19 May 2010

Burning Man Project

Aerial view of the "temporary city" of Black Rock (the city is arranged in a series of concentric streets in an arc formation, using 2/3 of a circle, with the Burning Man exactly in the centre)

The Burning Man Project is an annual event (festival) held in the Black Rock Desert, North Nevada, USA. It starts on the monday before & finishes on the American Labour Day holiday (end of August). The name is taken from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on the saturday night. It is a hard event to describe (even the organisers says this), it is a very free, liberal art festival I would say, others have described it as
an experiment in community, radical self expression and radical self-reliance.... I think this sounds a little over the top hippy-ish....I think it is a festival in which you can be however you wish to be (even clothing is optional!). The only criteria is that you contribute in some way to the event, whether it be in a radical way of dressing, an art installation, you must create a world for yourself in that week that you are stranded in the blood boiling heats of the desert. In as much of the event as possible sustainable resources, materials & power is used; there is a no car policy (except for "mutant cars"), no cash transactions are allowed (rely on gift economy), reclaimed cooking oil is used to power many of the generators, participants are commited to a 'leave no trace' event, meaning they should strive to leave the place in a better condition than it was previous to their arrival. It started on a beach in San Francisco with 20 people buring a wooden man on the summer solstice in 1986, now it attracts over 40,000 people & is in a way on one of the largest beaches in the US (if you compare sand with sand...!) I
find it really fascinating, however very daunting, & would like to try to go one year, maybe it is something you have to experience one time, it is a one of a kind event.

Here are some of the art installations people have taken with them as their contributions to this pretty unique & unusual event.

The Babylon Art Installation in 2008 was a 100 ft tall steel tower, with a photo booth at the bottom, that projected images taken during the day onto the tower during the night (reusable, recyclable & multi-purpose)

Foraging alien-like creature

Conexus Cathedral, over 200 ft long & 50 ft high, in 2006

Floating astronaut for 2008 American Dream theme

Participants dressed as Pan-like creatures on stilts

Installation constructed from 2 large trucks

Rotating installation that projected fire into the night sky from 4 jets

The Temple of Honour created by sculptor David Best in 2003

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