Project: Archaeopteryx

Location: Black Rock City, NV

Year: 2019

Team:  Nicholas DeBruyne, Mark Ransley, David Smith, Alana Hutton-Shaw, Allison Horner, Erica DeBruyne, Valentyn Syenin, Emily Eve Shannon, Ali Vermilio, JP Thwaits, Mathias Gmachl, Marjorie and Michael DeBruyne

Archaeopteryx (pronounced arch-ee-op-ter-rix) is a light sculpture that debuted at Burning Man Festival 2019, designed to bring people together.

Rising from the dust, our sculpture invites you to touch, explore, and inhabit.  In order to activate her fullest potential; people must work together. Through collaboration, participants can mobilize her 20ft wingspan and activate beautiful illuminating light graphics.

Named after the first bird known to evolve from the ancient dinosaur, the work is centered around the theme of evolution.  The Archaeopteryx marked an important leap in the story of evolution on earth, and the project is a physical and symbolic reminder that in order for humans to evolve, we must work together.


Making of Archaeopteryx:

This logistically complex project on a site with extreme conditions in the middle of the desert was accomplished only by a truly collaborative effort.

Explore a Digital Microcosm:

As participants are seated, sensors detect and relay their presence into the projection canvas where they become a protagonist within a simulated microcosm, manifest as a virtual "cell."  Your cell is able to grow, divide, and merge with other participants in real-time over the duration of your interaction.

When participants leave the work, their cell fades to the background and becomes part of the history of the piece.  In this way, the Archaeopteryx presents a collective memory of each person who has experienced it and will grow more full and vibrant as the number of participants increases over time.

With special thanks to:

Typhaine Sotes

Katie Hazard

Ali Vermilio

Rhian Lowe

Richard Harding

Hugh Thomas

Natalie Nicole


Ryan Donald

Rachelle Eisentrager

Kayleigh DeBruyne

Jay Dill

Jim & Barbara Vandygriff

Brenna Baily and Truckie

Monroe County Public Library

Hetal Patel

David & Martha Moore

Far Gallery

Ignition Arts

Jessica Fry & The Generator Reno Charlotte Paul & SCORE

Shane Spring

Philippe Meicler

Owen Craven

Vincent Rommelaere

Dave Siegert

Dian Hartono

Canaan Folk-Reinke

Ted Werth

Don Papa Rum

Mary Gin

Kyunghee Mun

Marion Hunt

Torey Carrick

Chris & Kaitlyn Gin

Bill & Vicky Polanski

Cath Shannon

Susan Pritzker

Rebekah Nagy

Gina Vermilio-Shaw

Kevin Workman

Bob Vandygriff

Megan & Matt Wieck

Parker Walters

Loraine Martin

Madison Bischof

Ahmad Sadraei

Greg Gember

Gail & Steven Hale

Dave Askins & B Square Beacon

Jennifer Tilley & The Herald Times

Susan Kelly

Janice Lilly

Sarah Pugh

Sharon Mayell

Genna Dynice

Barbara Schuetter Dill

Sabrina Richter