Burning Man 2015: Opening Day Panorama

Props to my new friend Jamie, who gave me a ride about 50′ straight up in the scissor lift she’d been using to finish her team’s fire-pendulum project. The view was awesome, and I’m happy  I can share it with y’all. Captured Monday 8/31, late afternoon, at Burning Man 2015. Check out the fire pendulum, it’s in the black box off the 9 o’clock promenade.

(Note: Click on the photo to see the panorama, which, I should add, is hosted on my site at http://michaelholden.com/work/interactive/panoramic/burning-man-2015-opening-day-panorama, not BurningMan.org.)

Burning Man 2015 opening day panorama
Interactive 360° panorama!

Behind the Scenes with the Mazu Temple Builders

Sarah Kihls fabricates a steel dragon, one of several that will perch on Mazu's roofline.
Sarah Kihls fabricates a steel dragon, one of eight that will perch on Mazu’s roofline.

For nearly a full year now, an international crew of artists, craftspeople, designers, builders, engineers (and at least one poet) have been working nonstop to create a temple for Mazu, Goddess of the Empty Sea — a piece you’ll soon be able to experience and interact with on playa. What’s more, they’ve turned this project into a new arts collective that could keep them working on similar projects for years to come.

Photographer Aleksey Bochkovsky has documented many a workday with this crew. Here’s a look at what they’re doing, and more about what makes Mazu’s temple, and its crew, unique. All photos by Aleksey.

Charlie Nguyen paints the roof outside The Generator in Reno, Mazu's US build site.
Charlie Nguyen paints the roof outside The Generator in Reno, Mazu’s US build site.
John Julius Little assembles the 108 lanterns, provided by Texas artists Dave and Marrilee Archer, to light the temple perimeter.
John Julius Little assembles the 108 lanterns, provided by Texas artists Dave and Marrilee Archer, to light the temple perimeter.
Nathan Parker, project manager.
Nathan Parker, project manager.

“We’re raising the bar for craftsmanship, detail and interactivity,” says project leader Nathan Parker, who previously worked for several years as an electrician for the Black Rock City Department of Public Works.

“Most of the art that people create to be burned has a temporary feel,” he continues.

“We want this to feel real and permanent. We want people to say, ‘Why are you going to burn that? Don’t burn that!’”

But it will burn. The Mazu temple’s laser-cut panels; its hand-painted, sanded, stained woodwork; its arching 40-foot-high lotus flower will all go away. In the process, they’ll reveal the underlying steel structure: a self-standing sculpture that will one day be installed permanently in a public space. (more…)

Getting Your Bearings in Wine Country

"Getting Your Bearings" by David Boyer, 2014. (Photo courtesy of the author.)
“Getting Your Bearings” by David Boyer, 2014. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

Reno artist David Boyer’s 2014 Burning Man kinetic wind sculpture Getting Your Bearings is now on display in Napa, California as part of the Napa ARTwalk public art program. This work is one of fourteen that will be on loan to the City of Napa for a period of two years. The work is #13 on the ARTwalk tour and is located next to the Napa River Inn just off the Riverfront walkway. For more information visit Napa ARTwalk.

David first shared work in Black Rock City in 2007 — a kinetic tree sculpture in the “Mangrove” surrounding the Man as part of the Green Man art theme. Burning Man Art’s Civic Arts program then funded a recreation of the Mangrove in Reno, Nevada. Aside from his many public art projects, he’s brought work out to the playa every year since.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of his creative process, as well as a hypnotic and beautiful portrait of Getting Your Bearings in this video clip:

Thank you, David, for your tireless contributions to BRC and to public art!

“Moving Europe” brings Burning Man art to Amsterdam

moving2Belgian filmmaker, photographer, and art-activist Jan Beddegenoodts brought his Moving Europe project to Amsterdam last week with a spectacular mobile gallery and interactive parade. Participants took to the streets of the old city carrying oversized prints of Burning Man art photos taken by Jan and fellow photographers Thomas Dorn, Sidney Erthal, Scott London, and Gaby Thijsse, accompanied by a brass band, dancers, fire spinners, and no small number of delighted Amsterdammers caught up in the spontaneous celebration.

moving6The event was an apt kickoff for the second annual Burning Man European Leadership Summit, a two-day event bringing together community leaders from twenty-five countries for an intensive weekend of knowledge-sharing, alliance-building, and cultural collaboration.

In the months ahead, Jan and his team will bring the Moving Europe experience to more cities including Riga, Athens, Lisbon, Berlin, and Reikjavic, 2015-02-06_Moving-Europe_136_∏photo-company.nl_-1024x582working with local artists and burners in each country to imbue the event with local flavor and make each parade a unique street party. The Moving Europe team is also compiling video footage for a documentary project, interviewing people of all ages but particularly children and the elderly about their impressions of the show and their dreams for the future.

Art Beyond Burning Man – Making, Thinking, Understanding

Building art for Burning Man always seemed to be part of my yearly cycle. I love what I have been a part of creating in Black Rock City; I have grown up and cut my teeth building art out on that remarkable desert canvas. Over the last several years, though, I’ve found myself bringing more art to life out here, “beyond the fence.” Thanks to the efforts of so many, we can now cite several instances of Burning Man art in many cities around the world.

Zoa Crew Photo by Kim Sikora
Flux’s Zoa Crew Photo by Kim Sikora

At FLUX we have created 12 works of art in our 4 years of existence. This is something we are truly proud of. We’ve successfully made interactive art accessible to a wide audience, and we use this art as a platform to engage people in the core values we have cultivated as Burning Man artists. Our works have been experienced by people in Oakland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and now, San Francisco. Sometimes, we are so busy building we forget to take a moment to celebrate and share what we’re creating. In this case, we are celebrating our newest interactive sculpture, Carousel.

Flux Building Carousel
Building Carousel Photo by Jess Hobbs

Inspired by the shared experience and wonder of the swing rides of childhood carnivals, Carousel uses a variety of materials, a playful color palette and communal interaction to create an immersive environment. In this space, people will contribute to a cumulative visual expanse, reflect on inspiration, and engage in conversation. Participants will return to a sense of wonder as they sit beneath and contribute to its creation.

Flux Building Carousel
Building Carousel Photo by Jess Hobbs

Carousel has been commissioned by the Abundance Foundation and built for Making, Thinking, Understanding, a conference created by Harvard’s Project Zero. The conference will start tomorrow, October 10-12, 2014 at Lick Willmerding High School in San Francisco. (more…)

Burning Man 2014 Installations, Part Two

It’s taken as a given that it is impossible, or at least highly impractical, to see everything at Burning Man. Short of super sonic Segways, or maybe a time machine, we’re limited by the physical constraints of our city, the temporal window of temporary community, and lest we forget, the physical and mental energy to actually go out into the dust and experience what may come.

I always feel like it’s over too soon, and that I missed so much. But in the long run, I remind myself that those feelings aren’t so much of a reason to be sad, but rather to be excited about coming back.


Fireball from Larry Breed's "Chaotik"
Fireball from Larry Breed’s “Chaotik”
Cruz The Wave
Cruz The Wave
Cruz The Wave
Cruz The Wave
Eidolon Panspermia Ostentatia Duodenum
Eidolon Panspermia Ostentatia Duodenum
The Silk Road Art Project
The Silk Road Art Project
Morning in Deep Playa
Morning in Deep Playa
Stilt Walkers and (In)Visible
Stilt Walkers and (In)Visible
Dafodils and Cyclist in Dust Storm
Dafodils and Cyclist in Dust Storm
Seattle's Seaweed crew and their amazing couch
Seattle’s Seaweed crew and their amazing motorized couch


Metal FLy Trap
Fly Trap


See part one of this post.


Burning Man 2014 Installations, Part One

If I had an intern, or a ghost writer, or even another fifteen minutes, this space would be occupied by poignant observations, a vague reference towards the weather, a witty quip about Burners and their general resilience to adversity, and finish with a snarky zinger. But…it’s sunset, the light is great, I’m going out to shoot, so let’s get down to it!

The Man

Big Man, little moon, Burning Man 2014

The Man at Sunrise with Dragon Smelter by Danny Macchiarini maki

The Man and the Temple of Grace at sunset, Burning Man 2014

The Man and Embrace as seen from the  top deck of the Cosmic Pra


Embrace, by the Pier Group


The Temple of Grace by David Best at Sunrise

Embrace by The Pier Group

Embrace by The Pier Group

Embrace by The Pier Group

Scale: HUGE
Scale: HUGE
Under Construction
Under Construction


The Temple of Grace, by David Best

Sunrise Panorama, Burning Man 2014

The Temple of Grace at Sunrise, Burning Man 2014

The Temple of Grace by David Best, side view

The Man and Embrace as seen from the  top deck of the Cosmic Pra



And last but not least, El Pulpo Mechanico…

El Pulpo Mechanico

Stuff is exploding outside, gotta go. More  either late tonight, or early tomorrow.

“Like 4 Real”: DADARA Speaks at TEDx Amsterdam

"Like 4 Real" at Burning Man 2013 (photo by Yomi Ayeni)
“Like 4 Real” at Burning Man 2013 (photo by Yomi Ayeni)

Did you see the “Like 4 Real” art piece at Burning Man 2013? Did you hate it? Did you discount it as a publicity (or some such) stunt by Facebook, or a group of overly-enthusiastic Burners from Silicon Valley? You’re not alone. Turns out that was a common misconception.

DADARA (aka Daniel Rozenberg), the Amsterdam-based artist who has created over a half-dozen thought-provoking art pieces for Burning Man over the years, recently spoke in front of 1,200 people at the Royal Concert Hall for TEDx Amsterdam about Like 4 Real, his most recent offering.

It’s a wonderful talk (not to mention an interactive and participatory experience) about the principle of Immediacy, wherein DADARA provides insight into this provocative piece, including the socio-technical conditions that inspired it, the Likefesto, and the experience of displaying the sculpture at Burning Man.

Enjoy … and we encourage you to participate in the Like meditation at the end. Of course, if you’re so inclined, you’re welcome to “like” the Like 4 Real Facebook page. For real.