Sunday, September 13, 2009

The art of Burning Man

One of the things that makes Burning Man such an unusual and wonderful event is the massive collection of art. This year featured more than 260 registered pieces that mostly were displayed on the Playa, the extensive open space that forms the center of Black Rock City.

Ticket prices for the event (running from $250 to $360) funded 25 of the art projects with grant amounts as high as $20,000.

One of them was Portal of Evolution (above) by Bryan Tedrick of Glen Ellen, Ca.

Click on any pic to view it larger.
This is Soma, another Burning Man-funded piece made by Flaming Lotus Girls of San Francisco. Like many creators, Flaming Lotus Girls is an art collective. Soma is a metal, fire and light representation of two bonded neurons.

The vast majority of pieces are self-funded.
Unlike pieces in a museum, most of the art at Burning Man almost calls out to be touched and pushed and climbed on. It's a totally interactive, participatory and kinetic experience.

This tapestry was made entirely from wire.
Nest was created by Joel and Judy Baron of Alameda, Ca., to offer a resting place to Playa wonderers. Julie runs this coffee and tea shop in her hometown.Here is Nest burning at the end of the week-long event. This pic was supplied by Our Year at the Fahm blog.

Like the Man and the Temple (see pics in this previous post) some of the art pieces end up being consumed by flames.
The Raygun Gothic Rocketship was the subject of much gossip among Black Rock City inhabitants. Rumors suggested plans to fill the 40-foot-tall sculpture by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman and John Manyjohns of Oakland, Ca., with liquid nitrogen and lift if off the ground. People obsessed over the possibility of witnessing a cataclysmic explosion that could be forever remembered as part of Burning Man mythology.

But on Friday when the Rocketship was "launched" there was no rocket fuel, no liftoff from the ground and no towering ball of fire. In their place were lights, lasers, fireworks and a cheesy countdown blasted from speakers. Watch it here on the Rocketship Web site - click on the Flickr slideshow and forward to the video at the end.
This giant nocturnally illuminated Rubik's Cube actually allowed people to play from nearby stands. One night, we saw a group of young Burners sitting at one of the stands with pages of handwritten notes and drawings, and the original hand-held version of the cube as they tried to solve the giant puzzle.
The Cubatron L5 by Mark Lotter of Menlo Park, Ca., contained 5,000 lights that rhythmically shifted colors, creating luminous cascading waves, pulses and waterfalls. It provided a great show from any angle, but some preferred the view from underneath the structure.
Art wasn't limited to the Playa. This tower and the burning heart below decorated the streets of Black Rock City.

The Heron Project, which occupied a prominent spot along the main promenade on the Playa, was created by Christina Sporrong and Christian Ristow of Taos, N.M. The artists documented the construction and testing of the Heron on this blog.

For more amazing art from this year's Burning Man, go to this Flickr site.

1 comment:

LJensen said...

Very cool event! Interesting art work!