"DDR with fire! That’s my next project! I have to do it!"
So in the course of a 2-minute instant messenger conversation we were like, "Yeah and we could get Jonathon to help us with the code and Matt to help us build flame throwers! It’ll be great and it’ll be so easy and so much fun!" And you know, it’s not terribly easy but it is a good idea.
GN: . . . and it just crashed.
Morley: Ooh yeah. . .Wow, it hella crashed.
GN: That’s not good! So uhh – Did you play Dance Dance Revolution before this project?
Morley: I played DDR here and there. I originally played about 4 years ago; my friend took me to an arcade when I played it for the first time. I didn’t want to play at first I was like, "This is so lame. . " but after I did I was like "Oh my god this is the coolest game ever!" So I got a home pad and I play here and there. I was never terribly good I was always just a weekend enthusiast. So I knew the game it was just, whenever I was around a pad.
GN: Right, I’m the exact same way these days. Were there any major setbacks for the project or did it mostly go as planned?
Morley: I wouldn’t say we’ve had major setbacks, but we’ve had a lot of small setbacks. You know, the igniter doesn’t work or the wiring comes undone, or we can’t find the part we need and have to buy a new one. We haven’t had any big, huge things that have stalled us for days or weeks at a time. It’s just that the project is so varied; there’s like a hundred different subsets to the project. There’s the air-system, the electronics, the heating system; there is just all sorts of different elements and every one of them has it’s own sort of debugging to do.
GN: Safety wise, has anything ever gone wrong?
Morley: Nothing has gone wrong. . to anybody outside of our group! We’ve never hurt anyone we don’t know! When we first got the suits we started off easy. You know, stick your hand into the fire, can you feel it? Okay now hold it in the fire, now let’s shoot you, let’s you more, from this angle that angle. . we’ve had a couple occasions where the flame licked up under the hood and singed peoples hair off. . but nobody ever got burned. As a result we modified the suits so that now they have an extra flap on the inside to seal it up.
We’re all pretty safety minded and if anything this project is over-engineered on a safety end. We have so many fail-safe systems and the suits are ridiculous overkill for what we’re actually doing. You could have the flame throwers opened up on you for a full 30 seconds and you would be fine, and we’re only doing little pops.
GN: What is the ultimate goal of this project?
Morley: We first conceived it with Burning Man in mind and there has been a lot of different art with fire where people make sculptures or even sometimes the artist themselves are involved with fire like they spin fire or eat fire, something like that. But there has never, to our knowledge, been any sort of project where anybody -- just random people can really have the opportunity to really interact with the fire; to walk up and get into the thick of it.
That’s one of the things we liked about the idea, that we could just let anybody play and just give anybody the opportunity to feel what it’s like to be. . shot with a flame thrower! It’s pretty crazy! So having the opportunity to give that to anyone, just random people, it’s a lot of fun.
Dance Dance Immolation Video (3.71MB)