New Bank of X Get Rich Rich Quick Pyramid Networking Scheme – Day 2 – Infrastructure


Hand-cut mock-up of the top section.

I’m sure even the Pharaohs had moments of self-doubt.

It’s very common for artists to question their own motivation. For me, Day 2 was such a day, and I also got a bit distracted by Grayson Perry.

He didn’t call in, although I bet he’s got some junk to spare, but friends kept telling me about his series of Reith lectures so I thought I’d give it a whirl. You can listen online or download:

He’s a great speaker but I’m not sure if it helped or not. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just the fringe of the fringe.

Anyway, having got a lot further with the construction than I thought I would on day one, on day two I feel I am short of junk. I’m not really worried about that, the world is awash with unwanted, underused and unvalued items so I am sure I can improvise nearer the finish time. More importantly, I need to get the bit of it finished that I can’t do entirely for myself, and that’s the laser-cut penthouse donation box.

I used to be a professional computer programmer, but that was in the 90s, and although I’ve used algebra and trigonometry more than most since my school days, I still felt a bit rusty when it came to calculating angles and distances. Like most ungrateful children, it’’s only in my middle years that I begin to appreciate my institutional education.

Fortunately, Pythagoras has not abandoned me and the calculations were actually quite easy, although I did double-check everything.

Here is an adapted comparison chart I found on Wikipedia (Creative Commons, original here.).

pyramid proportions.004

After calculating the dimensions of the top section, I decided to make a hand-cut, cardboard mock-up in order to test it out (above) and, in the spirit of recycling, reusing and repurposing, managed to skip-raid some waste cardboard from the Showroom Cinema’s bin store.

My calculations seem to be correct, although I think my tolerances are not exactly on a par with the ancients, but It’s close enough for me to get away with it. In Egypt, I think I might have been better employed in ceremonial event-planning rather than surveying the monumental architecture. Also, the building of The Great Pyramid pre-dates photography by about 4.5 thousand years and is estimated to have taken between 10 and 20 years to complete, but wouldn’t that have been a time-lapse project to die for? Perhaps literally.

New Bank of X Get Rich Rich Quick Pyramid Networking Scheme – Day 1 – Research & Design


A typical pyramid builder’s notebook.

After some deliberation, I decided to adopt the widely reported and studied proportions of the Great Pyramid of Khufu / Cheops at Giza in Egypt.

Why? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Seriously, there is a great deal of documentation of that pyramid, and its dimensions embody an approximate relationship with the Golden Ratio, which is nice.

Actually, it’s not all that accurate.

Phi, the Golden Ratio, is 1.618 (to three decimal places), but the ratio of the one side of the Great Pyramid to its height is 1.573. It’s pretty close, I suppose, but I thought I’d make mine a little closer. To be fair on the unnamed architects of ancient Egypt, it it is much harder to align 5.9 million tonnes of rock within a square base, accurate to within a few minutes of error, so I think it’s not really fair to criticise.

Fundamentally, the size of my pyramid is dictated by the size of the space available within Access Space’s foyer, and I finalised my base dimensions on 150cm square which will fit within the space, whilst letting the door open and without being a safety hazard. Not things the Pharaohs had to worry about.

I studied technical drawing at school, and this required the construction of angles using nothing more than a pair of compasses and a straight-edged rule. Drawing an accurate square with right angles was a trivial affair. Unfortunately, there was not enough space around the base of the pyramid to perform the geometric shenanigans required to construct an accurate square. Consequently, without a template, I had to use a bit of trial and error in order to establish the square base.

Again, the deserts of ancient Egypt were not so limiting in working space.

Also, this project has no funding attached to it, other than all the in-kind help I am getting. This is another problem the Pharaohs didn’t have to worry about. They owned everything and, as they were divinely endowed, funding was not really a problem.


My total spend on the project, so far.

Anyway, seeing as my pyramid is neither destined to protect the body of a king on his journey into the afterlife, nor being used as an orgone accumulator, I think I’ll be able to get away with approximately correct proportions.

Anyway, a base length of 150cm means a vertical height of 92.7cm. I would have preferred it to be higher, but this will make the top-section / donation box easily accessible for people of most heights.

The next question is: how big should I make the perspex donation box? I did think 1/14th of the vertical height would be symbolically coherent, but that would make it only 6.62cm high with a base length of 10.7cm, and that would make it a rather apologetic as opposed to threatening gesture. So I decided on 1/3rd of the vertical height, resulting in a base length of 50cm.

Stay tuned for more detail and some examples of junk as it materialises.

The New Bank of X Get Rich Rich Quick Pyramid Networking Scheme – at Access Space, Sheffield UK

New Bank of X Get Rich Rich Pyramid Networking Scheme Poster 01 V1 small

“We collect rubbish and sell art.”
Richard Bolam will be building a pyramid in Access Space’s foyer for four days from 29 October to 1 November. Please feel free to call in any time between 11am and 7pm to have a look.
If you would like to bring something that you don’t want or need, Richard will include it in the construction and thereby transform it from worthless junk into priceless art.
There will be a very informal reception with drinks and nibbles on Friday 1st November 5-7pm. All welcome.
The finished pyramid will remain in the foyer until Saturday 11 November. Facebook event here.