Posts for category Culture (Art & Music)


July 27th, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Culture (Art & Music), Events/Happenings

The Flaming Lotus Girls’ “Soma” on San Francisco’s waterfront

photo Jason Chinn

photo Jason Chinn

With the Bay Lights as a glittering backdrop, the Flaming Lotus Girls  have installed their beautiful and interactive 2009 sculpture, “Soma”, at Pier 14.

San Francisco has been showcasing art at Pier 14 for a while now and Soma is the third art piece to have debuted in Black Rock City that will now grace this breathtaking corner of the City.  The piece was installed over the last two weeks and has already become the toast of San Francisco.

The sculpture is 60 ft long, dendrite to dendrite “depicting two communicating neurons connected by an axon bridge.  A soma is the cell body of a neuron, with branching dendrites projecting away at different angles, and an axon which conducts the nerve signal electrochemically to its neighboring cell.”

Soma is the combined work of over 100 Flaming Lotus Girls volunteers and the fire that glowed on the playa has been replaced with 97 LED lights that mix wonderfully with Leo Villareal’s Bay Lights behind them.

The  Flaming Lotus Girl’s Soma site describes Soma as a sculpture that

… represents the communication between two neurons:  She transforms the neuronal flow of electricity that forms the foundation of consciousness from a molecular to a monumental scale.

Built of stainless steel and LEDs, SOMA leads us to ask fundamental questions about human thought and neurological transmission. What is consciousness? What is communication? How does our physical and cultural environment shape us? What makes us human? Soma invites us to explore individual, collective and cosmic consciousness, the ego, and the hidden potential within us all for a more connected future.

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The Generator, A Community Art and Builder’s Space

The Generator with LOVE by Jeff Schomberg and Laura Kimpton being moved

The Generator with LOVE by Jeff Schomberg and Laura Kimpton being moved

Gene kids2

Youngsters making things

There is a new art kid on the block! The Generator is a non-profit, inclusive, community art and builder’s space in greater Reno, Nevada (actually in Sparks). It’s open to anyone who wants to make art and be part of a creative community, and they run on their version of Burning Man’s Ten Principles.

I went for a tour a few weeks ago, and I was amazed. There is every sort of tool, and many different kinds of artists: painters, sculptors, woodworkers, Burning Man Honorarium artists, brand new artists of every sort, and children learning art. And the best part is there is no cost to anyone who wants to participate in making any kind of art.

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June 23rd, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

The Castle of Bohemia is Having a Garage Sale

2494124254_5b6bb38483_z Late one night, the furniture on the side of the building on Howard Street started to move. It had been suspended up there on the wall for 17 years; but one night, one of the chairs wiggled, pulled, then popped a leg free. It tore another rusted steel foot off the wall, shaking loose a few rusty bolts that tumbled down onto the sidewalk below.

The others looked over, lamps craning their necks and throwing oblongs of light, the grandfather clock swiveling its head to see. The chairs plunged down the wall, scampered onto the sidewalk, and out into the dark.

Before long, the tables and televisions made their way down, one fat couch inching down like a caterpillar, thumping away in all directions. After 17 years, Defenestration was no more.

“This is the castle of Bohemia,” said Defenestration creator Brian Goggin, standing outside the Hugo Hotel during a going away party. The hotel had been a blown-out shell of a building when more than 100 people crawled all over it, driven by humor, love, and incredulity to install coffee tables on a building.
Bohemian Garage Sale Sign
The art installation Defenestration – a real word which means the act of throwing something out the window – has been a San Francisco landmark for years, at a busy SOMA intersection downtown, proof that enough people working together can make the contents of a Goodwill store march up the side of a wall. If you never had a chance to see it, it was more than 30 pieces of furniture, tables, a TV that worked, side tables jumping out a window, lamps that turned on and off. In the fog, on your way to work or the water, day in and day out.

Goggin would, incognito, join walking tours to hear what people said about Defenestration. “One told me that it was it was representative of people in San Francisco being kicked out of their homes,” or “the dreams of all of those who live on the street to have a home,” he said. The Hugo Hotel will be torn down this year to build affordable housing. In some ways, it’s the opposite of Burning Art ethos: an installation that was only supposed to last six months, staying around for 17 years.

Goggin has continued to hang things from buildings – most recently a bunch of  flying pianos - but for the Burning Man community, Defenestration has special meaning.

Defenestration was the first large-scale art project produced by Burners outside of the Burning Man event,” said Burning Man co-founder Michael Mikel (aka Danger Ranger), who wired the electricity to the lamps, TVs, and a phone set to randomly ring.

About 40 people lived in the decrepit building during the moving-in period, cooking meals, throwing concerts inside, hanging off of walls.

“The first thing we built was a chest of drawers coming out of the window,” said Mikel. “A neighbor saw it and called 911. The fire department came and chopped it down. The first art piece was chopped down by the fire department.”

Defenestration was conceived and designed by Brian Goggin, but it was scores of Burning Man community volunteers that came together to support, build and install the artwork, he said.

The massive opening party in 1997 closed off the street, and had tall bikes rambling up and down. Fire artist Scott Generic swung a giant flaming ball of steel wool around on the roof, sending mass sparks into the crowd. Some of them landed on the SFPD, setting their uniforms on fire. They ran into the building and up the stairs to stop him, but Generic made it down a staircase and escaped out the back of the building.

The art gallery Varnish is running the Defenestration garage sale, returning the former Neighborhood Cleanup furniture to its new vaunted place in arts heaven. They do not require that you hang one of the chairs from the side of any walls, although the furniture will always be animated.

“This is the castle…” said Goggin, stopping to convince someone to let a piano stay on the sidewalk.  “I regret that I can’t put cannon up there and protect it better. I would shoot flowers out into the city to stop them from taking it down.”

June 7th, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Participate!

Honoraria and the Art of Black Rock City

Honoraria and Art of Black Rock City installations have been uploaded to the website and there are some fine looking projects slated for this year’s event. 2014 will sport an Man towering “many stories high, rising directly from the desert floor”, and from the looks of the Art descriptions, it’s clear that we also have some spectacular and mind blowing Art projects in the mix.

We have Pools and Sound Puddles, oases, Resticles and a Vulvatron. There will be silk, towers and minarets and Jessika Welz’ “Celestial Mechanica“, a “kinetic mechanical representation of our own solar system.” There will be camel and wagon trains and even ZZ Fish by Jan DeLano, Wendell DeLano, and Anne Pearce that explores the “determination, transformation, and the cycle of life across the vast oceans of the planet” of salmon migration. “Big Al” by Brennan Steele is an alligator effigy, spawned from the CORE by New Orleans Burners that “pays homage to the spark that brought the NOLA Community together, the inspiring event known as Burning Man”.

embracePeter Hudson brings his much anticipated new zoetrope, “Eternal Return” that “speculates that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form, an infinite number of times across infinite time and/or infinite space.”  The Pier Group, who brought us the Pier in 2011 and  Pier2 and La Llorona in 2012, return to the playa with a new project, “Embrace“, “a 7-story tall wooden cathedral-like sculpture of two human figures in an embrace.”

There will even be a volcano, Paha’oha’o by Kahai Tate … “rising thirty feet from the desert floor; the great volcano Paha’oha’o! At night its fiery peak will be visible from miles away as will the screams of those who cast themselves into her cauldron, seeking the joy of flaming transformation.”

54-b210f5385162276d0d572cd5a236ce7d_LOST-NOMADS-VULCANIA-bmanAlso gracing the playa will be Wormholes and Warps, Pulses, Pavilions and a Parasolvent. “The Lost Nomads of Vulcania” by Joe Mross & Archive Designs, is “a steampunk-inspired gypsy encampment featuring the Teluriz, one of the few remaining Vardo Class Steam Walkers built by the last surviving members of Captain Nemo’s crew.” There is Ice Fishing, an Observatory, some medieval pillory and stocks, and “lumenEssence” by Mauricio Bustos is a “sheltering organism that serves as a waypoint and retreat for weary playa travelers.” It is constructed of 33 30-foot LED illuminated towers of many tentacles.

This year’s Temple will be built by David Best and the Temple Crew. The Temple of Grace will serve as a spiritual and sacred place for memorials and will be “70+’ high, and have a footprint of 80’x80′; it sits in a courtyard approximately 150’x150′. The structure incorporates a central interior dome within a graceful curved body made of wood and steel. It will again have intricately cut wooden panels for the exterior and interior skin. Eight altars will surround the temple inside a low-walled courtyard, creating a large exterior grounds for the community.”

temple

Brian Tedrick’s beautiful “Minaret” will join us, as will the “Eidolon Panspermia Ostentatia Duodenum (epod)” by Michael Christian, in addition to his “Bike Bridge“, a collaboration with Oakland, CA youth, that currently resides at the Uptown Park in downtown Oakland near the Fox Theater. “Bike Bridge” was funded in part by the Black Rock Arts Foundation who has been funding off-playa projects since 2001.

This year — in the spirit of our current world of online funding of big art — BRAF is also facilitating fundraising so that in addition to getting involved building the Art,  you can help support your favorite project financially via the Black Rock Arts Foundation. From their site:

The Black Rock Arts Foundation is pleased to offer fiscal sponsorship to a select number of projects produced for exhibition at the Burning Man event in 2014. We hope that this pilot project will help Burning Man artists raise necessary funds for their art by enabling tax-deductible contributions to their projects.

The 13 Honoraria projects under BRAF’s fiscal sponsorship are projects whose cost is not entirely covered by Burning Man or other Art grants. By using the BRAF Fiscal Sponsorship, potential donors can realize additional benefits such as a tax write off, matching donations from donors’ employers, and grants from donor-advised funds that can only be given to recognized 501(c)(3) organizations.

If you’d like to donate to any projects,  take a look at the Honoraria Art page.  You can donate via BRAF by following links from projects with a Donate Now button. A full list of projects you can contribute to and more information on that process is at blackrockarts.org/projects/fiscal-sponsorships.

Additionally, if you are interested in reading about last year’s art and reviewing a financial chart of expenditures for Burning Man 2013, including Honorarium Art Grants, check out the just-released 2013 Afterburn.

PahaAt this point in time, we live in a world of possibilities. This post barely scratches the surface of what is coming to Black Rock City this year. Right now countless people are creating Art and Theme camps, organizing music and performance, going over City plans and making sure the infrastructure is built. We are devising clever alterations to reality to share at Black Rock City that week that is coming up soon. We are planning and working and pouring ourselves into whatever it is that we will share in this year’s Caravansary, all commingling and cross pollinating; working towards this event we keep returning to because we create it. It is ours.

Take some time to read about the Art this year. It’s a lot of fun when you’re cris-crossing the playa and are suddenly pulled deep into the sphere of something you’ve never experienced in your life, waylaid for minutes to hours and having a blast with it and someone says, “I wonder who built this” or “What is this” and you remember a bit of something you read in June you can share with your fellow wayfarers.

As always, Burning Man will be putting up the extremely enjoyable Art Audio Tours by Anarchist Jim, Evonne Heyning and the whole ARTery team before you leave for Black Rock City that can be downloaded and brought with you while you journey across the playa discovering all the amazing creations on your way.

June 7th, 2014  |  Filed under Building BRC, Culture (Art & Music), Environment, Technology

The 2013 AfterBurn is live

coyoteThis has been a busy year at Burning Man HQ; a move, a new Project,  a lot of activity, worldwide outreach and of course, planning for TTITD, however, we were able to get all the reports in, find images for each page, format everything and QA the beast known as the AfterBurn 2013.

Last year’s Census has been turned into a beautiful single document and in the AfterBurn you can read all about the challenges faced and met, the fantastic Art that graced the playa, organizational and city infrastructural updates with new strategies moving forward, and as always, you can read reports from all the teams that make Burning Man happen.

With the new Burning Man galleries we’ve created a new moderator account and we’re able to grab images that aren’t in the gallery (and give credit to the photographers of course). Many thanks to Mr. John Curley who shared some DPW pics from his most excellent blogs and also thanks David Marr who also took some great pre-event pics. And thank you ALL Burners who take your photos of the event and share them on the Burning Man galleries. Special thanks to Scotto for the QA.

The AfterBurn is becoming a nice ongoing history of Burning Man.

Enjoy!

http://afterburn.burningman.com/13/cargo

 

 

May 30th, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

The Burning Man Minute for March 30, 2014

Burning Man’s collective consciousness transcends the hegemonic noosphere while delegating the collective unconscious to you, at speeds not yet achieved by even the most spiritually advanced iPhone app!

The Burning Man Minute helps you keep track of everything you need to know without paying attention!

Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man is the author (under a clever pseudonym) of “A Guide to Bars and Nightlife in the Sacred City,” which has nothing to do with Burning Man. Contact him at Caveat (at) Burningman.com

May 21st, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

Adventures in (Burning Man) Writing: meet Marzipan Man and his “spines”

Artists rendering of a "Spine" book case.  (Image courtesy of Matthew Melnicki)

Artists rendering of a “Spine” book case. (Image courtesy of Tom Woodall )

Burning Man still doesn’t have a literary culture.  Not even the appearance of one, or the promise of one on the horizon.

But horizons are illusions, and there’s always something on the other side.

Wow … I feel like I’m writing a lost verse of “Rainbow Connection.”  Somebody get me a banjo.  (Burning Man happens to have a highly advanced banjo culture.  A theme camp will actually be sending the first banjo into space this September.)

But I digress.

Words may never adequately describe Burning Man, but words are a vital part of the human experience and the artistic impulse, and just because no literary style or culture has emerged doesn’t mean dedicated individual Burners aren’t out pushing the boundaries of the written word at Burning Man.

These are their stories.

(Dun Dun)

Oh crap, now I’m doing an episode of Law & Order.  How did this happen?  Somebody call forensics!

You see what happens when there isn’t a literary culture?  Words scatter across genres.

(Quick Fun Fact:  Burning Man is developing one of the most advanced party forensic labs in America, capable of detecting exactly who harshed your buzz up to 30 hours after the incident.  The technology is incredible.)

But I digress.

One of the innovators trying to push the boundaries of what words can do at Burning Man is Marzipan Man (Matthew Melnicki), who last year began placing “spines” – freestanding book depositories – on the playa, and placing his own hand-stitched books in them:  free to take, with the hope that someone will put some of their own work in to share.

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May 19th, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Culture (Art & Music)

Play the Giant Groovik’s Cube Online Via Webcam

Groovik's Cube

Groovik’s Cube, a reincarnation of a 2009 playa installation, is now on display as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the invention of the Rubik’s Cube in Jersey City. You can actually play the 26-foot-high light-up cube live via webcam from the Groovik’s Cube website. How cool is that?

Mike Tyka and a team of Burners from Seattle built the original Groovik’s Cube in less than five months on an out-of-pocket budget of $20,000. It has about 15,000 components. Since the 2009 Burn, the Cube has been on public display for more than a year.

Forget today’s 40th anniversary Rubik’s Cube Google Doodle. That’s just a virtual cube. Go play the 26-foot Groovik’s Cube hanging over people’s heads!

And check out this cool video of the Groovik’s Cube being built: