Continuing in the tradition of creative, unique and mind blowing art on the playa, artist Jim Bowers, The TriBe, a talented team of Laser Technology Scientists, expert craftsmen and other artists from around the world designed and created what is The “Worlds Largest Timepiece” called the “1MileClock” for the Burning Man Festival in September 2011. Burning Man is an annual festival of Radical Self Expression held annually in September in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada USA. In October of 2012 the 1MileClock was OFFICIALLY recorded into the Guinness Book of World Records.
At over 5500′ feet wide, high powered 1.6 watt lasers kept accurate time with hour, minute and second hands marking artistic 22′ towers over the heads of the 50,000 festival goers.
The 1MileClock project filled the entire mile wide inner playa as the “face” of the clock. “Black Rock Cities” radial streets that run in the direction of The Man are already numbered like a clock. 12 o’clock being straight up from “the Man” (in front of “The Temple”) with 6 o’clock at the bottom at “center camp”. Near the center of the circular city we erected three high powered lasers on top of a forty foot cell tower.
These three green lasers “ticked” around the city as infinite “hands on a clock”. Each of the three laser beams represented, the hour, minute and ticking second hand, while keeping perfect time using precision laser hardware, mirrors and custom software.
Each laser started out as a pinpoint from the center tower and widened out at the esplanade (outside diameter of the clock) making each hand “bigger” and easier to identify from over three miles away. The more dust in the air, the more visible and brighter the hands.
The lasers were controlled by a custom software program (written by Tim Black “The Wizard”) which kept accurate time, using ultra high speed rotating mirrors to accurately position the hands of the clock every 1/2000 of a second. The projects 52 member international Art team created 4’x6′ Art Panels, installed on each side of the twelve, 22′ tall clock towers which were positioned around the outside diameter of the clock. Several featured artists created “LIVE Paintings” during scheduled performances throughout the week long festival.
During the daylight hours, when the lasers were not visible, the clocks central tower acted as a GIANT sundial, casting a shadow across 8 large granite slabs, marking the time during the day. At 7pm each evening, the Clocks Lasers automatically powered up and kept accurate time throughout the night.
In the Guinness Book, the 1MileClock project will be listed under its own new category, titled “Worlds Largest Timepiece”. When it does appear in the book, it will be included in the 2014 edition which is due out Mid 2013. This feat marks the first “OFFICIAL” world record at the Burning Man festival since its inception in 1986.
For a complete photographic history of the 1MileClock, check out hundreds of pictures at:
Watch the 1MileClock video (Part 1 and Part 2) at;
“Burning Time” Project Developers are:
- Jim Bowers (Artist and clock project creator)
Position: Project director, lead artist.
- Marcus Hertlein (Laser Physicist Lawrence Berkeley) Position: Laser design and lead laser construction
- Arlen Bodily (Construction contractor, builder, fabricator)
Position: Tower Director: design and construction supervisor
- Tim Black (Software engineer, inventor, artist)
Position: Laser assembly and Software design.
- Russell Wilcox (Laser Researcher/Physicist, creator of “Beaming Man” – Lawrence Berkeley Labs) Position: Laser apparatus CAD design and engineering.
- Dan Pritchett (Nuclear Physicist, pilot, laser specialist and solar technology researcher)
Position: Solar/power supply, laser support, project pilot.
- Brad Lindsey ( Inventor, fabricator, laser and solar design)
Position: Project design, Pyro and safety director, project pilot
For more information on the clock project contact firstname.lastname@example.org