Black Rock Station, NV. June 23rd, 2008 – The cutters are nearing the end of their task, and are gradually moving on to gluing each ring or rib together with its mate. Thus assembled, each curved piece is meticulously hand sanded to remove any remaining imperfections or irregularities. Meanwhile, Krew members Dr. Glowire and Spyral have begun plotting out the complex angles required to create the Man’s iconic head.
Black Rock Station, NV. June 22nd, 2008 – The Black Rock Playa is known for its strong winds, and the all-encompassing dust storms that they bring. But there’s no wind today, and yet here, at nearby Black Rock Station, there’s already a thick layer of dust covering everything. Sawdust, that is.
Black Rock Station, NV. June 21st, 2008 – Sawhorses are arranged, and the main timber that forms the spine of the Man is hefted into place. Measurements are made, checked twice, and with all eyes upon them, Otto Von Danger and Big Daddy make the traditional first cut. The building of the Burning Man has begun.
Black Rock Station, NV. June 20th, 2008 – The Man Krew has begun to assemble. With each new arrival, a small homecoming celebration breaks out; everyone is excited to see one another again, and glad to be back at Black Rock Station. Even though planning and logistics for the build take place year-round, nothing signals the true beginning of our task more than this: arriving, once again, in the strange, yet familiar landscape of the Black Rock Desert area.
This year’s reunion is especially exciting, as we’ve learned that a number of veteran Man builders will be joining us. Although the majority of the krew are experienced builders, the specific knowledge of the Man that these veterans have is invaluable, and promises not only to speed construction, but to be very educational as well. Like the culture of Burning Man itself, the building of the Man is a communicated tradition – more story than formula – and when a veteran builder speaks, everyone listens very closely. The Man that we build is their tale made manifest.
At night, gathered around a burn barrel, it is noted that this is the Solstice, and that tomorrow is the first day of Summer. An auspicious day to begin our build!
There are countless colorful rumors surrounding the creation of the Burning Man: That it can be ordered, in kit form, from Home Depot, provided you know a top-secret SKU#. That it has been fabricated entirely by machines since 1998. That Burning Men are constructed overseas, in bulk, and that at any given time there are several dozen of them stored in a warehouse in Wadsworth.
The truth, as many participants witnessed at last year’s event, is that that the Man is created just like every other work of art at Burning Man: by hand, and through the combined talents and dedication of a diverse team of artists, engineers and craftspeople. Every year our team, known as the Man Krew, gathers at Black Rock Station (Burning Man’s Nevada work ranch) to once again create this sculpture that is so central to our event. Now, thanks to the Burning Blog, we are able to share this process with the greater community. We’ll be posting Krew updates during the initial building of the Man all the way through to his erection in Black Rock City, and ultimately, the burn itself.