Beam Project

The Beam Project is the centerpiece of each Beam session. It’s an ongoing demonstration that a good plan, perseverance and a skillful crew can bring the biggest schemes to life. It serves as inspiration for the campers to formulate their own plots, plans and projects.

Every summer we do and build something never done or built before. Beam commissions a different distinguished artist, architect or general big thinker as Project Master to conceive each camp session’s Project. They design it, Beam Campers and Staff work together to make it happen.

Each day at camp 9am to 12pm, teams of campers, called Waves, rotate through the various activity areas of the Project’s production. At summer’s end we invite all Beam Parents and Family to join us at camp at the end of each session to celebrate the Project’s completion.

Forest Phantasmagoria 2014.1
Project Master:
Niko Van Stichel & Lut Vandebos

In a time when experience has gone digital, we created an immersive mechanical light machine in the tradition of the magic lantern. Campers and staff built a 30-foot vertical kaleidoscope with three entrances that welcome viewers to submerge themselves in a bath of light and reflection. The sleek design and playful light belies its 16-ton concrete foundation and structure of steel and cedar that make Forest Phantasmagoria a zone between dream and reality.
Creatura 2014.2
Project Master:
Mark Torrens & Federico Forestiero

Creatura is a 20-foot floating vessel shaped with an animal form and powered by human invention and movement. The skeleton is made of wooden, metallic, and woven materials. The mechanisms combine the principles of Leonardo da Vinci with a human-hamster wheel, and recycled bike frames. It glides on lake’s surface evoking our own self-built Creature of Little Willey.

“Swingtones,” is an interactive audible and visual installation designed by landscape architects Supermass Studio and Sage and Coombe Architects. Campers constructed a collection of distinctive wooden swings and metal chimes installed throughout the forest. As the swings oscillate at various speeds and amplitudes, the hanging chimes respond proportionally in sound and motion—the farther the swing, the bigger and merrier the sound gets. As the campers simultaneously ride the swings, they create and experience a symphony of floating forest chimes.

In “Cut, Paste, Build,” The Robots, a sculpture collective London, worked with Beam campers and staff to physically render computer images of everyday objects as enormous structures in the forest. Campers constructed three digital/natural hybrids, using reclaimed materials and a methodology the Robots call “Autonomous Architecture.” The resulting structure, as described by The Robots, are “an aesthetic array of alternative virtual worlds realised; they are imaginative possibilities, new conceptions of space and physicality; they embrace the future of both the imagined and possible world.”

In “Creature Quake,” Rachel Kunreuther and Douglas Stookey design reshaped the camp’s landscape to reveal enormous creatures in earth, sky and lake. Beam campers and staff constructed an array of large-scale forms and structures imbued with their own kind of life and movement. Says Kunreuther of the project, “We wanted to build creatures that evoke the very real apprehension and fascination many of us have felt, in all stages of our lives, for the unknown world around us. By creating something real out of what is daunting and mysterious, we invite campers to forge positive personal relationships with their natural surroundings, to be inspired instead of afraid.”

In “Navigating Dreams, Matthew Springett Associates proposed that Beam campers and staff construct a new night sky of LED constellations controlled and navigated by a boat-machine. Says Springett, “I have long been inspired and haunted by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story ‘Light is Like Water’ and the idea of imagined, dream-like, navigation into the world beyond; of using one element (light) in place of another (water) to create an opportunity for escape. The lost art of navigating by the stars will be explored as we develop our own stellar landscape with which the navigator can chart their journey and interact. We will navigate our dreams in a world of light.”
The Stories of Machines That Never Flew 2011.1
Project Masters:
James Wignall and Bradley Moore

“The Story of Machines That Never Flew” is an aerial installation of fantastic aircraft dreamed up by thinkers and dreamers, ancient and modern. Beam campers and staff constructed and documented their building of a collection of distinct mechanical and sculptural inventions to tell the stories of the designers whose imaginations soared but whose creations never left the ground. Their creations interpreted the stories of Icarus, Leonardo Davinci, Francesco Delana, George Cayley, The Prisoners of Colditz and Thomas Walker.

Habitats of Parker Mountain 2011.2
Project Master:
pragmatopia/University of Kassel Architecture Students
For the 2011’s August Beam Project Beam campers and staff collaborated with architecture students at the University of Kassel, Germany to build pragmatopia’s “The Habitats of Parker Mountain,” human-sized interpretations of animal habitats. The international team designed and worked with the campers in building animal abodes to suit the needs and nature of the native wildlife of southern New Hampshire but for the use and enjoyment of all Beam Camp’s inhabitants, human and animal.
A Trip To The Sun 2010
Project Masters:
Daniela Kostova and
Mike DeSeve

The 2010 Beam Project explored the many disciplines of telling stories in moving images. Daniela and Mike conceived A Trip To The Sun as a reimagining of George Melies’ groundbreaking film of 1902, A Trip To The Moon. Campers and staff constructed a circular 40-foot blue screen stage for a film production lit and powered by the sun. Click the arrow icon between the HD and Vimeo logos above to see the full-screen version of A Trip To The Sun. See Scissor: The Making of the 2010 Beam Project here

(Excerpted Christine and Manuel’s Original Project Proposal.) Our concept is especially designed for the particular location of the Beam Camp within a deep forest and close to beautiful lakes. While trying to combine these two major elements – water and earth – our initial idea behind “float with the flowers” was derived nature. Inspired by the water lily and it’s rather dusty sister the rose of Jericho our approach suggests a self built toy that transforms a “land use” towards a floating “water occupancy”. Like the rose of Jericho the structure opens once it is pulled into the lake.
Jungletopia 2008
Project Masters:
Jan Drojarski and Jon Bocksel

For the 2008 summer they will be Collaborating with Beam Camp to create “Jungletopia” an interactive sculpture, tree hideout, and music making shanty palace. A large part of the “Jungletopia” structure will be built out of recycled materials including a 30′ “A-frame” style chapel that once sat at the current site. An abandoned barn the outlying Parker Mtn. site is also being used for materials and scavenging.
Macro/Microdomes 2007
Project Master:
Caitlin Berigan
(Excerpted Caitlin Berrigan’s website.) Viral capsids were magnified and fashioned into geodesic greenhouses to grow therapeutic herbs for each virus. The Beam Summer Camp commissioned this collaborative project for which I designed domes based on the protein structures of four viruses. Many viruses organize their proteins according to geodesic patterns. Among these are the hepatitis C virus, HIV, the rhinovirus (cold-flu) and the herpes virus. Over the course of the project, the counselors and 60 campers interpreted and constructed these sculptural shelters after my designs. They learned building and creative crafts, cared for plants, discovered viruses and microbes, and explored the territories of their own bodies as fodder for art-making. They also contributed the fantastical “Beam” virus, representing their own infectious qualities. The Viral Domes became their shelters, playspaces and activity centers while still inspiring a sense of *Eeew!*
Beam Fleet 2006
Project Masters:
Steve Gerberich and Nathaniel Lieb
In 2006, Project Masters Steve Gerberich and Nathaniel Lieb took us on a ride exploring mechanical motion. Campers designed and fabricated the Beam Fleet, seven all wood vehicles that were equal parts kinetic sculptures, simple machines and rolling canvases. The Project culminated in a procession by campers and their families that turned the soccer field into Parade Grounds.
Nexus Canopy 2005
Project Master:
Fabian Jabro

In 2005, Project Master Fabian Jabro conceived of the giant Nexus Canopy. Campers and staff constructed the 45’ x 36’ structure of wood and movable canvas walls. Once built, they transformed the Canopy into shape-shifting mazes, movie theater, art gallery and, for the final evening of camp, banquet space and theater.