The State of the ART

Three days before the event begins, I am most pleased to report to you that this year’s ART is sprouting up like playa fire flowers all around our beloved Black Rock City. Everywhere one hears the sounds of drills and hammers, grinders and heavy equipment and the white hot crackle of acetylene torches at night beneath huge floodlights. The communal unloading, lifting and erecting is moving forward full force. Some many crews of artists haven’t stopped working since they hit the playa.

In a post apocalyptic world, there is a difference between surviving and surviving in style. In our desolate lake bed, we are surviving very much in style.

I was able to pull myself away from the alternating working and cocktail parties to take a stroll around and visit with the artists and take in some of this year’s installations.

The Man on his Tangled Bank

The Man on his Tangled Bank

The Man is atop a Tangled Bank this year. A forest of nailed wooden organic shapes surround him and create a space we haven’t ever seen in the Man base. The trees, or flames, or crystals, or dancers or whatever they look like to you suggest a small homage to the Belgian Waffle of years past. Whatever it is, I like it and true to the theme, it’s definitely a fresh evolution of the Man’s surroundings.

Currently the lighting, including a double helix that winds around the Man pole, and other Evolutionary Mud bug sculptures are being installed below.

The Man lighting crew, Spanky, Trademark, Wizard Wonka, Kimmy Kat and GoGo in the Tangled Bank.
The Man lighting crew, Spanky, Trademark, Wizard Wonka, Kimmy Kat and GoGo in the Tangled Bank.

The Flaming Lotus Girls’, Soma looks to be structurally pretty much fully built and I was told they were almost ready to bring in their techies to bring it to life. I spoke with Peter and Tim of Gee-Gnome, an offshoot of the Flaming Lotus Girls, and they have much of their fire and electronics ready for their piece. And Fishbug aka Chimera Sententia looks just as creepy as I envisioned it, sitting there over by the road to the 3:00 plaza. All three of these installations are placed in the same general area, to the right of the main walkway to the Man from Center camp. If the Flaming Lotus Girls are a University where Fire Artists get their degrees, they are producing some amazing graduates, and as Peter said, “We all like Art and we all like fire”, so it makes sense.

Soma, by the Flaming Lotus Girls
Soma by the Flaming Lotus Girls

Chimera Sententia aka Fishbug
Chimera Sententia aka Fishbug, by Rebecca Anders & Jessica Hobbs

The Flame Thrower Shooting Gallery is coming along nicely and Bill Codding and his Burninator Grid are to the right of the Man. The Grid promises to be pretty impressive. They’ve arranged their huge tanks relatively close together and participants will be able to walk through as the Grid is controlled by a conductor on a raised stage in the middle. There is Fire this yea,r people. Prepare to get your Fire Art fix.

Flamethrower Shooting Gallery by Matisse Enze
FlameThrower Shooting Gallery by Matisse Enze

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship is standing tall and its silver metallic skin gleams in the sun. There is a large crew of people working on it and when I stopped by they were working on the inside, putting in the first floor which is a red see-through resin. One of their crew, Talia says looks like it is made of red Jolly Ranchers. Three floors will eventually be built out and participants will be able to tour the Rocketship, where, among other cool things, you will be able to see the high voltage glass tubes inside. They’re circling the Rocketship with the L2k lights and listen for the Victory Sirens from the Crude Awakening year. Friday is lift off. Be there.

It is located towards the 9:00 plaza road.

Raygun Gothic Rocketship by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, John Manyjohns (and many others)
Raygun Gothic Rocketship by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, John Manyjohns (and many others)

Other fantastic projects I visited are the Fire of Fires aka the Temple. This year there is a Fire Vortex in the middle of the Temple and I was told that they tested it last night and it works, which is very very cool to behold. In the outer playa, to the left of the Temple, we chanced upon the crew of The Nest of Recollection by Matthew Schultz and Kevan Christiaens from Reno. The piece is the Bird Man’s living room and it’s definitely worth checking out when you’re out there. Nice people.

I was also very fortunate to be there when the Portal of Evolution by Bryan Tedrick was being completed as its huge wings were being placed by a crane atop the installation. This piece is sublime and beautiful. The Portal will have fire effects at night and will stand out as one of the most beautiful pieces on the playa this year.

Portal of Evolution by Bryan Tedrick

Portal of Evolution by Bryan Tedrick.

The weather has been a bit challenging these last two days, so let us wish the best to all the artists out here who are spending grueling days building their installations to share with all of Black Rock City. To put so much of your time and energy into bringing your Art to life for this brief week of impermanence, to execute and share your Art, well, all I can say is, we are definitely in for a treat this year.

all images by Moze

About the author: Moze


John Mosbaugh aka Moze is a SF Bay Area heretic and writer who's been hauling himself out to Black Rock City since the Nebulous Entity first beckoned him to check out this phenomenon known as Burning Man. Moze is a "Life Collector" who scribbles down encounters with you to share on the blog. He enjoys the hyper reality of that week in the desert enough to keep coming back. He's been on the Burning Man web team since aught two and has written for Piss Clear and the YEP (Yahoo Education Project). He doesn't speak for the org and he finds you fascinating. He celebrates you and loves it when you take away ideas from Burning Man and share them with the rest of the world. He likes to make grilled cheese on Burn Night afternoon and gift it to you because you're probably hungry. Moze is a big fan of fire, art, freedom and community.

14 Comments on “The State of the ART

  • Joy says:

    GREAT post – thank you! Experiencing BM vicariously, so very much appreciating the blogs and photos being shared!

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  • BeCuz says:

    Thank You! Not being able to attend this year is in itself so disappointing but, being able to feel the experience through your photos, and eyes has become so meaningful. Looking forward to more!!

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  • ladybee says:

    Moze! Lovely report, and I , too, am enjoying watching the art come alive. The tangled bank is beautiful and it’s wonderful to see the man on a piece of sculpture for a change, bravo and let’s hope to see more of this in the future. Love how the man appears to be floating above the bank at night!! I ran into Blue there last night, installing the lighting, and learned a thing or two about LED technology from him. The water effect on the playa surface inside of the bank is hypnotic. Bryan Tedrick’s portal is a lovely almost art nouveau-ish piece and I’m sorry it’s not in the Keyhole where it should be….oh well…..

    I”m seeing a lot of interesting smaller pieces scattered about the playa and soon there will be many more….I like that the major installations have been placed within the city but do explore the deep playa to find the hidden gems out there.

    as always it’s a huge pleasure to be sitting on our camp deck, drinking coffee and watching the city awaken.

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  • Barbarino says:

    Looks like you’re having a good time out there :-) Say ‘hi’ to everyone for me at the GnG on Wednesday!

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  • Christian says:

    Thank you for the updates, I am counting down the days until I am off work to come and see! Yay!!!!

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  • Burner says:

    The man looks Amazing. The only gripe i have is that, I wish more attention was given to the plain base he is on..Would be nice to see it wrapped in 2×4’s like the rest of the base..Great job nonetheless.

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  • Momma N says:

    my son is there for the first time – please, someone tell him to use his sunscreen!! : )

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  • Momma L. says:

    My daugher is there for her first time too. I’m with her in spirit! It all looks so amazing.

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  • Gary says:

    Thank you for your report, I am living BM vicariously, through blogs. My son is there, his second trip, so if you see a young man wearing a thousand glowin the dark bracelets, please take a picture of him and post it for me….again, thanks for your words and nice pictures…hoping for lots more!

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  • Ocotpus says:

    Brilliant, such wonderful shots and thanks so much for these stories. I was gonna try to just focus on other things since I can’t/am choosing not to be on the playa this year for my favorite dream world. The art is what I will miss the most, nothing like it. Sending big luv to all my cohorts at the ARTery who are working hard supporting the artists/art of Black Rock. Complete my 5th year with them last year, some of the best times of my life.
    Peace, Octopus

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  • Marcia Wiley says:

    Please post a picture of Eve’s Evolving Flame. Thank you.

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  • Anria says:

    Moze, I tried. I really did. and I did stay till Saturday, but when I woke up under a pile of sand yesterday that was the last straw. within less than an hour I had us all packed and out of there just in time to miss the first dust gust of the day.

    Thank you to Scottie who brought Clean amazing showers to Gerlach, so that I could be clean just as soon as I left that hotashell playa with the dust that threatened my sanity.

    To all the artists – the things I saw inspired and amazed me, but nothing, Nothing in this earth will make me go back again voluntarily. not even insects want to live there. I didn’t see even one apart from the lovely creatures created and lit up in neon …

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  • pandasex says:

    Does anyone know exactly how many planks were used to make the base of the man??

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  • thyrza says:

    Thanks for the words and wonderful photo’s!!!

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