What goes bump in the night. . . and says “excuse me.”

The build of the Creek Monster Habitat has begun at UT Austin. The first week was meeting the entire team and discussing the project itself, the designers presenting the design, and general building/ shop safety. The next week we broke down into specific build teams and discussed what each was responsible for.

So, what is the Creek Monster Habitat? Every year the Waterloo Creek Conservatory (formerly the Waller Creek Conservatory) host a light show/ art installation along the creeks running to and through downtown Austin. The UT project will be the final stop of the route.

Visit the home of the Creek Monster. They are very shy, so we don’t fully see them. They do make themselves known by peeking out at their guest along the path leading up from a previous installation. Once level with the street you see a tunnel/nest like structure that guest can pass through and see how the Creek Monster lives. The Creek Monster will watch guest pass through their home. The ground will be littered with glowing leaves and the sounds of nature will fill the space. The guest should feel like they are vising the world of the Creek Monster.

Let’s break down the teams. The members of the teams vary across majors. We have Theatre and Dance, Studio Art, Landscape Architecture, and Arts and Entertainment. Everyone is bringing different ideas and experience to the table. Our teams break down into Structure, Lighting, Sound, Art/Sculpt/Puppet, and Eyes.

The Structure will build the support of the nest. We’ve already had a guest artist come in and share his insight into the build. Chris Levack is an Austin local who has constructed amazing sculptures and structures around the Austin area. He shared ideas of materials and support for the nest. The nest structure must be sturdy to support the dressings and weather.

Next team is the Lighting team. They are responsible for lighting the space and the nest itself. The Lighting team is working with a local event company for the equipment for the space. The idea is to wash the space in colors that enhance the nature of the space. Team three is the Sound team. What does the Creek Monster sound like? What does their habitat sound like? The Sound team will design/create these.

Team Art/Sculpt/Puppet is a large team that breaks down into specifics. Part of the team is working on the treatment of the nest itself. This team is pulling natural material from the Austin area to decorate. The University of Texas Facilities helped us with what materials would be good to use and where to find them. They’ve also started helping us pull from the campus itself. Facilities were also wonderful in teaching the teams what Poison Ivy looks like. It’s very common around the creek so we must be prepared.

Another part of the team is the Leaf Drop Cloth team. This group will create and paint the drop clothes and leaves for the ground. The leaves will be painted with UV paint to help them glow in the night. Here are the inspiration images for the leafs.

Our last team is the Eye team. This is the team I am mainly involved with. Our job is to design and construct the mechanism for the Creek Monster’s eyes. What do they look like? How big are they? Do we want them to move? Do they blink? There are many questions that we are beginning to brainstorm to start prototyping in the coming weeks.

So much is happening and it’s all happening so fast. We begin prototyping and designing mechanism this week. Hopefully you’ll come out and meet our friend the Creek Monster.