what's inside Jay's Suitcase ?
Jay's Suitcase was an art installation commemorating the life of Jindrich "Jay Mingle" Kadlec, an NYC artist, fabricator, and event producer who passed away in 2019. It was installed at Burning Man 2022 and was burned at Thursday September 1st at 9:30pm.
Can the creativity, memories, and love of a person fit within a single suitcase?
The artwork pavilion was a geodesic dome based on Buckminster Fuller's "Fly's Eye Dome". There were 26 circular openings: 2 at the base were doorways, 18 were covered with fabric, 5 were open to the sky, and from the topmost circle was hung a kinetic sculpture.
The structural dome elements were made of molded plywood. Steel tension hoops around each circular opening fastened the dome together.
The dome circular openings were covered with stretch fabric and were backlit with LEDs, creating a large-scale light artwork. The fabric was printed with a pattern directly inspired by Jay's famous pants.
Inside the dome was a kinetic sculpture. In the center, an open suitcase is floating and slowly rotating above eye level.
Directly outside the dome was an altar filled with pictures of Jay along with objects and keepsakes related to his life.
24 foot diameter dome, 16 feet tall
From afar, the dome pavilion was a light artwork in its own right. Washes and movement of light can be seen and appreciated from many distances.
The interior sculpture was a dreamlike spectacle floating and spinning in space.
An altar contained pictures and objects related to Jay, along with a cube filled with messages collected from friends and loved ones.
Provided headphones played a looping audio track where many of Jay's friends tell stories about him.
The artwork is inspired by a phase that Jay went through in 2010-11 in NYC - he used a large pink suitcase as a briefcase that he took with him everywhere even though it was hopelessly too large for the purpose. Maybe it was performance art - maybe it was a prank - who knows? He playfully refused to let anyone see what was inside no matter how many times we asked. Now that Jay is gone, we are left with that very suitcase - and by combining it with light and motion - the sculpture intends to capture Jay's enormous energy, his loyalty, his love, his many contributions and collaborations, his totally unique character, and his boundless spirit. The adjacent altar is a place where loved ones can leave messages, pictures, and objects to remember and celebrate Jay.
Though he never revealed what was in the suitcase so many years ago, one can't help but wonder what would Jay put in it now for his next journey? And if all of his loved ones could put something in that suitcase now - what would we put inside it? If it were some sort of magical suitcase that could be filled with anything no matter how big or small? One might guess that he would pack up all his favorite things, and favorite keepsakes, and all his memories. And that his loved ones could all include messages, and photographs, and objects that have meaning and connection to his life. That's what should be in the suitcase. And maybe that’s what was in the suitcase all along.
This project has made possible by the following organizations and people:
Grant Funding provided by the New York League of Arts
Shop space and CNC provided by Arch Production and Design
Metal Work by 4th State Metals
Plywood materials donation from D
Ridgewood shop space provided by Sariel
Transport donation by Madison
Test build site provided by Arturo
Significant donations from several private donors (you know who you are!)
Individual donations from many people on our GoFundMe and IndieGoGo campaigns