one-minute vacation
kolam, a luminous mandala

My wife and I built our first large installation at Burning Man in 2001. (Since then we've built numerous others; I'll make pages for them as the time and inclination happens... in the meantime you can search for Ximm at the Burning Man site...)

The piece consisted of several dozen rock cairns, arranged in patterns to create mandalas. Each cairn housed an oil lamp made from baby-food jars.


marincello unsoundwalk
rodeo soundial
handpans and the hang
as paredes têm ouvidos
flostam resonance #1
a day, a week, a year

field effects concert series annapurna: memories in sound
quiet, please
serendipity machines

urban cycles
other recordings

photo: steven miller

The lamps cast light through colored CD cases, creating gently flickering fields of subtle color on the playa.

We built the cairns on baking sheets to facilitate moving them; every night for a week, the cairns were torn down and reconstructed in a new pattern.

The name comes from a tradition in south India: a kolam is a geometric mandala drawn in flour on the doorstep of Hindu households by the matriarch.

Creating the pattern, she begins the day with an auspicious act, feeding unfortunate insects. She also invites the attentions of Laxmi, goddess of luck, who may feel welcomed into the house.


Doing this project we learned humility before the elements. This was a particularly windy year on the playa, and it was only after returning (of course) that some obvious design improvements occured to me that would have helped keep our lanterns lit through the night.

That's why we make art on the playa.


photo: the last spectator

Gratitude and love to all those who assisted us, especially 'Molitov' Amara Simon who shepparded us in her wonderful car (RIP) and Steven Miller for documenting the project.

If you took photos of the installation, please write me. We would like to get copies.