below.

Layout for Audio Triggers

We'll have five devices with piezo sensors on them for this show, plus a few sensors on motors that will run as audio only.

1. BODYDRUM - 1 to 6
6 triggers, into Mackie 1604, then via direct out to DM5 trigger interface to convert to MIDI. From here the MIDI goes to a sampler (Thomas) and possibly to a MAC running MAX, which converts to an RS232 signal to run the EXTRON switcher. The drum strikes switch the camera signal being output onto the main screen. We need someone with MAX, a laptop for the performance and the time to program all this and get it working right.

2 & 3. BODYDRUM w/parasite - 7-8, 9-10
These 2 devices each have 2 mechanical levers contacting the bodyplate. 2 channels ea. Sensor to Mackie to DM5 to sampler.

4. Vetruvian Man/ Arm of Life - 11
One sensor on the contact plate. feeds to Mackie, them to DM5, etc.

5. FLESHCHIME - 12-17
6 contact points on the rear of the tower. While suspended by the ankles, my hands electrified, I strike metal panels and trigger DM5 (and close high voltage contact, as with all the above), which then goes on to the sampler.

6. Chainmotors - 18 -22
Sensor on chainmotor for acoustic sound only, which is then pitch shifted and filtered.

Hopefully Thomas Dimuzio can provide samples and background noise again. I'll talk more about this later.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


We have 3 BODYDRUMs for this show - a main BD with EKG that will be D.A. Therrien, with Scot Jenerik drumming, and 2 smaller side drums.

more details to come.


More info to come on video. Simple for this show - may end up being just the EKG and some overhead cameras - manually switched.

2 to 3 projectors, one custom screen and scaffold frame, 4 to 6 cameras, camera on the EKG CRT readout from the main BODYDRUM.

Projectors (Hitachi 3200 lumen) double stacked at rear of scaffold, projecting to front into custom scaffold frame/rearscreen - 6 x 8 screen.

We need to find someone that can write a MAX program for us to trigger an EXTRON MVP104 or SW6 CV switcher via RS232. The Extron manual is online. Also need a blackburst generator. I bought one on ebay but it has yet to arrive.


The main tower for this performance is a 50' ladder type scaffolding in levelers, 5' x 10' footprint. The structure will be guywired and ballasted with drums of water (1000 gallons). The tower is sheathed in steel plate and steel mesh.

The scaffold will be ballasted by 12 to 20 T5 gallon plastic drums sitting on top of a lattice of pipe attached to the structure by clamps. The pipe is blocked up by wood 4 x 4s - getting it off the ground so we can clamp easier. Plywood lays on top of the pipe, the drums sit on the plywood.

4 tension cables will come down from the top, attached to the top scaffold or the alum. crossbeams at the top. These attach to the pipe/ballast and tension the structure. Guywires extend from the bottom of the top scaffold frame to approximately 30' out from the tower, attaching to the concrete light poles and tensioned by 1000 lb winches.

Truss attaches along the outside top of the uppermost scaffold frame via clamps - one in front and one on the back side. corner blocks are attached to each truss and 10' truss extends between the front and back, forming a square at the top - all bolted tightly together. If the scaffold is more than 10' deep - we'll make plywood shims to make up the difference. If it's less, we may have to add some extension or crossbracing of 2" pipe and attach to that.

On top of the truss is a pulley support system for the BODYDRUMs - aluminum channel and I-beams that extend the drop point out just beyond the truss. This allows us to move bodies and light array independently on the same face. Wemay suspend the FLESHSPEREs out from the sides - approximately 14' to 16' out via a cantilevered pulley frame. Each FLESHSPHERE weighs about 100 lbs. - 250 lbs. with a body inside.

The 1/2 ton CM chainmotors are attached to the pipe ballast base. Chains extend up to a bridle, pulling down 2 cables that run up thru the pulleys, then down to the BODYDRUM frame. One motor controls one BD. We'll have 6 to 8 motors - 3 for BD, 1 for the VM, 2 for FLESHSPHEREs and 1 for the FLESHCHIME, if I choose to perform that piece.

The tower is sheathed with steel plate up to about 18' - with a 6 foot gap at the bottom for the sound system and for access. For the front and back the steel plate attaches to unistrut that is clamped across the frames, parallel to the ground. The plates - 32' x 48' - will be tacked to 1' sq. tubing, making a 4' wide x 10' tall panel. The tubing then gets bolted or clamped to the strut - 2 panels wide. Haven't figured out the side mounting yet, but it will most likely involve unistrut as we have a lot of it.

The mesh is already in panels - 4 x 8, 4 x 4.5, and 8 x 20. The 8 x 20 panels will be pulled up in place with hoists and suspended with chain - more a visual element than anything else.

For the front, we have 6 48" x 55" tall panels with expanded metal in them. These will be mounted to unistrut, as above, but with high voltage isolators between the strut and the panel. This way we can electrify the panels if I choose to perform the FLESHCHIME piece. A 4 x 8 panel will finish this off side off - forming an 8' x 20' tall wall of electrified expanded mesh. Each of these seven panels will feed a different light array.

The backside will have similar 4 x 4 panels, although not electrified for this show. (I will electrify them for the Las Vegas show as we will have 4 FLESHCHIME performers)

more details to come.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Audio will consist of live triggered sound from the BODYDRUMS (BD), Vetruvian MAN and some specials. Backing soundtrack is

BD will have either 4 or 6 metal contact plates. (please keep in mind these plates are electrified at 208V. All piezos will need to be isolated from the metal to avoid voltage leak.) the 4 piezos will terminate in 1/4" or XLR connectors. They'll feed via snake or individual cable (we don't have any snakes made for these yet) to the DM5.

If we have false trigger problems, we'll need to go to mic preamps and then gates, then to the DM5. I want to avoid this if possible.

From the DM5 we will feed the samplers - Scot is working up the samples. I'd like to talk to Naut about using some of Tim's samples - or maybe someone has a copy of 'a poke in the eye with a sharp stick' (which is full of Tim's samples).

Scott M will then take this into a LCR mix, send it to a Manifold stack in the tower and out to the main stereo PA.

Backing noise/soundtrack will be on CD.


as this is the first COMFORT/CONTROL show in quite a few years and with an entirely new crew, the performance is as simple as possible - well - as simple as I can imagine it. It is spared down, really!

The performance uses a 50' tower as its central and primary element. This tower will suspend 2 to 6 bodies (performers) dependent on the number of people we have available. The tower is sheathed in metal plate to about 16' and metal mesh above 16'. (see the tower section for a detailed description).

A truss structure is attached to the top of the tower, and from this the bodies are suspended, controlled by cables from below attached to CM chainmotors. The tower is constructed of scaffold with a 5' x 10' footprint. The truss at top is roughly 12' x 12' - bolted to the outside of the scaffolding.

3 BODYDRUMS are suspended from the truss - one at center (the 5' width of the tower faces forward) and one at each side. The VETRUVIAN MAN machine is suspended off the rear. The FLESHSPHERES may be added to the side - as counterbalance to the BODYDRUMS.

All 3 BODYDRUMS (BD) will trigger audio samples via piezo elements and switch lights via direct contact. The front center BD will also trigger video camera switching if we can find someone to do some MAX programming. A video screen will be built into the scaffold. (see video)

Lighting arrays will be triggered by the BD and by the robotic arm on the Vetruvian MAN - up to 15 ARRAYS at a total of 400 KW. Arrays will be both static, attached to the tower and moving, attached to the performer. CRUCIBLE is providing a 300KW generator - power usage will be controlled by 400A. relays to prevent to overload to the geni.

Each suspended device will be controlled by a CM chainmotor. A single hoist will move each device via a pair of cables running through pulleys attached to a bridle.

The BODYDRUMMERS will be positioned on top of small towers on either side of the main tower. I haven't designed these yet - waiting to see what I can find material-wise. Standing level will be about 18' to 20' - with drumming level (the chest of the BD) at around 24' to 26' -

The front center BD will be accessed via a pneumatic lift - also at around 20' high. (The lift currently stops at 16' - we need to find out why the final section is note actuating.) Scot will be on this lift.

BD's will each have 4 to 6 channels of audio, running to one of two DM5 trigger interfaces. MIDI will trigger samples and hopefully video switching. I'd like to have gates on each trigger. The feed then runs to the 1604, and gets sent to the center, left or right channel. I want to put Scot's Manifold system in the tower to provide localization - with a stereo feed to the main PA to provide additional BOOM. If we have room in the truck I may bring two more MTL2 cabinets. Hopefully Thomas diMuzio can munch noise live again.

I'm planning on a 25 to 30 minute performance Friday night. We will be joined by the large Tesla coils around us for a finale.

More details are in the individual sections - structure, rigging, audio, etc.

COMFORT/CONTROL @ Fire Arts Festival in Oakland July 15

Vetruvian Man Machine
Information Machine - 1994

COMFORT/CONTROL will have its first performance in 10 years July 15 at the Fire Arts Festival in Oakland. This blog is for crew info on various parts of the project. please contact David to get added to the crew list. More info on the performance can be found at CRUCIBLE.ORG.