Art Projects

Eyes of Gawd

The Eyes of Gawd is an EL wire project designed by Jim Bowers, and implemented by Jim, myself, and many others. Jim had the idea to create a huge pair of eyes in the sky. The realization of that idea involved creating a 30' x 8' carbon-fiber structure that was covered with mesh. EL wire was attached to the structure to create the eyes themselves. The entire structure would be suspended beneath two industrial-sized helium balloons.

The project appeared on the playa in 2003 and 2004. Winds prevented us from flying the eyes in 2003, but we did get it airborne one night in 2004.  

In addition to looking cool, the eyes also could animate. They could blink, look left, and look right. Click the images below to see some of the sequences.

Project Party Videos

Sequencer Details

In 2003, the Eyes of Gawd used a 20 channel sequencer to make the eyes blink, look, left, look right, and pulse the strobe-light pupils. The sequencer was controlled via a radio link board designed by Tim Black. Commands were entered through a keyfob controller.

When you initiated a sequence, you held down the button to make the sequence pause midway. For example, if you held the blink button, the eyes would close and stay closed until you released the button. Similar effects occurred for the look-left, look-right sequences. The strobes are slightly different. The strobes pulse only while the button is held down. A fifth button on the keyfob lets you toggle the speed of the Eyes of Gawd operations between slow and fast.

In 2004, I updated the Eyes of Gawd sequencer. As a test for the new Terrasphere hardware, the Eyes of Gawd sequencer was reimplemented using the same hardware that would drive the Terrasphere. The result was 36 independent channels, which allowed for independent control of each eye. Previously, the left and right eyes moved in unison.

Also changed for 2004 is the power systems. The new Eyes of Gawd was powered by either 12 Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries or 8 regular alkaline batteries while it's in the air. On the ground it ran directly off of a 12-volt power source.


Look left and right