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Controlling the Tesseract at Burning Man. Photos by Adam Philipp

Sure, video games are fun to play with Microsoft Kinect. But what happens when you hook up the motion controller to a giant cube containing 216 fire-spitting terminals?

It’s called the Tesseract, and it’s an experience as much as a work of art. Kneel before it and move your arms, and the pattern of the flames will track your gestures, giving you full control of a fundamental element of nature.

Photos by Adam Philipp.

“The effect is so real, and tangible,” says James Reinhardt, an artist and fabricator who is one of the leaders of the Tesseract project. “You can feel the heat, you can hear it. Everything else goes away. It’s totally absorbing.”

A team from Seattle installed and operated a new version of the structure at Burning Man this year, with help from grants from the Burning Man Art Grants Committee, and a Kickstarter campaign that literally fueled the device. The name Tesseract refers to a four-dimensional cube in geometry, with the fourth dimension being time.

See the Tesseract in action in the video below, including one person toward the end who figured out the special sequence that makes all 216 terminals blow at once.

Now back from Burning Man, the team is working to make the Tesseract available for installation at events. For more, see this gallery of photos of the Tesseract by Adam Philipp, taken at Burning Man.

teaser from james reinhardt on Vimeo.

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