Archive for the 'Structures' Category

A Letter From Shantytown!

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Freezing Greetings from the 2011 Art Shanty Projects!

The Neighborhood

This is the first moment I’ve had in six days to pause and document stuff since I landed at MSP last Tuesday and dived immediately to work on our contribution to this biannual festival of art, architecture and strange behavior on frozen Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN.

Early Recordings

Despite all our long-distance planning we got a severely late start on the actual construction of our shanty. By the time I arrived Brady had organized a workspace, tools, materials and a lovely recycled platform donated by members of the 2010 Vista Shanty team. The two of us worked around the clock for three days straight, and with the aid of some very helpful volunteers our Audio Adventure Shanty just barely squeaked in under the official Friday night deadline for installation on the lake.
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Gone Fishing

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

In two days I fly off to my home town of Minneapolis, Minnesota for ten days of bone-chilling, back-breaking, ear-warming good times with my pals Brady Clark and Kelly Peach. Together we are making a piece for the Art Shanty Projects, a recurring winter arts fest on Medicine Lake that I’ve been wanting to see for years.
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The Creative Spark!

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

UPDATEDZ! Core77 now has a ton of photos online, some video too. Here are great pix and a play-by-play of the complete fab process (trés fab!) and here are a bunch more action shots of the float conquering Portland.

I haven’t blogged about this much, but last month I was tangentially involved in helping the good folks over at Hand-Eye Supply light up their float for the Starlight Parade with about 1000 feet of animated extra-thick electroluminescent wire.

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The latest in LIGHTBARS …

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011


LIGHTBAR enables my inexplicable obsession with temporary architecture once again this year. But I hope this time I’ve built something that will last.
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The LIGHTBAR Report: Opening Night!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

IN 2009 there was a ton going on at LIGHTBAR and I managed to document quite a bit of it.  This year I’m way behind. In all honesty, I’ve felt a bit rushed until now, just getting the building done and set up, and organizing things and people, and finding good locations … in fact, up to the afternoon before opening night I must admit to some serious pre-party anxiety.

I shouldn’t have worried.

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Happy Stick Day!

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Today was the best baby-Stickday of the century: 1/11/11 !  In celebration, here are a bunch of sticks:

The fifth wheel ... more of a record needle.

Gorgeous, long, strong, straight bamboo that Brian Garretson & I cut from Ross Blanchard's place.

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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

LIGHTBAR has taken many forms: pyramids, spheres, imaginary castles, saggy blobs.  But this year’s goal is to create a glowing fun-structure that is portable, foldable and re-useable.  So I’m returing to one of my favorite structures: the ingenious Mongol/Cossack Ger, a.k.a. Yurt.
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Zenbe Lists Is Dead

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

About 18 months ago I started using Zenbe Lists, a nifty list-manager system available for free from  I liked everything about it: it was clean, fast, beautifully designed, and allowed me to organize and consult my many lists both on my phone and on my laptop.  I began to put more and more of my personal organization into it, but eventually I hit a wall: I found it didn’t scale well.  Furthermore it has a few bugs that I have trouble working around, and I slowly became aware that the developers have stopped developing it; it exists in a sad limbo of the nearly-awesome but dead.  So it’s with deep regret that I announce it’s time to jump ship. Read the rest of this entry »

Why I oppose the Columbia River Crossing

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

I’ve been reluctant to talk about the Columbia River Crossing project — the plan to replace a local hunk of Interstate 5 with a much larger, wider hunk — because I hate to preach to the choir.  I’ve naively assumed that all my Portland friends and neighbors are already lined up in opposition to any sprawl-enhancing freeway upgrade.  After all, this is the city that blocked the Mount Hood Freeway and rerouted I-5 off of the waterfront.   We hate this sort of thing, right?

But Portland has changed a lot in the last decade. We have more people, more cars, bigger suburbs and, I worry, less of a sense of local history, of how Portland became the great place it is.  So perhaps I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am that the CRC isn’t on everybody’s radar yet.  But I know I need to say something when perfectly intelligent friends of mine say to me, “Gee, Mykle, you sure are worked up about this CRC thing … tell me again what’s wrong with expanding the bridge?”

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Bamboo Dome Tips

Friday, March 13th, 2009
Fuller's bamboo dome, composed of RR and RB crosses.

Fuller’s bamboo dome, composed of RR and RB crosses.

I’ve found many online references to Bucky Fuller’s bamboo dome design, but no reports of anybody actually building it.  Here’s my impressions, and a few things I learned.  (But keep in mind that my dome fell over.  Caveat Surfator.)

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