Five Burning Man Art Installations We’re Excited About
Burning Man starts next week in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada, and the festival is once again going full-throttle on the art installations that largely define the event. We’re not talking about a few doodles or those tacky spray-paint pieces street artists do in tourist districts, we’re talking about intricately designed, whimsically influenced, massively scaled projects that will be spread across the playa in a burst of artistic hedonism. (Many of the pieces were funded by Kickstarter, too.) Intrigued? We know you are.
Here are just a few of the installations to get excited about:
This project by Los Angeles-based artist Teddy Saunders is a video booth that allows you to input your email and record a statement of your life’s dreams, goals and intentions. Your video will then be linked to your own private account on a new web platform specifically designed to allow other people to follow and support your dreams. This piece also includes an outdoor theater where your dreams can be watched by other Burners during the week. Be careful what you wish for!
Embrace is a seven-story, wooden, cathedral-like sculpture of two human figures in an embrace that is designed to make it look like the figures are emerging from the desert floor. According to its creators, The Pier Group, the piece is intended to be a “spiritual center dedicated to the moment and our relationships with our loved ones.” It will also likely be the hug epicenter of the world for a solid seven days.
The Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel of Fortune, according to its creators, is no less than an interactive installation and divination tool featuring the 22 Major Arcana cards of the tarot. As in, it can predict the future. Your future! Burners are invited to “explore the circumference of this curious structure, whose walls are made entirely of portals. The 26-ft-diameter circle of 22 doors have their own unique character & message.” Beats a Magic 8-Ball.
The Temple of Grace
This year’s incarnation of Burning Man’s yearly temple structure, The Temple of Grace, is “intended to be a spiritual and sacred space for memorials, reflection, celebration, and to commemorate life transitions. It is a special work of art given to the community, and is a spiritual refuge where thousands gather, each to engage with it in his or her own way.” Burners come to the temple to pray, dance, cry, sing, write memorials on the walls, place objects commemorating their loved ones and get generally profound. All jokes aside, it’s a seriously powerful place. (The last time we were here, we ended up weeping in the arms of a total stranger. They even let us wipe our snotty nose with their jacket sleeve.) The temple is burned in memorium on the last night of the festival.
Bathroom Beacons: The Toilet Bowl
Amid all of the art-for-art’s-sake, there is also art for function. The Toilet Bowl, according to its creator, Terry Gillan, was created after frustrating attempts to find the porta potties after dark. This installation provides a beacon for your bladder via an illuminated sign above the portapotties notifying Burners that restrooms are close. But that’s not all. Upon arrival at The Toilet Bowl, everyone who really has to pee will find a two-lane, regulation-size bowling alley equipped with a shoe rental counter and classic alley seats. Oh, and they’re screening The Big Lebowski on repeat.
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