The State of the Art

Minaret in the Keyhole with people
Minaret in the Keyhole with people

This morning we woke up to the light patter of rain on our dome. It was a fresh morning on the playa, one that sharpens your mind as you take a walk to check out the progress our ARTISTS are making beneath a cold blue sky speckled with dabs of white clouds.  The weather has been cold And there have been long white outs but our valiant artists have persevered and a huge array of projects are being completed.

We made our way towards the 2 o’clock side of the City and visited with Karen at Infinitarium. The sculptures are in place and they’re building out the fire effects. The Garden is a beautiful layout of plants with the tallest being the Fleur. There are some Willows, the Lovers (Two leaves), Trumpets and some Dandelions. Like I said, the weather has been rough on all the artists this last week, and this morning is was cold, cold, cold. Karen said, “Look at us. Who wears thermals at 10:30 in the morning on the playa? Who’d have thought.” Indeed, and that makes it all the more wonderful to see all the people out here trudging through the long hours to finish their projects.

Bliss Dance
Bliss Dance

We wiped the dust from our goggles and wandered out to the Keyhole where yes, Brian Tedrick’s Minaret is as beautiful as you hear it is. At night it is illuminated with rings of color and during all hours of the day and night our bold citizens climb up Minaret’s vertebra, then midway they go inside and make their way to the see-through sphere at the top to revel. It is truly a worthy Keyhole piece. Last night we met some folks who say it isn’t finished yet though. Still to be installed are misters in the top steel orb. These misters will release BBQ sauce and flame effects are still to be installed also that will, with the touch of a button at the bottom, instantly incinerate the revelers in the sphere, thereby creating a fine hourly grilling bonanza of our bountiful supply of citizens. They may have been joking but I say it sounds delish!!

We hear there was supposed to be snow on Donner pass today. Crazy.

If you want some beauty, this year make sure to get out to Bliss Dance by Marco Cochrane. She is a sublime form, twisting and flowing and simply divine. Today they were putting on her finishing touches.

Megatropolis
Megatropolis

Past Bliss Dance towards deep playa we visited the Megatropolis crew. This project is impressive. The scale is larger than I’d anticipated and I ran into Otto who gave me the following list to share with you. The largest building with the platform where people will be standing to get one of the best views of the ART also has the playa’s first ELEVATOR however, that is the only structure you can go up into. There is NO CLIMBING anything unless, as I am told by Otto, you want to fall to your death and that’s not good. He and Kiwi are also calling out for artists who want to paint on the buildings, murals or otherwise. If you’d like to collaborate on this project before Friday when it burns, go out there and ask them. Watching over the City of Megatropolis is FrogBat Four, a menacing green creature with large teeth and black wings. But he is a benevolent Frogbat and only hippies should practice caution when around him.

Mr Curly wrote a great blog post on the building of Megatropolis here.

Continuing on we met Patricia Algara and Rob Bell who are building Zome which is between Megatropolis and the Temple. The project will be a large teardrop shaped companion piece to the Bottiesattva Zome from last year. The installation is hundreds of CNC precision routed pieces all of wood  put together with wood fittings, with no metal in the joinery.  At night it will be illuminated with black LEDs to make it look purplish.

And the Temple of Flux, yes, they pulled it off. Like, it’ll astound you when you get out here. Com’on, get out here already.

The Temple of Flux
The Temple of Flux

I heard a story that when Jessica, Rebbecca and Peter were showing their idea for the Temple this year, moving things around, demonstrating what they wanted to do, someone said, so basically you are throwing away the conventional idea of the Temple and Jessica said, “Well, yes,” and they have. It is organic and the structure and whitewash makes it appear that it has grown organically from the playa. At first, from the designs I saw I was suspecting a possible similarity with the Urchonians 2006 “Belgian Waffle” but no, not a bit. The Temple of Flux is something entirely original and new and it is a most worthy evolution and re-imagining of the Temple.

Also, many props must go to the crew for their historic finishing of the Temple EARLY.  This morning the crew was in full MOOP mode, and the Temple stood tall and strong, with its gracefully curving canyons. It opens tonight for citizens to begin enjoying and as an added bonus, it burns on Sunday which just happens to be Jessica’s birthday. What a grand present to Black Rock City.

On the walkway from outer playa to the Man we also met the Monorail2Nowhere crew, Clover and Citrus from Seattle The monorail proper is complete, with a car that two people can ride at a time and the entire structure is being outfitted with El wire today. They are in the process of building the end stations and there will be art pieces along the length of the monorail called “It’s a Sprawl World”.  At night there will be sounds of a Metropolis emanating from the car. It burns on Friday at 10 and they intend to create a large pile of wood to smash the car into creating a burning and glorious catharsis.

Dust City Diner
Dust City Diner

We heard that the Dust City Diner has been moving around in the morning, showing up at worksites and feeding the artists. Evidently they were out past the man and yesterday Citrus had a fine meal and her waitress wearing a huge wig asked, “Didja like the buttah darling?” to which Citrus said, “Yes, I could eat a half pound of butter I’ve been working so hard,” and her waitress said while taking away her plate, “Ya just did.”

Dust City Diner will be in deep playa starting tonight, 1 pm to sunrise. Look for their neon sign.  I was talking with BettieJune at the ARTery and she said it’s always great to see artists pushing the boundaries to make things a little different, a little more fluid.  Art on wheels, a Dust City Diner.  For example, look for Jim Bunkleman’s Manhole Covers placed around town. Look for the Black Rock Area Transit, aka BRAT driving around and the Kinetic Cab Company is putting on a Rally Race Thursday. There’s a 14 Mission MUNI bus around 5:30 and Bagdad.

I also met Espresso Dude and Helga from Apokaliptika. They have a mobile piece named Fog Bank. It is fire cannon on wheels that makes a big noise, an artillery noise, and it is guaranteed to unnerve you at all times of the time so enjoy!

Narwhal
Narwhal

Another very cool mobile piece is 2002’s Pepe Ozan’s Narwhal refurbished. It was part of the Burning Man Opera and was at one time retired out on the Ranch until Megs and her friends took on the task of resurrecting it and turning it from a male whale to a female whale. It is a transporter of Mermaids and an Inspirer of Dreams. The Narwhal will reside outside of Media Mecca and the ever fabulous Sassy von Dish will be decorating the inside.

When you are at the Man, check out Dana Albany’s gryphons and the Man’s chest.

Also, Ein Hammer has tested their tiers today and is coming together nicely. Syzygrd is looking good, they’re finishing the impressive electronics and Mike Estee told me they’ve done their fire and light tests, but the fire tornado will be tested tonight. They’re hardening all the internals.

Make sure to listen to BMIR on your way in. They are playing Anarchist’s audio ART blurbs. Appreciate our ARTISTS for all they’ve done this year, like most years, to bring their ART here. Drive safely and don’t forget to CHECK OUT THE ART once you set up. We’ve got  a fine crop this year.

About the author: Moze

Mosbaugh aka Moze is a San Francisco heretic and writer who spends his time producing pornographic puppet shows, writing novels and dark fairy tales and building art installations to haul out to the desert. He's been on the Burning Man webteam since aught two and serves as section manager for the art and afterburn sections, deputy image wrangler and overall whatever you need kind of guy. Moze has the complete works of Shakespeare on his iPhone and he's written for Piss Clear, the YEP and has been blogging about Burning Man since blogs came into existence. The Nebulous Entity first beckoned him into the community and he's been returning to the dry lake bed ever since.

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