This weekend is the start of Burning Man 2018. I have had a personal fascination with Burning Man, harboring a desire to build an “Art Car” and join the festival in the desert.
The closest I came to Burning Man is the Exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in DC, which had artwork, the continuing story of Burning Man, and a replica of the Temple – which caught me unaware, as it had an almost mystical feel to it.
This YouTube video may leave you with more questions than answers.
But That is totally OK.
Burning Man is an experiential Arts festival on a dry lakebed in the Nevada Desert. the environment is fine dust, heat, and sunshine during the day – and fine dust, chilly, and filled with light at night. Take a look at the official Burning Man Picture Gallery.
A city is built for a week in the desert, local transportation is mostly by (tricked out) bicycles (so you can find yours) and “Art Cars” (note: Art cars have been renamed Mutant Vehicles), Which are built just for tooling around the city of approximately 70,000 people who come to the festival. Google has an “unofficial map” of Black rock City and the Playa. The map has pictures of some art installations, and a detailed, zoomable map.
Many participants contribute to the festival, building their exhibits, Art cars, costumes, and more – months or a year in advance of the event.
Many of the costumes are practical as well as inspiring. Stream punk goggles and masks keep the fine lake dust from choking and blinding participants, and layers of clothing can prevent sunburn or keep “Burners” (BM attendees/participants) warm.
I may not get to burning man any time soon, but my fantasy of building an art car and trekking to the desert is an exciting dream, and I think of ways my bicycle can be tricked out for the festival, and if I would rent an RV – maybe with friends – to get to the Black Rock Desert.
After the finale, everyone takes everything – trash, exhibits, etc. – away, leaving the lake bed as it was when they arrived.