The Power Station
In the fall of 2012, at the end of the run of the Hippo Hotel, Dedo Vabo partnered up with fellow hippo Chris Wagganer to pitch The Power Station to The Coachella Music and Arts Festival. It marked the first absurdist, performance-based installaion that the festival has comissioned since it began in 1999. The concept involved an elaborate electrical power station facility, harnessed by the raw energy of robust hippopotamuses. Teaming up with resident madman Syd Klinge, the Power Station featured Tesla Coils and Jacob's Ladders pulsing live current on the roof and walls of the structure.
"THEY MUST BE DAFT PUNK"
Rumors had been swelling that the hippos were in fact the popular band Daft Punk. On the final night of Coachella, after the Red Hot Chili Peppers closed out their act, the entire festival audience swarmed the Power Station. The perimeter fence surrounding the structure was trampled as 100,000 fans descended upon the piece, dancing and screaming.
Coachella security busted through our door, into the tech booth, and demanded
that the lights and music be shut off.
The structure itseld spanned over 360 square feet with multiple smoke stacks that soared over 32 feet high and pumped clean, white steam into the desert sky. The Power Station was designed from the ground up to be a theatrical shadow box, with 1/4 of the retaining walls being constructed out of transparent materials to allow a voyeurs to gaze at the madness occurring within.
Outfitted on the roof of the structure were three, active tesla coils, that sent arcs of lightning into the night sky at regular intervals. Three 7 foot tall Jacob's ladders, housed inside clear, acrylic columns below the awning, created high voltage arcs of electricity that traveled upwards along copper tubes into the awning above. An array of 10 foot satellite dishes panned the night sky along the perimeter of the structure along with the two largest, dueling tesla coils in the world.
Although Dedo Vabo had volunteered to work on a variety of installations and crews for Burning Man and Coachella in the past, The Power Station marked their first solo adventure into creating original large scale works.