Joel Lam's "Hive-Mined = Memories"

Joel Lam at Burning Man 2014 Name/Burner Name: Joel Lam (Boss)

Current city: Cincinnati, OH

Theme camp/burner group name and description: Camp One (because I camped alone since my friends missed getting tickets before Mosaic sold out)

Art piece name and description:

  • Piece #1: "Hive-Mined = Memories" A hive is nothing but a collection of cells. A mind is nothing but a collection of memories. This piece consists of 104 custom-made cells. Each cell contains an experience or feeling. You’re challenged to remember the last time (or first time) you experienced or felt it. Where were you? What was going on at that time? 

    Hive-Mined = Memories

    Hive-Mined = Memories (at night)

  • Piece #2: "Hive-Mined = Teamwork" The treasure inside is great, but the real treasure is the journey to unlock it. This chest is locked with a number combo. Work with others to solve the clues and gather information from Theme Camps in order to unlock the treasure. This piece is meant to encourage socializing and give you an excuse to speak to strangers. 

    Hive-Mined = Teamwork

  • Piece #3 (not installed due to weather): "Hive-Mined = Teambuilding" One bee can’t build a hive. Two bees can’t build a hive. Only a team of bees can build a hive. This is a monument to teambuilding. The sphere on top represents a hive, the ultimate goal for any team. Each model represents an aspect of a good team (e.g. Trust, Cooperation). Hidden teammates under the platform represent the necessary hard work that goes unseen. Together, the team builds the tower that reaches their goal.

Hive-Mined = Teambuilding

Inspiration for art:

  • "Hive-Mined = Memories" --> Circles with Candles: Friends and I were at a bar and I complained about lacking inspiration. Then magically a clip of John Travolta at the Academy Awards (mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name) came on the TVs. I noticed the background behind Travolta and it was beautiful. I knew exactly what I wanted after that.
  • "Hive-Mined = Teamwork"--> Treasure Chest: My friend saw an amazing art installation on the playa this year. He told me all about a cabinet that required simple riddles/puzzles to unlock it. He was really floored by it. I never found that installation but liked the idea and tried to add a socializing aspect. Thanks to the theme camps who contributed fun facts.
  • "Hive-Mined = Teambuilding" --> Tower: I worried no one would visit the other pieces so designed something tall to attract attention. It’d be a beacon for my little art area. The Burn decided it wasn’t needed, but I enjoyed building it nonetheless.

Time spent on making art: Circles with Candles = 25 hours. Treasure Chest = 5 hours. Mosaic Muses inside Treasure Chest = 2 hours. Tower = 5 hours.

Helpers/assistant builders: Kenneth Areas helped me with dry-runs at home to assemble and disassemble. Kat Pope and Colin Smith helped me assemble Piece #1 at Mosaic.

Challenges during the build: Challenge #1 = Being ok with displaying my art / overcoming my fear that everyone would ignore, dislike, or not understand it. Challenge #2 = Weather. Building something that can withstand the wind, morning dew, and rain. And hail! Challenge #3 = Logistics to transport and safely disassemble/reassemble at Mosaic.

What skills did you learn that will help you with your next art piece: How to cut PVC pipe, how to use zip ties instead of rope or wire, and how to walk away from my art / not hover so I’m there to explain it.

How many years have you been burning? When did you first start burning? 5 months. I started May 2014.

Where was your first burn and what was it like? Who told you about it? Scorched Nuts 2014 was my first burn. I found it online and went to meet people / get advice before going to Burning Man. It was amazing.

How did you find out about mosaic? What did you think of it? Kat Pope and Britt Marie B told me about Mosaic. I thought it was great. Everything came together really well. The effigy burn was fantastic.

What art projects are you currently working on? Repurposing the tower into a cat tree, building a throne that hopefully fits the theme for Scorched Nuts 2015, and incorporating a waterfall into my next art pieces.

What projects do you hope to do in the future? I hope to someday organize a lamplighter ceremony at a regional burn, build the Temple at a regional burn, and maybe even create an art car / mutant vehicle.

Do you have a link to where people can learn more about your art? No, but maybe I’ll create a link someday.

Closing Remarks: Thank you to the entire Mosaic team. Your hard work was a great success and it’s very much appreciated. Thanks to the burner community for welcoming an enthusiastic newbie. I encourage everyone to volunteer at their next burn. It makes the experience even better!