DOOP – Dog Out Of Place

DOOP – Dog Out Of Place

It wasn’t long after I found and named DOOP that I knew he would be coming back to Burning Man in the future, I just wasn’t sure when and in what form. For a while it looked as if he would return as a camp dog, hanging out in hammocks and feigning some type of attitude (although quite what type was hard to imagine, which you would understand if you had met him back then – he was a rather pathetic pup).

Sledding on Hudson Bay, 2012.
Sledding on Hudson Bay, 2012.

I’m also not sure when I came up with the idea of having him drive a sled with people dragging him around, but it must have been while on the runners, staring at the rear ends of a team of dogs, on one of my annual winter sledding trips. It was probably at one of those points when, lost in the mesmerizing rhythm of fast dogs on fast snow, I am snapped back into reality by a dog glaring at me over its shoulder reminding me that we are now on a steady incline and it’s high time I jump off and help by pushing.

So now I find myself building an art car, I mean sled, that rolls on wheels and is pulled by three bicycles and driven by a 4’ 10” tall, soft, toy dog with a mechanical right rear leg.

The idea……
The idea……

Why do this? Why not. As with all such whimsical projects the reasoning behind it is difficult to explain, and if it doesn’t strike you as justifiable by its sheer silliness and absurdity, then maybe this is not the project for you.

Who will pull the sled? Anyone who wants to jump on a bike and peddle. Using passing persons is actually a cost saving device as utilizing stray people means I don’t have to maintain a series of kennels, or a people yard, and at least for a short time it will keep them off the streets and out of trouble..

Besides just being fun and an enjoyable, interactive machine, it is also another opportunity for us – the ArtifexGroup – to create the second in our series of projects through which we cooperatively build art and teach others design and fabrication skills (the first project being our flagship – literally – the C.S. Tere, check out the “Supported Projects” tab above for more information). ArtifexGroup was founded on the idea that when people are given the right tools, materials, and education they can create a better world. We are a volunteer group of beginner to experienced Metal Artists who intend to help people with their individual art, as well as bring large and small collaborations to life.

Besides Burning Man, I intend to take DOOP to other art and maker events to represent the work of ArtifexGroup. Being a much smaller and more manageable size he will be invaluable as a demonstration of our work and purpose.

Most pressing right now is how this build will be funded? I will soon be launching a KickStarter campaign to raise $1,972.

Why $1,972? This is the basic amount of cash needed to create the sled as envisioned – sled, bikes, miscellaneous hardware, lights, fire….. The sub frame needed to strengthen the sled and to which the wheels are attached is being made from off cuts of steel. As many recycled/upcycled/repurposed materials as possible are being used in this build.

Any additional money raised over and above $1,972 will be applied to the cost of transporting DOOP to and from events; he needs a trailer (rented, bought or built), as he has no desire to ride the sled from venue to venue, even if he could round up enough stray people willing to drag him around. Then there are other items not included in the basic build budget, such as spare parts, bike repair supplies, propane for the fire, and so forth.

Why a sledding Pennant? Why are you using “sled” and not “sledge”? What does Scott of the Antarctic have to do with this anyway? All great questions which I intend to answer here in the near future.

So please, consider throwing DOOP a bone, so to speak, once the KickStarter goes live – I’ll post here when this occurs. Even $1 would be a much appreciated treat. Thanks.

DOOP sledding pennant (left) on it's first outing, Hudson Bay, 2012.
DOOP sledding pennant (left) on it’s first outing, Hudson Bay, 2012.