The Steampunk Treehouse

Posted on Sep 21, 2007


I recently had the good fortune to disrupt my sleep schedule and other biological rhythyms for the sake of the Steampunk Treehouse. My sleep schedule is coming back around but my head is still spinning from the experience. If you know me, you know I work on a pretty small scale. This was a community art project on a massive scale. The result was magic, a fantastical alternate reality. It was as if the Eifel Tower, a submarine, a tree, and a Victorian house all got together and had a baby. Perhaps it’s best described by it’s mastermind, artist Sean Orlando:

So, if you will, imagine another sort of tree. One from a not-too-distant future where the last are penned in special National Maximum Security Parks. The memory of a tree is so far gone from living memories that people try to recreate what they imagine they’ve lost using another sort of Romantic imaginary, one of machinery, scavenged gears, gathered belts, hunted steam pipes, gleaned gauges, rusty metal and gobs and gobs of steam. Our natural world has changed, yet the human drive to connect with it and one another remains. It is second nature. Enter the Steampunk Tree House!

Sean speaks of the drive to “connect with one another,” and it seems clear that creating a community around the tree was as important to him as the tree itself. Perhaps you have heard about the dangers of “art by committee.” This was more like committee by art. The central vision of the tree was so strong and so compelling as to completely magnetize the imagination of all involved. Enabled by Sean’s gracious spirit, an amazing collection of individuals coelesced around this project. Hypnotized by it’s beauty in our minds, everyone set aside ego, rank, and contest in service of it’s creation. What a creation it was too. I hesitate to try and put it into words for fear of doing it a disservice. In one word, it was sublime. The whole process was charmed, free of drama, and something I was honored to be a part of. Big big thanks to Sean and the whole crew. I am honored to be a part.

For more media on the Steampunk Treehouse, check out the following links

Photos this page courtesy Zachary Wasserman, Lane Hartwell/Wired News, John Manyjohns, and NK Guy

1 Comment

  1. I saw this at Burning Man, it was very cool! They had people doing aerial silks off it when I saw it, neat stuff!

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