Hydra Desert Build

“Discover the mysterious beauty far beneath the murky depths of the rolling waves. Bizarre creatures of different shapes & sizes, living beings, timeless, multi-coloured, strolling in the secretive dark night. Shining eyes, a twinkle. Come closer & dare a glance into the pitch-black shadows of the darkness; entwined flowers of the water, sea anemones of rainbow dyed light. Move slowly, observe the hidden fragile wonder. . . “

The Hydra embodies the ability to biologically regenerate indefinitely. It does not age. It symbolizes renewal and growth, present and future, ascendance and transcendence.
It is yours to discover.

written: Malou Meckel edited: james tuft


Chapter 1 briefing in

Challenge: Feeling the need to be free of the city din and months behind screens. We set out to create a project that would challenge mind and heart and purge us our worries —To experience a full spectrum god complex —To create and destroy! This is that journey.



We had some idea already to create a kind of organic being like a tree. Our first attempts rendered willow trees —a message about water in the desert perhaps. And so Impressions of trees and eventually sea creatures begin to make their way into our design vernacular.


We settle on the idea that it should be a Hydra which is essentially a like a sea anemone and is biologically immortal. So we started to think about this idea of senescence or loss of a cell’s power of division and growth. Looking into other ways to be immortal in the metaphysical sense. Immortal creatures that we would ultimately burn.

3D rendering

Prototype in the abstract. This gave us a low stakes model from which to build and push our concept further.

Small scale prototype in the the material form.
model:(james tuft)

Floor geometry

To more accurately asses the maths and scales properly it was essential to create the footprint of our structure. this gave us a good idea about scale and helped us discern the levels as seen by blue and white tape.

Preparations – inventory of materials

Plans where now fast in hand. We threw a small party to raise funds and celebrate this halfway point. With the small budget we cobbled together from the party and our own investment we could get some of the tools and materials we needed. However the rest we would have to scavenge. Wood is very expensive and even more so when you plan to burn it.

Bamboo and pine where our main salvations as they were obtainable in out area at the cost of sweat and blood.


After lugging tons of materials up into a remote dessert region of South Africa we could finally build the structure in the silence of the desert. Our blood ravished by mosquitos. Baked by relentless daily heat and frost bitten by night. A desert is a harsh environment in which to create. Steps as seen left to right.


For better or worst 5 of us companions would set out to create something. We poured or love and hate into the project –experiencing highs and lows, not least our own ethical issues with what we where doing. Selfish hedonistic art. I have no regret about what we made out there but I have a new respect for the implications of bringing something into existence and taking it out. We watch months of planning and vacillation burn to ash in hours. We where then released from our work. Liberated from our toil, as if the structure held our souls trapped doggedly working to complete the beast. I hope we found what we where looking for out there. I for one have been irrevocably changed by the experience. I feel the memory has been assimilated within and sublimated me outwardly.

Big love



Malou Meckel
James Tuft
Gregorio Marangon
Benne Lavie
Murray Wolters
Jordi (nosoloadventure)

Post a comment