Eadem Mutata Resurgo

Design - two spirals in the desert

EMR appears as a gracefully asymmetric spiraling structure of sweeping curved fabric and linked posts of weathered steel. The appearance is different from every approach and may present sail like arcs of fabric or an uneven shrine like collection of thick metal posts. The overall form, though, will quickly be seen as two interlinking spirals made by tall poles strung together overhead with a helix of cable.  EMR is named after the phrase on the grave of the mathematician Jakob Bernoulli. That phrase translates to "Although changed, I shall arise the same." Two Bernoulli spirals embrace to define an environment for spontaneous music made from simple objects and instrumental sculptures.  The spirals represent a continuously evolving form, but also enclose a space without truly separating the interior from the exterior.

(Click on images to see a larger view.)

Function - a space for playing, listening, touching, and creating


Sound is integral to this installation.  It is part of the sensual experience and a means of play, communication, and expression.  An individual entering the EMR will be moving through a constantly evolving soundscape of both amplified and acoustic sonorities.  There will be an ever-present rhythmic texture from the effects processors, but there will also be isolated events occurring throughout the space.  Everyone will be invited to contribute to the sonic environment, and the experience of that environment will be vastly different depending on where each person chooses to stand, listen, and experience. 

Journey -experiencing the space


A person coming to the installation would move towards one of the the two spiral openings. They circle inwards past amplified instruments made from simple re-purposed and purchased metals. EMR is at least as concerned with its aural form as its visual form; moving about within EMR every location gives a different soundscape. In the middle three elaborate unique musical sculptures sit. While the outer instruments are amplified, the three complex inner sculptures are also looped and sampled to create musical structure. Between the sculptures, a control station allows people to modulate and experiment with the musical textures coming from other people exploring the space and instruments surrounding them. When a person finishes they continue out the other spiral arm without ever having to retrace their steps or revisit an experience.

Space - integration and environment

The Black Rock landscape dwarfs even large structures. EMR attempts to remain open to this environment while still maintaining an identity. The poles of the tension structure are braced with guy wires that blend in and complement the landscape. The short spiral arm has 11 ft wide stretched white fabric curving between the cables. These fabric shapes increase with the height of the poles and are reminiscent of sails, during the day shining white in the sunlight and at night illuminated with a changing flood of colored light.  The tops of the poles are strung together with taut dark steel cable, half of which have fabric stretched between them to give a sense of a ceiling while still being open, some shade without actually blocking the sun. Overall there is a half finished sense to the structure, partially complete and yet implying growth and potential and openness to the possibilities of the dessert space

Materials - salvage, recycle, sustain


One of the goals of this project is to appropriate the materials of everyday life into a stimulating and musical context.  Much of the metal used in the installation will be salvaged material.  The bases for the support poles and speaker components will be made from recycled farming implements discs (the large, circular plates used for tilling fields before planting) and anchored into the playa floor.   Many of the sculptures and instruments will be created from found objects, salvaged machine parts, and scrap metal.  Though we feel it important to purchase new hardware and cables for the integrity of the structure, we will also be making every effort to salvage all of the support poles from junk yards and construction organizations.  



Light is intended to be a significant element of this installation at night. EMR has expanses of white fabric that we intend to illuminate with color changing LED washer lights.  The colored washers will be linked together, and controlled by the sound events within the installation. These colors will shift in response to parameters of the sounds, enhancing the visual experience and allowing people to interact in methods beyond those they might have experienced during the day.