SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A sculpture with roots in Burning Man has become the newest attraction on San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

The 60-foot sculpture named “SOMA” combines metal and LED lights to mimic brain neurons and create an interactive experience for visitors.

SOMA was first built five years ago by the San Francisco artist collective Flaming Lotus Girls. The group is known for the fiery statues they feature annually at the Burning Man festival in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

SOMA Pier 14 (Photo by Caroline Miller)

SOMA Pier 14 (Photo by Caroline Miller)

SOMA Pier 14 (Photo by Steven Fritz)

SOMA Pier 14 (Photo by Steven Fritz)

Unlike it’s current manifestation on the Embarcadero, it was lit on fire while on display at Burning Man.

“One of the thing about doing public art for the masses is you have to make a few changes from the original design so that people don’t hurt themselves,” said Flaming Lotus Girls member Stacy Sanders-Young. “It did break our heart a little bit to take off some of the fire pieces, but it’s still a beautiful piece. It’s supposed to make you ask, ‘What does it do? Do I like it? Do I not like it?'”

SOMA will celebrate its grand opening on Aug. 5 at Embarcadero’s Pier 14 where it will be on display for the next year. The LED buttons are active from 10 minutes past sunset until 2 a.m. daily and is free to the public 24 hours a day.


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