Who We Are

The Hydrocarbon Collective is a group of artists and engineers. Operating out of the Berkeley Institute for Transchaotic Studies, we seek to create art that is dangerous, difficult, and challenging.

The Box Shop, SF

Switch Tree, For Lost Friends

2020 is a bad year for art. 2020 is an amazing year for art. 2020 is a year in which we have lost so many friends, to death, to racism, to brutality, to privilege, to mental illness, to self injury. This piece has nothing to do with any of that, and it also has everything to do with it, because I made it to distract me from those things. I have the privilege of being able to distract myself from those things. Most people do not. My failure to rise to the moment is not an excuse, it is simply a fact. Presenting art to the world in 2020 is self-absorbed, and presenting art to the world in 2020 is an act of deepest vulnerability. Fuck you, 2020.

Torch Song

Torch Song is a kinetic fire art sculpture that was displayed at Burning Man 2017. A double tetrahedron balanced on a corner, each edge has an independently controlled flame that travels along the 8’ length. The effect is of a set of dancing flames that perform a synchronized ballet.

Torch Song Model

Hot Hand Luke

aka Fire Skeeball

Hot Hand Luke is an interactive fire sculpture, a twist on the game of Skeeball. Except, the balls are on fire. Because art should be dangerous.



In 2016, the homelessness problem in San Francisco became increasingly visible, with tent camps popping up around the city. We created Snapcamp, a fake app, website, and social media account, to draw attention to the misguided "hackathon" culture of relying on software to solve society's problems. Snapcamp also lampooned the clickbait media itself, by becoming an overnight but disposable hot button issue.

Articles about SnapCamp


Beyond Words, Issue 2, April 2020

Maybe Rome had it coming

Matthew P. Gordon

Maybe Rome had it coming
Maybe Nero figured there wasn't anything left he could do to help.
Maybe he loved playing the fiddle
And feared this might be his last chance
Maybe Rome had it coming
And Nero
Bursting with love for mankind
Wanted to leave the world with a song
And not a sigh

Good Times Santa Cruz: Glow: Festival of Fire and Light returns to the MAH

Apparently, no one ever told Matthew Gordon not to play with matches. Or maybe they did, and he didn’t listen. But who doesn’t like to light stuff on fire?

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Art illuminates science at a Santa Cruz festival Saturday