Cathenge at Burning Man 2022!

Cathenge made it back to Black Rock City this year, 2022! This installation of three Catoliths facing outward surrounding a fire brazier was placed at 3:30 and Esplanade in Black Rock City. The installation was smaller and more intimate than the 2019 Cathenge installation that featured six cats in a 100′ circle. The intimacy of the installation, and the fire brazier burning in the center, provided opportunities for late night gatherings where the Mysteries of Holofelinity, the Cat Priestesshood of Pussiopolis and many other subjects were discussed.

This Burning Man installation was kind of a “Victory Lap” for the forthcoming installation at Patricia’s Green Park in Hayes Valley, San Francisco, and also a test of the new 3D prints and the new interactive electronic sound and light system In order to produce a version of Cathenge strong enough to stand outside in San Francisco for one year the Catoliths had to be redesigned and reprinted completely. The 3D printed cats you see here are a more refined and durable version of what was presented in 2019. Careful work was done in the 3D modeling to produce a “2 ply cat”, that is to say, the print has an outer layer and an inner layer as well as a layer of “infill”. The skin of the Catolith is effectively 1/2″ thick, and the Catolith’s sections all join together neatly with a system of interlocking laps.

3D model of Catolith in Cinema 4D interface showing the interconnection system using laps.

Another important improvement for the new and improved Cathenge is the “Holofelinity Interactive Light and Sound Sculpture.” The Catoliths feature “interactive harmonic purring” which is a central part of the Cathenge concept. At Burning Man we were most gratified to find that the purring system kept functioning for the entire week without any failure. This was a great testament to the careful electronic engineering by Theremin Barney and programming and sound design by Jacob Tonski. Great teamwork all around!

Speaking of teamwork, I certainly didn’t do this alone. Many thanks to everyone that helped make it happen out at Black Rock City:

  • Hannah Wise was a great assistant, and really my right hand woman in making sure this thing got out to the Playa and got put up. She did a great job, went through a lot, worked hard, and saw it through.
  • Theremin Barney was – as always – indefatigable and unwavering in his support and with his incredible electronic skills resolved problems that perhaps no one else could. Thanks to Barney the interactive sound system functioned all week.
  • Jacob Tonski did loads of last minute wiring and troubleshooting for Cathenge’s installation on the Playa. While Jacob did not come out to the Burn, he was instrumental to making it a success and is a key collborator for the installation at Patricia’s Green.
  • Phoenix Fatale did whatever was needed to make sure Cathenge happened. Very grateful to have had her help with the project.
  • Mark Wurtzel helped by bringing the fire brazier and gave his loyal, energetic support to the project throughout the week.
  • Kian Tabrizi put in long hours with me assembling the Catoliths in the middle of the night when the installation was completed on opening Sunday.
  • Many thanks to Opal Essence and the others at Dustfish Camp for hosting the installation.
  • Special thanks to Marian Goodell – “Always a fan of Cathenge” – for being key in making it happen.

Cathenge (2019 – 2022) has been made possible by generous support from:

  • San Francisco Arts Commission
  • Kathryn and Lewis Shepherd
  • Burning Man Foundation
  • Institute of Crazyology
  • Ben Nehmadi