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.
“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…)