Site 3 Fire Arts is a community group made up of volunteers from a variety of different backgrounds. Based out of Site 3 coLaboratory, a makerspace in downtown Toronto, we create interactive fire projects that bring together art, engineering, software programming, stagecraft and game design. Our goal? Encourage friendly competition and the ridiculous smack talking that goes along with it by creating new ways for participants to control fire beyond just pushing buttons.

The Project (2012 Burning Man Honourarium)

Super Street Fire is a live-action adaptation of Street Fighter 2 only with the fire of a thousands suns. Set on a real-life version of Ryu’s classic stage, Super Street Fire sees two brave fighters duke it out while wearing motion-sensing gloves that capture every throw from perfectly timed blocks to deadly hadoukens. With each attack, fire hurtles towards the opponent as they scramble to retaliate or succumb to fiery damage. Still remember combos? Good. The stronger the attack, the greater the spectacle. As the countdown clock winds down, punches are thrown, life is lost, and a victor is named.

The Nerd Porn: Wearables

Similar to a Nintendo Wii-mote, the custom designed motion-sensing gloves contain intertial measurement units that capture a player’s actions. It then wirelessly sends this data to a game server that detects if those actions match one of the pre-trained game gestures. If the gesture is recognized, the game system gives feedback to the player by activating the flame effects.

The Nerd Porn: Flame Effects

The 32 flame effect heads are propane-fed devices that emit a column of fire high into the air. Flame effects are expressed as two rails of eight computer controlled flame effect heads, one rail for the right hand gestures and one for the left, as well as an outer ring of sixteen flame effects triggered by special combos or controlled by the Master of Games for crowd engagement. The game system is computer hardware and software with an Arduino microcontroller that interfaces with the flame effect head solenois to regulate both the intensity and duration of the flame.

The Project

What could possibly be better than Skee Ball? How about fire-erupting Skee Ball? Lovingly dubbed Riskee Ball, this reimagined arcade staple will blast fire from the central row of target holes and straight out the top when some serious celebrating is in order. Topped with rotating warning lights and air horns to signal special game modes, like sudden death eruption mode where points scored on one machine triggers flames on them all, this bank of ten modular machines are the perfect addition to any pyromaniac’s arcade. Play it at the Charcade, a 2013 Burning Man Honourarium project.

The Nerd Porn: Flame Effects

The flame effect control system is custom designed hardware that will activate the five flame effects on each machine. One large effect head will connect to two outlets on the top, and four flame effects will fire through the target holes. Feeding of the machine’s primary fuel line, a low pressure pilot system made of perforated copper pipe will circle each of the four central holes, so they glow with a constant ring of flame. The machines themselves will be constructed using formed aluminum, and the ramps will be made of aluminum sheet that can be rolled for easy transportation to our favourite dust city.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
My hobbies include lighting things on fire and going to far too many meetings. I’m one of the founders of Site 3 coLaboratory, a community makerspace in downtown Toronto, and my first foray into big dumb fire art was in 2010 when I designed the control hardware for The Heart Machine.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
I was the volunteer coordinator for Super Street Fire in 2012, during which time I fell in love with fire arts and telling people what to do (but in a nice way with lots of smiles and glitter). I’m also an engineer with a history of blowing up jet engines (on purpose).

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
I’m a colourful, vintage-loving, copywriting dork with a knack for stringing words together and a raging appreciation for grammatical correctness. I began as a writer for Super Street Fire and quickly expanded my title to writer/carpenter/rope knotter/LNT lead/co-fundraising lead. From then on, I was doomed.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
During the day, I develop mobile and web applications, which led me to creating the tablet control interface for Super Street Fire. Before long I was doing software, electronics, plumbing, and woodworking, respectively, and soon realized that flamethrowers are way cooler than software.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
I’m a software engineer, craft brewer, and a generally amicable geek. I joined S3FA when Super Street Fire was still a prototype in 2011, and it has been a fantastic experience that has allowed me to hone my skills in game play programming and gesture recognition. Also, I appreciate the idea of hadouken-ing fire.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
Hey folks, I’m a software engineer from the east coast. I love building interactive art installations (especially if they shoot fire!) and finding weird new things to do with technology. I think one should try everything twice because the first time might be a trick.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
I’m an interactive art director, cackling maniac, super sponge who is surrounded by the most remarkable people I’ve ever met. I’m quite good at asking a million questions and learning as much as possible about everything. I bring a large body of knowledge in interactive marketing, design and usability.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
In 2013, I discovered that I could apply my electronics and automation skills to making giant bursts of flame. It didn’t take long for fire to lure me into the art world. Since then, electronics that don’t result in mass amounts of blinky lights and [intentional] fire have somewhat lost their appeal.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
With a voracious appetite for new knowledge, I help out where I can, from code to soldering to lifting heavy things (and the occasional bout of moral support). Seeing the look of wonder in a crowd of faces lit by fire is what keeps me coming back for more.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
I have a degree in physics that I paid for by renovating houses. I joined a makerspace to do mad science and play with big fire. I believe that hanging a hundred feet in the air off a bridge so you can do an art project is not a bad thing. My name is Marc, and I like to build things.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
I’ve been helping out on the software side of Super Street Fire since the initial prototype. When not writing code that triggers large jets of flame, I like to hang out with friends or my kid. My day job involves wrangling and visualizing data related to Internet security and censorship, which is also pretty fun.

SSF, Charnival
I’m a long-time burner, Regional Rep, native Nevadan, and notorious charmer. In the default world, I’m a nineteen-year veteran of the video game industry with over twenty games under my Utilikilt on nearly every platform.

SSF, RB, Charcade
With over 20 years of experience in fabrication and carpentry, I’ve built set designs, high-end cottages, kegerators, and everything in between. When it comes down to it, I’m a glutton for punishment who loves to work with my hands and I’ve been known to go crazy if I have nothing to build.

SSF, RB, Charcade
I am a creature with a diverse understanding of things. My skill set ranges across multiple industries including: textiles, electronics, software, wood and metal fabrication. Currently I am infatuated with making costumes and wearable art.

SSF, RB, Charcade
I volunteered with SSF my first year on playa and helped build Riskee Ball in 2013. I love to make things and seeing them come together all over the continent is a great feeling. What will we come up with next?

Howdy! I’m S3FA’s resident clown and sparklepony extraordinaire, enamored with making our installations as fantastical as they are technically brilliant. In my free time I like to light things on fire and spin them around in circles. I also play fetch and chase my tail when I get excited.

I first visited Burning Man on my honeymoon in 2005. Since then, I have found enrichment in the Toronto Burner community, BurnT, and have returned to the playa almost every year. I am fulfilled by the Burning Man community and look forward to its eventual and complete encroachment onto defaultia.

I hooked up with S3FA while taking a propane safety course. I later became SSF Logistics Lead after deciding that getting a major fire art piece to the playa couldn’t be that much trickier than bringing my 4-year-old to her first burn a few years prior. I still have a not-so-secret fondness for wood fires.

I live to change the way that people think, especially showing people that things that are ‘impossible’ are actually possible. By day, I do this with data and graphs. By night, I do it with wordplay and puns. I was lucky to join S3FA during the Riskee Ball build, where I learned all about fire plumbing and falafel cooking.

Some people enjoy tranquility, soft music, and organized sock drawers; I am not one of them. Coyote is my metaphorical copilot. (My literal copilot is shrieking about how I’m a programmer who knows nothing about planes.) I love building ridiculous things!

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
Fee is a self-taught photographer and multi-disciplinary artist, his photography work is predominantly the clown, cabaret, theatre and Vaudeville scene in Toronto. Fee’s artwork is generally large scale art including fire and fiberglass sculptures as well as temporary wood sculptures.

SSF, RB, Charcade, Charnival
Paula just loves to show up and build all the things. She is incredibly generous, loves art and engineering, and doesn’t stop working until everything is done. An endless source of inspiration and boosted morale, Paula is an invaluable member of the team.

Special Thanks to Our Fire-Loving Volunteers

Sometimes it was freezing cold. Sometimes it rained all over our precious circuit boards. Sometimes it was wickedly dusty. Many thanks to all of our awesome volunteers for saying, “fuck it” and showing up anyway. You know who you are.

Interested in getting involved? Send us an email