Forge of Hephaestus


Duncan Anderson


Project Philosophy The Forge of Hephaestus is an on-theme interactive art experience designed around a Lichtenberg device. Hephaestus was the god of fire, metalworking, stone masonry, forges and the art of sculpture. He was a patron of the arts and, alongside Athena, was responsible for teaching humanity the arts, particularly sculpture. Hephaestus invented shackles (handcuffs) specifically for Zeus when he ordered the arrest of Sisyphus, leading directly to Sisyphus’ deception and imprisonment of Thanatos, the god of Death. This set off the chain of events that led to Sisyphus final condemnation to eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was a master craftsman and a master artist, creating art and inventions of extraordinary beauty that sharply contrasted his homely appearance. The fire stolen by Prometheus to give to mankind was stolen from his forge. Along with Dionysus, Hephaestus is almost certainly a Grecian mythological patron of burner culture. The Forge will be a proper tribute to this god of fire, sculpture, and invention. It will harness staggering power in a unique manner to create art for humanity, and then it will burn.

Project Design You can see a 3D design and pinch zoom, pan, rotate, etc! here,

The forge sits inside a burned and blasted temple to Hephaestus, ravaged by time but also by the immense power that it houses: a powerful stonework forge channeling inhuman energies. The power of the gods. The primary structure will have eight pillars, but only three remain standing. The remaining pillars will function as seating for spectators, and fallen pillars will be used to gate off areas for safety. The wood will be *heavily* fire treated to make the structure appear blasted, using both Shou Sugi Ban and Lichtenberg techniques.

The interior will be lit with diffuse LEDs to make it appear that a fire burns within, and will also house the primary interactive component, the lichtenberg device. The device will be controlled using copper contacts on two long wooden dowels, so that participants can ‘stoke’ the forge and control how the Lichtenberg pattern is applied.

Project Interactivity Participants stumbling across this forge in the dark of night may, for a night, wield the power of Hephaestus and forge an object of tremendous power. The Forge is first and foremost an interactive art experience for burners to wield extraordinary power and forge a small artifact. Because of the inherent danger of the Lichtenberg device the artists will work shifts after sunset ensuring that the device is operated safely and appropriately. A Lichtenberg device converts traditional AC power (20A @ 120V) into extremely high voltage low amperage power (9000V @ .03A). Running this voltage across an ionized piece of wood creates beautiful spidered/fractal burn marks across the wooden surface. Each participant will have the opportunity to select a piece of wood, ionize it with a mister filled with a mysterious magical liquid, and then place it inside the device. They can then ‘stoke’ the forge using mounted contacts to pattern their artifact. Once the device is activated, the light pattern of the structure will accelerate, other effects like a smoke machine in the roof will activate, and the Lichtenberg device will be powered, scorching 9000 volts through their chosen artifact. Since Hephaestus was responsible for the forging of almost every magical device in greek mythology, once the forge is finished, participants will have the opportunity to ‘infuse’ their piece with colored waxes, hammering wax flakes into the electrical channels and then using a heat gun to evenly melt it into colored metallic inlays. The end result should be an artifact that looks to have been blasted by the god of the forge himself. The forge will also have a wood burning device to allow participants to modify or inscribe their artifact, and some artifacts will be pre-lasered with ‘Flipside 2019: Forge of Hephaestus’.

Does the piece incorporate flame effects, moveable pieces, and/or is it climbable?


Post Event the artists may give a workshop to the Flipcitizens.  We might expect to see a workshop on:

I think it would be really cool to do a workshop on VR art and 3D design at the warehouse. I know three people with VR systems and we could set up a training and demos with the software that I use to do my project design, as well as 3D painting applications like tiltbrush.

Note: If you as a Flipizen would like to provide them with more support you can find info here.