Cracking the Da Vinci Code: The 'Mechanical Lion' Pops into Burning Man, Creating Chaos

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Two Hundred and Twenty-One folks will take part in a quiz to decipher the ‘Mechanical Lion’. At a particular place and time during Burning Man 2016, they’ll receive an envelope containing a piece of a map with a riddle, a quote, or what the author coined as an ‘Arielism’- an original short set of quotes to help define the map of higher consciousness.

Ariel De Lion, alephnull, burning man, da vinci code

Burning man 2016 - cracking the Da Vinci code

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci

The ‘Mechanical Lion’ concisely conveys the kind of extreme enthusiasm a riddle-filled, code-breaking, and exhilarating brain quest could unleash- and what a better place than Burning Man 2016's Da Vinci's Workshop theme for exactly that. And it’s only the beginning, the ‘Mechanical Lion’ will extend further into Burning Man 2017 and beyond.

One of the 221 quotes cloaked in a code along with a follow-up letter illustrates how to decipher it. The letter suggests several ways to find the cloaked quote, and the first among many is ‘Work with others’, which springs from the spirit of Burning Man. Other options include, ‘Collect the red letters’, ‘Assemble the Map’ or ‘find the ‘Thunder Gumbo’ mutant art car deep in the playa’ and more.

It would be a sin to reveal too much of the follow-up letter in advance, but here how it starts: "This code consigns you with exclusivity to find other beings with shared values and passions, who walk the same path... If you are reading this, you might have the cloaked quote with the code, or exclusively have 1 out of 221 important Da Vinci map pieces to decipher the code." ~The Code.

The author Ariel De Lion and artist Steffi Min in this gleefully erudite suspense quest take the format they have been developing at Future Clear and AlephnUll into an immersive international journey. Future Clear is a Brooklyn-based production collective creating environments and events to act as experiments, testing grounds, for the formation of a new way of living and interaction. AlephnUll is a team of professionals aiming to achieve an active field required for the foundation of literature, clinical research and examination of the consciousness phenomena.

The Mechanical Lion’, history’s first programmable computer drawings, were exhibited in Milan, around 1495 by Leonardo Da Vinci, to demonstrate an old man's prowess and to flatter and amuse the new French king. Even in the technology-sated early 21st century, it remains impressive. In the early 16th century, it was the highest of hi-tech, over 300 years ahead of its time.

NASA scientist, Mark Rosheim, claimed that Da Vinci’s “programmed carriage for automata” were: “...the first known example in the story of a civilization of the programmable computer.”

Da Vinci’s original “Mechanical Lion” has been long lost.

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Ariel De Lion
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Steffi Min
Future Clear
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