Temple of Transition: It’s Big and It’s Happening

This is Chris “Kiwi” Hankins, leader of the 2011 Temple crew, with a scale model of the Temple of Transition. Those of you who visited the Megatropolis installation in 2010 will recognize its colorful silhouette, which should give you a point of reference. Yes, that’s to scale.

Another point of reference: three times the height of Marco Cochrane’s “Bliss Dance”.

This year, a largely international Temple crew will construct a circle of six structures: five 58-foot-high outer temples, and a 120-foot-high inner temple. The temples will be connected with 60-foot-long walkways. The entire installation will have a diameter of 200 feet, and will be taller than the Man.

To build something on this scale, as Burners well know, you need an impassioned leader. Enter Kiwi, an experienced builder who’s been constructing the Man at Kiwiburn (New Zealand’s regional burn) for several years, and who has also lent a hand to build Black Rock City as part of the Department of Public Works.

Kiwi’s latest achievement is Megatropolis, which he and the International Arts Megacrew built last year.

“Before we were even finished building Megatropolis, I was already thinking ‘what are we gonna build next?'” Kiwi says. Later, as Megatropolis burned, a friend turned to him and asked, “What do you think?”

“I think I want to do the Temple,” Kiwi replied.

sketch via temple2011.org

Of course, Kiwi isn’t doing this alone. He’s surrounded with people like Irish, Beave, Risky, Teresa, Smooches, Diva and plenty of skilled and dedicated crew members. The Megacrew is solid, and they love working in Reno. “This is our home away from home,” Kiwi says, “and we knew we wanted to build it here.” When the project was announced, “support from Reno was amazing. People were jumping through hoops to help.” The local community has donated resources, man-hours and political support — city councilman Dave Aiazzi has even helped with the build.

This weekend, I joined my friend Dusty Bacon (Burner fashion blogger at Dusty Couture), and we went down to Hobson Square to see the work in progress.

photo: Smooches

Kiwi says that over 300 people have already donated their time to help build the structure, which is about 60 percent done.

We also ran into some crew members at this weekend’s Reno Block Party, where they were raising awareness for the project. Megacrew volunteers are putting in time, effort and their own materials to support the Temple of Transition however they can.

photo: Dusty Bacon

How You Can Help!

At this point, the project’s needs are very specific: Money and materials make the world go round.

Through July 7, you can donate to the Temple’s IndieGoGo fund. (Past that date, donate via WePay.) They’re looking for at least $27,000 to cover the remaining materials, plus the cost of transporting the project to playa.

If you’re in Vancouver, Reno or New York, come out to your local Temple fundraiser. And bring friends!

Truckee-Tahoe Lumber has provided huge amounts of materials at a deep discount, but there’s still a need for more. According to Kiwi, they’ve already used 1,000 sheets of half-inch plywood. 2×6, 2×8 and 2×10 boards are also in demand.

To raise the structure, they’ll need 1,500 feet of rigging cable and a very large crane. And, of course, trucks and drivers to transport it all to Black Rock City.

Reno locals: The crew can use skilled labor or even someone to help with cooking and cleaning for workers at Hobson Square.

The on-playa crew list is full, with 140 members enlisted to work. Some 90 of those crew members are flying in from overseas.

The Temple crew has always had international members, but this will be the most varied group yet. In this, as in other things, it truly does represent a transition, an evolution and a community endeavor for the cities of Black Rock and Reno.

Connect with the Temple crew on their website, on Facebook or on Twitter.

About the author: The Hun

The Hun

The Hun, also known as J.H. Fearless, has been blogging for Burning Man (and many other outlets) since 2005, which is also the year she joined the BRC DPW on a whim that turned out to be a ten-year commitment. Since then she's won some awards for blogging, built her own creative business, and produced some of the Burning Blog's most popular stories and series. She co-created a grant-funded art piece, "Refoliation," in 2007, and stood next to it watching the Man burn on Monday night during a full lunar eclipse. She considers that, in many ways, to have been the symbolic end of Burning Man that was. The Hun lives in Reno with DPW Shade King, Quiet Earp. You may address her as "The Hun" or "Hun". If you call her "Honey" she reserves the right to cut you.

13 Comments on “Temple of Transition: It’s Big and It’s Happening

  • Gary Bayless says:

    Amazing…. Wish I could help on the job

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  • Dave Rankin says:

    To the guy who wished he could help. Take out your credit card. Go to the website linked above after the word donate and type in some numbers. The will even send you a t-shirt if you do. Dave

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  • Tracey says:

    Wow, taller than the Man? Isn’t this the first temple to be taller? Interesting!

    I’m extremely excited to see this temple. I think it’s stunning from what I can tell.

    Thanks for all your hard work, temple crew! <3

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  • Jim Bowers says:

    Hey Guys and Gals, I’m trying to reconnect with Irish. Could you het him in touch with me regarding the 1MileClock / Temple interaction? We need to go over new details and specs if we’re to do this…. And I REALLLLLY wanna do this! – Jimbowers@foothill.net

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  • MUnk says:

    Yeah Kiwi, Beave n Irish! Love you guys! soo proud, soo honored, cant wait!

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  • Ops31337 says:

    things like this and the Otic Oasis makes me feel as if I’ll never accomplish anything of any significance. Humbling; truly humbling. Donation made.

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  • Donna Bach says:

    Greetings Awesome Temple Builders, and especially my friend, Smooches,
    I’ve been asked by the Burning Man Playa Choir to send a request for an opportunity
    to present an inspirational concert, or maybe a Singing “service” on Sunday morning in the main, large capacity area of the Temple of Transition this year. This is the seventh year our choir, headed by Madi Hollingsworth, will be doing the Sunday service, and we’d love to know if it would be possible to present it this year at the Temple? Please let me know and I’d love to hear from Smooches, too, I’m her friend from Sonora~Firewalker! Thanks for the amazing vision you all are holding for creating this Community Icon!

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  • alaska glacier says:

    I can only hope and pray that this awesome beautiful temple will not be spray paint tagged like the Temple of Flux was last year. This temple design is freeking mindblowing and I cannot wait to experience it live on the playa. Outstanding job!!

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  • will says:

    stopped by the job site where these awesome people are building the temple today and what can i say other than it looks like they have put a lot of work into it so far and i cant wait to see it all put together! even though it seemed everyone was hard at work (which they deffinantly were) the temple crew was still smiling and having a good time, nothin like burner hospitality! im anxiouse to see all those smiles a bit dustier at the burn!!!!!!!!!!!

    keep up the hard work temple crew!!!

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  • Cat says:

    Today while having coffee in Reno we were approached by a lovely lady named Jana. She noticed our Playa dust covered car in the parking lot and said “it has to be yours”. She suggested we take a look at the Temple Build site.
    After JUST looking at the plans and sketches on line we knew this is exactly what we should do.

    So we did, with burritos in tow to feed the hungry volunteers. WOW! What an amazing operation. We met all of the people working, everyone was excited and happy though sticky with sweat. (It’s freakin hot in Reno). Bits and pieces of the temple were scattered meticulously around the warehouse while stacks of already built modules lay covered in a fenced yard just outside the warehouse.

    We met Kiwi, what a lovely man. THE HOURS, DAYs, MONTH’s that have been spent on this project is amazing. Volunteers are literally coming from all over the world to invest time, energy and sacrifice their home life to be apart of this beautiful project. Kiwi said that over a million nails will go into the build. Can you believe the man hours it takes to drive that many nails?

    It was such an honor and privilege to see just a morsel of this process. Thank you so much to all those involved in this project. Your efforts give me and others a place to release pain, sorrow and latch on to hope that life is and will be as beautiful as The Temple of Transition.

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  • Brad Shaw says:

    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more commentary here about the unnecessary environmental damage from the consumption of resources to the burning of such a large amount of timber and fuel. The event is called “Burning Man”, not “Burning Temple” and for the first 14 years of burning man the temple didn’t exist.

    Jessica wrestles with her emotions, talks about her inner caveman, and about friends who passed away, and the burning of the mementos left in the temple that go up to heaven; an interesting statement from someone who says she’s not religious. You can burn mementos in a small camp fire or leave them at the base of the Burning Man. Your dearly departed friends might have preferred if the temple was reused or recycled instead of incinerated.

    She also talks about the need to provide a bigger and bigger spectacle every year to satisfy the participants, but that’s not what Burning Man is supposed to represent. Will the temple continue to grow each and every year consuming ever larger quantities of resources and doing greater and greater levels of environmental damage? Where do you draw the line?

    These aren’t responsible actions and this all just reeks of the entitlist attitudes so prevalent in today’s society. We’re going to burn it because we want to, because we can, damn everyone and everything else. It’s massively hypocritical if you position yourself as a person that cares anything about the environment.

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  • Eric says:

    I remember David Best, whether it was true or not, always claimed that the Temple was SHORTER than the Man. He did so out of a respect that came from feeling like a guest. Interesting that this crew boasts about it being taller.

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  • Green Heron says:

    I think that this temple is beautiful and I appreciate the vision and dedication of the artists and volunteers. However, I feel that this is the year that the temple jumped the shark. Bigger (than the man) is not better and weren’t the original temples built from re-used plywood that had shapes cut out from some other manufacturing process? This massive temple built of first-use materials seems gaudy.

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