[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!]
I think that y’all like my photos more than my prose. In the spirit of doing what one does best, I’ll cut this short and get back out there.
Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane
Flor de Muerto by Victoria CoRE, during construction
Flor de Muerto by Victoria CoRE, on the evening of it’s completion
World renowned photographer and 2013 honorarium art grant recipient Spencer Tunick (check out his awesome (NSFW) website) is doing a photo shoot of one of his amazing art installations on playa this year. Spencer tells us how to be part of this epic experience:
We would like to invite you to POSE NUDE in a group photographic installation by artist Spencer Tunick. Spencer will choose men, women and any gender identity to be part of this unique installation. In order to be chosen we ask that you please send in a low resolution photograph of yourself. Participants will be selected based on photographs submitted to the email: projects here: projects (at) spencertunick.com
Please send the image sooner rather than later. Most installations by Spencer do not have limits to the number of people participating, nor do they require the submission of a photograph. However, for this art work for Burning Man, there is a cap on the number of people participating due to the specific concept of the work.
We are asking for a photograph because we want to have a wide range of body types and skin tonalities represented in the final work. Although everyone is unique, If you are not chosen, it is simply because we may have reached the amount of people with similar specific characteristics. We apologize in advance if you are not chosen for this particular idea but please do not let it deter you from posing in future works by Spencer where there are no number limits.
Chosen participants will be contacted by email prior to August 24th with: location and further instructions. Please only sign up if you are committed to participating and able to wake up before sunrise (or stay up all night). The work will take place before sunrise in order to utilize the pre-dawn light. You will be in position when the sun rises. You only will be nude for a short period of time. …we know it’s chilly…so you will not be nude until right before the sun rises over the horizon and as the sun hits your body. 5am is just the call time to get you registered. We need everyone to be on time. In exchange for taking part, you will receive by mail, a limited edition print of the art work. PARTICIPANTS ONLY.
Every year, the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) — Burning Man’s sister non-profit dedicated to the funding of interactive, participatory and civic art projects around the world, year round — awards grants to support art projects that reflect and forward its mission.
In 2012, one of those grant recipients was FLOAT, “a participatory art/design project using air-quality-sensing kites in Beijing, China. FLOAT had two components; a workshop and a public installation. The workshops gathered local Beijing residents to make kites with an air-quality-sensing module, and the public installation was a group kite flight in parks throughout the city using these kites. The air quality data was fed and geolocated onto a mapping API, and displayed through LED lights. A series of longer term installations throughout the city offered residents ‘air quality stations’ that displayed air quality data in real time, previously recorded data and education about urban health. Through the poetics and playfulness of kite flying, FLOAT sparked dialogue on urban environmental health issues, and gave agency to city dwellers to map, record and engage actively in the monitoring of their environment.”
If you find this ingenious and important project intriguing, we highly recommend you watch “Stars in the Haze”, a fascinating short documentary film about the project, written, shot and edited by Joshua Frank.
You can see a full listing of all of BRAF’s art grant recipients from 2013 and years past here on their website. These grants are made possible by the generous donations of good folks like YOU. If you’d like to help, please donate.
Greetings! We’re excited to announce three Internships in our San Francisco office.
Three unpaid internships will provide the right candidates with opportunities to engage with the pre-event preparations of Burning Man’s Communications Department, Regional Network and/or the Art Department during the busy pre-event production cycle (June-August) and on site in Black Rock City during the 2013 Burning Man event (August 25th – September 2nd). Internships require a high level of organization, acute attention to detail and deadlines, top-notch written and verbal communication skills, and a keen ability to think quickly and function well in a high-pressure, creative environment that is often chaotic but always a lot of fun.
Interns will be required to attend the Burning Man event, and must be prepared to be radically self-reliant for up to two weeks in that environment, one of few resources and intensely harsh conditions. Work leading up to the event will be conducted in a professional office environment in downtown San Francisco. The number of hours per week is flexible depending upon candidates’ needs, schedule, and experience. Candidates who are available to continue their internship post-event (through the end of September) are encouraged to apply.
Internships will provide invaluable experience for someone wishing to learn about media relations, event production, and Burning Man arts and culture. Interns will have opportunities to attend high level meetings, participate in planning processes, draft communications, and work alongside many accomplished professionals in the field of communications and arts management.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to be eligible, interns MUST receive official school credit for their internship. Prior to beginning an internship with Burning Man, candidates must provide written proof that credit will be received from the relevant educational institution. (more…)
If you’re dreaming about creating a large art project — and don’t happen to be independently wealthy — you’re going to need to do some fundraising to make your dream a reality. And fundraising is an art as much as it is a science.
The Burning Man Project, as part of its ongoing workshop series leveraging and sharing the expertise in our community, recently offered a workshop on Crowdsourcing & Fundraising for Art Projects. The workshop was held at Burning Man’s San Francisco headquarters on December 13, 2012, and was led by Will Chase, who brings to the subject 10 years of experience in arts management, art curation, event production, art creation, and fundraising for art projects.
Since the year 2000, there has been a Temple at Burning Man, and when we talk about the Temple, most people think of what started that year with David Best and Jack Haye, and became a long line of temples that have graced the playa. The Temple has evolved from what became a memorial to their friend into an “emotional nexus” of our community, where thousands make pilgrimage each year to remember those they have lost, to celebrate and affirm life, to heal and to forgive.
In 2012 I was fortunate to meet many of the people who are involved with building the Temple each year and to research what I came to believe are some of the essentials of understanding what the Temple at Burning Man has become. It is a place where our community goes to unburden itself and it is a representation of our maturity as a community as well as a natural manifestation of something sacred in the City of Black Rock.
Proposing to be the one who builds the Temple at Burning Man is serious stuff involving quite a bit of work within an existing structure of volunteers and other Temple minded folks to create something for the community. One question that was raised over and over again as I spoke with people who have done this before was that you should not ask yourself “WHAT am I doing this for?” but rather “WHO am I doing this for?”
For many Burners, the Temple is a vital place where those who build it possess a solemnity and a respect for that process. It is also a place for those who attend the event to use for grieving or celebration of life in an environment that is in contrast to a lot of the rollicking and outrageous things happening elsewhere on the playa that week in late summer.
Walking around the Temple at the middle of the week, I personally get overwhelmed by the amount of emotion that is focused like a beam in there. It is as if, from its inception each year, to all the planning and all the hands that build it, then when the event begins and it becomes “the largest collaborative art project” on the playa; that the energy of so many caring people turns whatever sublime Temple structure is built that year into something far greater than any art project.
Stopping to read the remembrances of so many loved friends, family and pets who have passed on, seeing the pictures of so many of them, pausing at the altars and shrines where people have lovingly placed tokens of their lost one’s lives, well, that can really get you right in your plexus where you feel that big sorrowful empathy wave. The Temple is a profound space where some of us who have lost loved ones can let them know that they are still loved and missed, but that it is all ok, they can pass and we can move on.
I’m a large, somewhat dim and oafish fellow, and I can only stay in there for so long before I have to walk away from it out onto the blankness of the playa with the Temple behind me, and breathe deeply so as to not betray the tough guy façade I live behind.
It is a heavy place. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.
Regardless of who builds the Temple, it is always something spectacular and special. There are bona fides and expertise that are a prerequisite to building the Temple at Burning Man and I was privy to finding out what some of those were this year.
I’ve written an article about what I discovered after being on playa (and attending the Temple construction before leaving for Black Rock City) for the building of this year’s Temple of Juno. I was able to research and read some of the intellectuals who’ve written about the concept of the Temple, including Lee Gilmore, Sarah Pike and Larry Harvey; and I had the pleasure of speaking with some of the folks involved with building Temples through the years including David Best, Jessica Hobbs and Jack Haye. The article is on the Burning Man website and is titled, Spirituality and Community: The Process and Intention of bringing a Temple to Black Rock City.
Burning Man would like to have a conversation that explores what you feel about the Temple and to get your insights on it since it is really your Temple. Please read the article as it is meant as a starting point to stimulate discussion. Our community loves discussions and the Temple is something many of us have very strong feelings about. Feel free to read the article and post your thoughts here.
Remember this? Well, the fundraising and permitting process was a success, and the project is moving forward!
That’s right, long-time Burner, Disorient founder and artist Leo Villareal is creating the world’s largest LED light installation on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Workers started attaching 25,000 white LED lights to the bridge in October. The installation is 1.8 miles in length and 500 feet high; the lights will be switched on early in March 2013 and will remain for at least two years.
Leo was inspired to create programmed light installations by his experiences at Burning Man in the mid-90’s, wandering in the darkness without any points of reference. The New York Times just published an article about Leo and the Bay Lights which includes the story of Leo’s Burning Man roots … here’s an excerpt:
“Like most of the crazier ideas that come out of San Francisco these days, the Bay Lights owes its genesis to Burning Man, the end-of-summer bacchanal on the Black Rock Desert playa where overworked Silicon Valleyites and underworked counterculturalists gather to stay up all night, party and cross-pollinate. Davis is a longtime regular at the festival and says that for him it conveys “a sense of spectacle, a sense of wonder and awe, a sense of generosity and shared experience. But he was growing frustrated with the annual ritual and becoming aware of a fundamental disconnect between the magic on the playa and the drudgery of daily life. How could he bring the beauty he saw every year at Burning Man back home?”
The project’s website, www.thebaylights.org, features a video animation of the project as it will appear in action. You can sign up on the Community page to receive bi-weekly updates on the project, including info on public events.
A few weeks ago Charlie Smith, who is based in Atlanta, came to California to do a little fundraising, have a workshop to teach a little welding and other skills while building community and working on his 2012 Burning Man Honorarium Installation,“Timing is Everything – The 24×7 Time-Star”. We stopped by to take a few photos since we have know Charlie for years, and MonkeyBoy got to weld a little and I sat down and did a little filing.
We had a great time. Charlie’s cousin, Mary Gilbert, lives in San Francisco and helped put the weekend together. (more…)