Is an Oasis of Silence Possible?

Really? At Burning Man, is this even possible? A group of artists building Otic Oasis seem to think so.

Gregg Fleishman's design for Otic Oasis
3D render of Gregg Fleishman's design for Otic Oasis

Our experimental city provides us many things, but a huge gap in the structure of our temporary home are places for silence. It is rather funny isn’t it. Our city sits in the Black Rock Desert, a 400 square mile expanse of quite literately nothingness and during the week of the festival you’d be hard pressed to find a space of silence.

Otic Oasis is not your usually variety of “death to sound camps” grumpy harrumphing “Burning Man was better back in the day” project. Instead the reason I’m compelled by this project is its understanding of the need for both sound and silence. The creators behind Otic are calling for balance, creating a project that supports and expands the diversity of our city. They see that both environments are needed; the frenetic energy of the art, fire, people and music; and the silent spaces for reflection, grounding and pause.

First test modules of Otic Oasis
First modules of Otic Oasis being constructed and tested

Described as Black Rock City’s first Wilderness Outpost, Otic Oasis will be found deep in the walk-in camping area.

This will be the first structure placed in a cordoned off wilderness area, deep in walk-in camping, where no motorized vehicles are permitted. This unexplored zone is also free of loud amplified music, Las Vegas-like lights, and frenetic energy. The OTIC OASIS can be reached only by foot or bike, enhancing the desert calm.

Not only is the concept of Otic Oasis compelling the structure and upcoming build reinforces its gift of silence. It is made completely of interlocking wood, with no nails, glue or metal fasteners. When constructed on the playa the crew will also work within the requirements of the walk-in camping area, all build materials will be hand-carted into the Oasis’ wilderness location, and the structure will be erected without use of any motorized vehicles.

Gregg Fleishman
Artist and architect Gregg Fleishman, designed the most incredible refuge, to provide both solace and solitude.

In past years it has been virtually impossible to find a quiet space to escape the constant pulsing aural landscape and have a peaceful moment to reflect. This year Otic Oasis will provide that place, a much needed “audio antidote” to the cacophony of BRC by providing this “wilderness area.”  To support this self-funded project visit their kickstarter

We need places like this.

Otic Detail
An example of the wonderful detail work to be found throughout Otic Oasis

About the author: Jess Hobbs

Jess Hobbs

People have often described Jessica Hobbs as someone trying to lead a compulsively artistic life, which is more or less true. She started off her adventure in a small Sierra Foothill town and eventually meandered her way to the San Francisco Bay Area. Along the way Jess has worn many hats; running and creating community art programs, counseling teenagers, curating, exhibiting, designing, photographing and creating monumental interactive art experiences. She is an MFA graduate from the San Francisco Art Institute and has been wandering and creating in the dust fest for well over a decade. Collaboration is her magic ingredient for success in work, community, art and life. This can be seen through her founding and directing work with the Flux Foundation and All Power Labs.

10 Comments on “Is an Oasis of Silence Possible?

  • Jess Hobbs says:

    The more I learn about the stories and ideas that lead up to this the more I fall in love with this project!

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  • Syn says:

    Magnificent blog! You truly cut to the core of the project.

    When people find out that I thought up the idea for this space, they always ask me if I just hate electronic music and partying and why do I even bother coming to Burning Man. The funny thing is, I am one of the only people I know who actually, sort of, likes that genre of music (well, maybe less after 10 days solid….) and I was a Pan Am flight attendant living in NYC when I was 21 so no one has ever come close to the level of partying I have been able to maintain for decades across many countries (and I’m not talking hippie gatherings full of cuddles and love but balls out raucousness).

    We tend to celebrate a lot at Burning Man but I think an additional 11th principle could include “Radical Diversity.” The minute BRC gets too one dimensional in any one area, I think the magic starts to get muddled.

    I believe that the space that we are all working towards creating will never “preach” a spiritual/religious/self righteous message but will honor diversity and another type of freedom that seems missing as the city expands into an expanse we didn’t think possible it would ever have a saturation point.

    Thank you, thank you for not only helping the project but understanding it.


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  • DustyHugs says:

    So wonderful, thank you for sharing this project… Its needed and appreciated :)

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  • Finch says:

    Brilliant. I love it. I love to engage with a community of people but also to engage with nature, self and silence. It has always seemed bizarre to me that people trek into the wilderness then fill it up with “city” party sounds… will be wonderful to have a point of balance. Thank you and thank you for your huge efforts to comply with the spirit of the space and lugging the structure in by hand!! xx

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  • Sparrow says:

    I can’t wait to climb this!

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  • Burning Red Bush says:

    This is exciting work. For someone like me, who can reach the saturation point very easily when stimulated with too many sights and sounds, you provide a place for my senses to cycle through a refractory phase before I can go back out for another round, refreshed. I will seek you out.

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  • glenn campbell says:

    this piece rocked my face off, silently. me, my partner and my daughter sat in one of the pods for an hour. it provided a GREAT view of the playa and it took me back to a time when i built a honeymoon suite in a very similar location 1999, one of my best burns. EVERYONE exiting the piece had only good things to say. bravo, PLAAAYYYAAA!!!

    glenn campbell

    ps. we donated to this project and it felt so good. go kickstarter, i don’t think i would have known how to donate otherwise. also, the workmanship is spectacular. the cutouts, the finish. i hope it shows in other places for more people to enjoy!!!

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  • ずっと付けてる奴は目の細胞調べてもらった方がいい
    目を洗うやつ使えば取れるやろたぶん 特に宮崎。カラコンでブスになってどうする
    満州矢追純一・モルモン飛鳥昭雄・ハローバイバイ関・ムー・スピリチュアリスト・竹田恒泰・岡田英弘・渡部昇一・加瀬英明・小林よしのり・宮崎正弘  世界史は嘘ニダ。日本は日本文明ニダ。 

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  • あと普通に張り付かず外せるかららくちん。もうちょい色が欲しいから、ハニーかヘーゼルも購入予定。 真摯にお願いするかつまらなくなった理由を説明するかどっちかにしろよ
    ベンジャミン・フルフォードによれば中央銀行を国営化すれば税金・社会保障・医療費・学費が無料になるそうです。 我々は支配者らに飼われてるというのが分かるか?

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