Get into the C.O.R.E.! Dispatches from Black Rock City!

The Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) is taking form before our eyes out here in dusty Black Rock City! Now in its second year, CORE is a massive collaborative art installation comprised of 34 effigies created by Burning Man Regional groups from around the world. The majority of CORE project leads will arrive tomorrow but a few groups have already started building their art out here in our desert home. This afternoon, Squishelle, our resident CORE Cheerleader and one of our Vancouver Regional Contacts, and I hopped in her blue VW van, Peacock, to greet the groups and see how the projects were coming along.

Stella Octangula crew from Mid Atlantic hard at work! (Photo by Squishelle)

We first laid our eyes on Stella Octangula, the MiAtlantic/Philadelphia project. When we first arrived, they were staging they their second geometric shape to be connected to the first one that they’d perfectly laid into the playa. Eventually, it will form a giant star tetrahedron, which is a symbol of divine essence and beauty. The crew members were warm, friendly, and offered us a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (yum! My favorite!) and we talked Jersey and Garden State Parkway exits.  During the CORE Art Walk on Tuesday afternoon, the Stella crew will host a workshop about how to created divine geometric forms through the art of origami. They will also be having a ritual dance performance that embodies the archetypal dualities between fire and air at 5pm on Tuesday.

Stella Moment (L to R) Megs, Liz Perri, Dennis Drewyer, Big Jawn, Monk E Burnswell, Reno Rox, and Hedy Jeffree (Photo by Squishelle)

After chatting with the Stella crew, Squishelle and I wandered over to the site of Victoria, B.C.’s project, PsychoPhilia. Squishelle delighted in seeing the British Columbia license plate from her neighboring region and we smiled together because we’d attended Otherworld, Victoria’s annual Regional burn together last Summer. We also recently saw some beautiful images of the effigy during their test build, and we’re excited to see it come to life on the playa. Right now, the effigy is in lots of pieces and we look forward to tracking the team’s progress over the next few days and checking in with our BC friends. Victoria’s PsychoPhilia crew plan to be on hand during Tuesday’s Art Walk to explain the idea and symbolism behind their piece. Squishelle then jumped at the chance to pose on the Vancouver Life Tree DG pile across the way!

Our timing was perfect for catching up with the North Bay Twisted Upright House crew. As we pulled up, they were working with Heavy Machinery to forklift their lighthouse base off the flatbed. Tomorrow, they will work coordinate with cranes to lift the House into place. The effigy already looks intricate and beautiful and it’s sure to  delight in its finished state. During the Art Walk, the effigy team will teach Participants about wood carvings and build processes so be sure to stop by!

Twisted Upright House Crew: Bill Dover, Goatt Koch, B-Rad Miller, Jeremy Steam Donkey Harris (Photo by Squishelle)

Next, we saw the Tower of Nowhere in the billowing dust. I got a sneak peak at the piece earlier this Summer at the Nowhere regional event in Spain and learned a bit about foundry and bell casting from lead Ginger Dave. The crew invites you to stop by the Tower early during Burning Man as they will be casting several bronze bells at the base of the tower.

Tower of Nowhere (Photo by Squishelle)



We continued along the circle and ran into Bo, the Perimeter and Safety lead for the Utah Secret of the Bees team. He was working with Heavy Machinery to spread out the DG for what will become a giant, beeeautiful bee with what he promises to be some generously sized lady bits. Just sayin. They might be all the Black Rock City buzz. ;) Come see the bee for yourself during the Art Walk. The Utah team encourages you to show up in Bee regalia between 2-5pm.  They’ll have fortified green jello shots (a Utah delicacy!), honey themed drinks and you’ll dance “the Secret of the Bees” dance! They also encourage Participants to leave offering or mementos to be burnt on Thursday night.


ReinCOWnation from Houston (Photo by Squishelle)

We stopped by Houston’s ReinCOWnation, and, from the looks of it, the crew has been hard at work already. Though we didn’t get to meet the team today, we were impressed by what we saw. A symbol of fertility to the ancients and a recognized emblem of the Lone Star State, this giant cow will rise in rebirth here in the desert before returning to its eternal home during the CORE burn on Thursday evening. During the CORE Art Walk on Tuesday, the Houston group promises to be large and loud, just like their beloved Gulf Coast of Texas. They’ll be serving up sassy snacks, some tunes, and a few surprises to have y’all getting down’ and shouting HOWDY!
During the rest of our visit to the CORE projects this afternoon, we saw that there were several other crews onsite. We’re looking forward to seeing how the groups are progressing tomorrow and to greeting the many other teams that will be gliding through the gates of BRC!


Stay tuned for more updates on CORE! In the meantime, get yourself primed for your exploration of the CORE Projects by visiting our CORE website. Also, we invite YOU to join us on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm at the Man Base for the kickoff of the first ever CORE Art Walk! For full invite details, check out our page.
Until then, Playa con Dios!

About the author: Megs Rutigliano

Megs Rutigliano

Meghan "Megs" Rutigliano is Burning Man's Associate Director of the Regional Network. She oversees Burning Man's annual Global Leadership Conference and European Leadership Summit. Meghan explores the art, events and culture of various regional Burning Man communities in her blog posts.

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