Flipside 2019 Art Spotlight: The Forge of Hephaestus*

The Forge of Hephaestus draws inspiration from a lot of places, but primarily from the allegorically dense theme of the burn this year, Sisyphean Celebration. Greek mythology is really rich with ideas and characters, many of which Sisyphus interacted with in one way or another. We chose Hephaestus, the god of Fire (sculpture, metalworking, masonry, and forges) because he was a patron of the arts and a bit of an odd duck. Of all the Greek pantheon, Hephaestus and Dionysus (wine, fertility, ‘ritual madness’) would perhaps have appreciated Flipside the most!

*The Forge of Hephaestus concept. This piece is in need of support/help. For details, please see: https://www.burningflipside.com/art-project/the-forge-of-hephaestus

The Forge is constructed out of more than 2000lbs of white limestone, a building material favored by the ancient Greeks. In order to design, build, and moop the Forge we will be hauling all this stone at least six times, quite a Sisyphean task! Hopefully, unlike Sisyphus, we will reach our goal.

Our goal is for participants to feel they have been transported into Greek myth. Electricity (lightning) and fire are some of the origins of ancient stories of magic and divine power, and for many in the modern era electricity still has a mysterious and magical quality. By hiding a very high voltage device inside our limestone forge, and by building our enclosing structure using appropriate Grecian architectural elements, we hope to create an environment and atmosphere that feels authentically ancient Mediterranean, The structure itself will appear to be burned and blasted from within, giving participants a chance to feel they are wielding a mythical and extraordinary power.

Each participant will wield enormous limestone hammers and manipulate hidden stone dials on the Forge to blast a wooden artifact with fire and lightning. When the smoke clears they will have a powerful token of the favor of the gods to take home with them.

We have just started construction but we have already learned a lot about limestone. Its an incredibly malleable material (and cheap!), quite easy to drill and cut for LED and electrical channels. We’ve also learned that its quite a pain to move even a very short distance without heavy equipment! So we can see why the Greeks loved to use it, the only downside is you need an army of laborers to get anything done!

I’d like to thank our growing team of artists and volunteers (which anyone is welcome to join) who are going to help us realize this dream. We would also like to thank Ignition Philter for partially funding the project with an art grant, and our future donors for helping us get across the finish line.
If you would like to donate to the project, check out our fundraising page here. If you would like to help us with wood, stone, fabrics, painting, blowtorching or anything else, please email me at duncan.anderson44@gmail.com