Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult’s Burn Night

[Editor’s Note: We’re happy to have photographer Michael Holden documenting the art and experience of Burning Man for you this year, and posting regular submissions to the Burning Blog. You can find all his posts by clicking here. Enjoy!]

 If you are just joining us, for the sake of reference, scale and sheer wow factor, Cargo Cult’s Burning Man was on top of the largest base ever: A giant UFO.  Look at those two people in the shade in the left side of the photo….

Burning Man 2013: State of the Art

 

The Burning Man starts to sparkle at 9:34 PM

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

We have liftoff…

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

Sparkleworks!

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

The Signal is sent…

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Flame effect as it is triggered….

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

Flash #1…

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

 

New haircut…Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

 

Lookin’ good!Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Flash #2, aka “the big one”Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

Time to burn.

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

 

The effect in the next three photos is called “the heart attack”…

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

Huge fire…

 

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

 

 

Moments before the collapse, 9:49 PM…Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult Night of the Burn

Lots more to shoot, temple burn tomorrow night.

The Man burns in 365 days.

 

Don’t be a stranger, stay in touch with me on flickrfacebook or 500px or drop me a line at michael here: michael (at) michaelholden.com.

About the author: Michael Holden

Michael Holden is a photographer, DJ, engineer and Regional Contact in Seattle, WA. Rites of Passage is his 12th burn. He likes chihuahuas, sushi, open source content management and commerce software and destroying delicate and expensive electronics in a variety of harsh environments. Ask him anything by emailing michael@superpod.com.

15 thoughts on “Burning Man 2013: Cargo Cult’s Burn Night

  • I fully support a person’s right to express themselves (individually or en masse) in whatever manner they wish so long as it doesn’t harrass, infringe or impose upon, endanger &/or harm others as well as our planet while doing so. That being said, I’m somewhat concerned about what appears to be electric neon tube lights used in the construction of the annual effigy(s) at the Burning Man event. Although most people aren’t aware of it, neon lights contain mercury, a deadly & poisonous metal. I believe I read somewhere that one of the 10 precepts for the BM was to “do no harm nor leave any trace behind.” Burning toxic poisonous materials (for sheer entertainment) that then enter the atmosphere seems a bit hypocritical. Where are the concerns of global warming, the need to preserve natural resouces, reduce pollution output and “going green”? It’s a bit ironic that tens of thousands, pay hundreds of dollars each to attend an event that deliberately destroys thousands of board feet of good usable lumber (among other construction materials) and wastes hundreds (if not thousands) of man/woman hours of labor. Just think of the good it could do if that much effort, all those materials and even 1/10th of the money spent were utilized to help those who are unable to help themselves. It’s sad to see so many people in our society habitually addicted to not just “keeping up with the Joneses” but are hell bent on out-doing them, no matter the cost. Case in point…I doubt the Burning Man “founders” would disagree with me when comparing the event now to it’s early beginings. Unfortunately common sense, morals, ethics, values, honesty, respect & self restraint (among other things) are becoming things of the past. I myself am not perfect, I’ve made tons of mistakes & have squandered more than my share of resources. However, in my defense, I have planted over 250,000 trees, saved several lives, helped put out home, car & boat fires, donated thousands of dollars & man hours of my time, sacrificed my wants for the needs of others with the hope that somewhere, somehow, I’ve made a positive difference in someones life. “Just Sayin”

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  • Dave,

    The amount of mercury in the neonlights (aren’t those lights actually LEDs?) probably is peanuts compared to the amount of metals burned for entertainment in the colourful fireworks.

    Not to mention al those generators which ran 24/7 to energize the airco systems. It’s a desert, remember?

    Next year I hope I will be there. I will bring a tent without generator and without a/c and will make sure to leave no trace when I leave. But I wíll enjoy the fireworks and the burning of the man!

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  • I also am disturbed by the amount of lumber that goes up in smoke at BM every year. I doubt the lighting has much mercury, but it probably contains plastics and other things that are toxic when they burn, as does the wiring that connects them to the power source. Also, if they are LEDs, the lamps contain various proportions of heavy metals, including gallium and arsenic.

    BM attendees are often referred to as “hippies” (and I’m sure many are) but many if not most true hippies would be disturbed by the over-use of fire at the festival. Sure, there’s a great thrill about being near a huge fire, but that only lasts a short time. The loss of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions caused by the burning of all that wood have a much more lasting effect on our home planet.

    Burn the Man, sure, but it would sure be better for the planet and our fellow humans if those massive installations were dismantled instead of burned, and all still-usable lumber donated to Habitat for Humanity and other similar organizations.

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  • Hey David Katz, you have it figured out so I would not ever go to BM if I was you. You won’t be missed and it makes it more fun for the other 60,000 or so of “us”. I have never found the joy of life, love of fellow citizen and the unbelievable creativity of man in any place on earth. If the USA have a festival it would be called BM.

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  • in 1/100th of a second more wood burns in forest fires. in the end of the conversation all you understand is useless bs of your mouth moving and the even more useless dialect leaves your mouth.

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  • Red Ed,

    Amen to both of your comments. This was my first, and will undoubtedly NOT be my last. The amount of friendliness that I received from my fellow burners will be something that I remember for a very long time!

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  • Dave and Red Ed,
    Ohh to have time to breathe. So many good points made by Dave and such a cruel and personal attach by Red Ed. But read again with breath and a thought of how to celebrate life and the big burn and not go overboard. What if everyone who came donated some used or found timber and a “Burning Man” was erected on a already constructed frame which could be reused each year. In this way it truely comes from the community there in celebration of the release of the Burn and maybe tones down the use of huge amounts of new materials. Besides the true spirit of the event is in the incredible creativity of installations on the Playa and how people install their own bodies in that space and the “installations” of lights and costumes on the human form.

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  • Just wondering. I am kind of new to this but yet familiar. Now today (Wed. 9-4) everything is gone from the desert location?

    They said on Nightly News last night that it was getting too “mainstream” already wtih celebrities and a former military general rumored to be there. Will this mean music acts might be performing there in the future sponsored by some electronic company or beer?

    I know it is self expression and arts. How detailed is the self expression? I was curious and like to put this on my “bucket list” someday. Though my wife and family does not understand this.

    A 52 year old born again Christian is intriqued and yet a bit scared at this.

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  • Thank you for these pics as mine all were blurry. What a fantastic burn!! I am no longer a virgin! An epic 1st burn for me. Stayed with the Phoenix camp and worked as a medic. Loved every minute of it!

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  • Can’t wait to see your Temple Burn photos. Left early due to the forcasted weather. We couldn’t afford to get stuck there. We left a bit of my mom’s ashes to burn with the spirit of BRC!

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  • I was more than dismayed this year with the “papanazies” that took it upon themselves to STAND in front of at least 60 people who chanted the entire burn for them to sit down and we completely missed seeing the Burn. 400.00 tickets x 50 people doesnt equate there right to plow over people whom had been seated over an hour and for them for plop down and set up tripods, and totally ruin my and other peoples night. One attendee actually got in a fist fight with one of these types and there was no security or anyone to ask them again politely or otherwise to move back where others were standing about 50 feet back. This is the second year this has happened

    how can this be addressed and remedied?

    Mario

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