Coachella-goers arrived to the festival Sunday to find a giant 100 foot tall lotus flower on the grounds near the Gobi tent. Trippy!
The crazy thing was that the flower swooped up and down; half construction crane, half psychedelic creature from another realm. Folks walking by seemed mesmerized, perplexed; the thing had popped up out of nowhere. “It's terrifying” said someone named Jack. “It looks like something from Mario Brothers,” said a guy named Alex from L.A. “I keep worrying it is going to eat me.” So, what's the deal?
Turns out an L.A.-based art collective called Poetic Kinetics put the thing together, and it wasn't intended to scare the living shit out of folks on drugs. “We hope it will be a nice surprise for people and make people smile,” says collective member Cynthia Washburn.
The flower, which at times extended high into the sky and at other times bent low to stare its observers in the face, is actually a masked articulating boom lift, and was maneuvered by someone using the controls behind its petals. It was contained by a chain-link fence, which doubled as a backrest for patrons of the nearby food tents. As night fell over the festival the flower became illuminated in a white glow as it continued to slowly dance in the middle of the open field.
Poetic Kinetics was also behind large installations used in last year's Beijing Olympics and a separate set of flowers that double as solar-powered, wi-fi enabled, charging stations, which were created for a Toyota advertising campaign.
One hundred foot tall flowers like the one at Coachella were initially designed for the Burning Man Festival to and, according to the group's website, their purpose was to “create something beautiful and magical as an artistic gift to the community.”
Andrew from Santa Monica picked up the positive vibes as he passed the flower. “It's a gorgeous reminder that there is art in everything we see,” he said. Neat!