Kukulkan’s Portal is our most recent art project. It is composed of two geometric shapes, an acrylic merkaba (stellated octahedron) enclosed in an aluminum cube. The design is meant to show the geometric relationship between the merkabah and the cube. Kukulkan’s Portal is a modular geometric sculpture in honor of the new discoveries made in mathematics and science. Although the cube and the stellated octahedron shapes are not new to mathematics, researchers have claimed to have invented a new class of equilateral convex polyhedra. (Read more about that below)
The sculpture is 18ft cubed and contains 10,000 individually programmable LED’s. The merkaba is entirely constructed of translucent lexan multi-wall sheets encased in industrial strength resins. The idea is to make the merkaba look like a giant marble crystal. After we construct the individual triangles, we’ll coat the surfaces with a resin-paint mixture to get the marble effect. The “back” of the triangles will be lined with LEDs facing forward so that the entire merkaba will glow.
The cube is made from aluminum truss and skinned with laser cut design of kukulkan and other mayan symbols. Again, the cube is with LEDs and controlled separately from the merkaba.
For Phase 2 the project will be made “climbable” for strength and durability, however, because of the angles of where people might be able to climb to the top, we feel that this would be unsafe for the general public. So the intent will be to build a meditation platform within the project and to direct the flow of traffic from climbing on the project itself. We specified funding levels for this in our proposal. Depending on the funding we receive will depend on the elaborate nature of the medication platforms.
Ideally, we would like to stand the project from on a point. Tier 3 funding level would make this feasible while also adding a mediation platform in the middle of the merkabah. At full height, the project on its point would stand 27ft tall.
Footprint: 18.4ft x 18.4ft at base
Height: 26.6 ft
Electrical Draw: 2,000watts
Weight: 1,500 lbs
Heavy Equipment: Reach Fork and Boom/Scissor-lift
Other Notes: Needs 3,000 lbs of weights or lag bolts to
secure the base to the ground.
2020 (upcoming) Burning Man
2020 (Present) Toronto Light Festival
“Kukulkan’s Portal,” by American artist Abram Santa Cruz, is made up of a giant acrylic merkaba (a Hebrew symbol consisting of two intersecting tetrahedrons) enclosed in an aluminum frame. It’s full of spiritual references: the merkaba represents a higher consciousness, and the design references Kukulkan, the Mayan serpent to be the portal between the physical and spiritual worlds:
Abram Santa Cruz comes from Mayan descent via his grandfather on his father’s side. He comes from a tribe that is of mayan descent about 2 hours south of Mexico City near the city of Puebla. Abram wanted to tune in with that part of his heritage in designing this project because of the spiritual meaning that the merkabah holds with various cultures from around the world and tying that into the spiritual Mayan symbology.
Abram Santa Cruz chose depict Kukulkan’s image on the cube because of its encompassing theological meaning in Mayan and Aztec culture. “Kukulkan is the Mayan Feathered Serpent god of wind, sky, rain and Sun. He is also the creator that gave mankind his learning and laws.” Source. Kukulkan was also known to be the portal between the physical world in the spiritual world.
‘Spiritually, the Merkabah (stellated octahedron or dual tetrahedra), also spelled Merkaba, is the divine light vehicle allegedly used by ascended masters to connect with and reach those in tune with the higher realms. “Mer” means Light. “Ka” means Spirit. “Ba” means Body. Mer-Ka-Ba means the spirit/body surrounded by counter-rotating fields of light, (wheels within wheels), spirals of energy as in DNA, which transports spirit/body from one dimension to another.’ Source
Combining Kukulkan with the merkabah made perfect theological sense as we plan on adding a meditation platform at the center of the merkabah. By providing a meditation platform, Kukulkan can take the visitor on a journey into themselves and into those high realms.
Kukulkan’s Portal is a modular geometric sculpture in honor of the new discoveries made in mathematics and science. Although the cube and the stellated octahedron shapes are not new to mathematics, researchers have claimed to have invented a new class of equilateral convex polyhedra.
“Since Plato’s work, two other classes of equilateral convex polyhedra, as the collective of these shapes are called, have been found: Archimedean solids (including truncated icosahedron) and Kepler solids (including rhombic polyhedra). Nearly 400 years after the last class was described, researchers claim that they may have now invented a new, fourth class, which they call Goldberg polyhedra.” Source
Polyhedra falls into the Kepler solids category and worked as a stepping stone to the new findings.
Kukulkan’s Portal is lined with 10,000 programmable LEDs. The lights will be embedded within the acrylic layers of the merkaba. The aluminum cube truss is lined with strands of LEDs and is diffused with lexan panels behind the lasercut design of kukulkan on aluminum skins.
On Tier 1 funding, we will have a meditation platform where by the entire project will be standing on a point on top of a 6 to 8 ft metal pyramid.
On Tier 2 funding, we will have a meditation platform accessible via a ladder to the midpoint of the merkabah. The merkabah will be reinforced to withstand the additional weight.
On Tier 3 funding, we will have a sound interactive detection system to animate the lighting design. We’ll complete phase 1 of the project which will include painting the cube to a green oxidized patina look. The idea is to make it look like it has been sitting in the jungle for ages. And the merkabah will be cast in resin to give it a marble look.
Participants will also be able to sit inside the project and move through the project to appreciate the elegance of the geometric relationships from within.
List of crew members already committed to the project:
Myself – Lead Artist
Andrea E. – Welder
Structural Engineer – NEED
Topher M. – General Shop Manager
Victor S. – General Handyman
Michelle – Electrical Work
Gabby – Painter
Jeddin W. – Resin Artist
Charles D – LED Engineer and Programmer
We have an additional crew of 6 ready to help build the project on site.
Total crew of 14 is required on the playa for a 2-3 day assembly and another 1-2 days at camp.
Tier 1 | $40,000
Tier 2 | $30,000
Tier 3 | $20,000
I have successfully been bringing art to the playa for the past 8 years in a row without a single grant from Burning Man. I’ve done this through kickstarters and through leasing my art to other festivals in order to improve and build my projects.
I’ll continue to do the same. So far I’ve spent $40,000 to get where I’m at today with Kukulkan’s Portal. I’ve done this with $20,000 from the Toronto Light Festival and $12,000 in fundraising through friends and family and covered the rest on my own.
I have a plan for a kickstarter campaign which I expect to raise about $10k-15k out of the next $40k of estimated budget. I also believe I’ll have one more exhibit before the burn which should net me about $15-20k.
I expect I will have 100% of my funds covered by about June.