Guild Workshops, modern day maker spaces conceived in the spirit of the Renaissance, will be the central feature of a Piazza at this year’s Man Pavilion. Historically, guilds organized many aspects of a city’s socio-economic life. They may have included wool and silk traders, bankers, furriers and shoe makers. It’s no wonder that in a city like Black Rock, driven by art and experience, you will find glassblowers, blacksmiths, dreamers, chainsaw-wielding portrait makers, musicians, engineers, teachers, and many more. The Guild Workshops invite participants to manipulate mediums from molten glass to liquid steel, smelted aluminum to copper metal, sunlight to sound.
For years, Burning Man Regionals have been delighting participants with projects conceived in and delivered from far flung corners of the country and around the globe. This year is no different; 13 of the 32 Guild Workshops will be brought to you by Regional groups, including four international Regional projects coming from: Finland, Germany, Japan and Lithuania.
One of the guilds, Elephant Expressions, will examine Radical Self Expression as part of a 10-year project exploring the 10 Principles of Burning Man on and off playa. Members of Black Rock City’s own Department of Public Works will showcase their artisanal knowhow at Scultura di Collettivo, a blacksmithing guild guiding participants in the creation of a collective sculpture. We’ll witness the return of the Dragon Smelter as liquid aluminum is pressed into Florins before your very eyes, and knowledgeable engineers will provide instruction and resources to build your very own small scale flying machine.
This year’s Piazza is shaping up to be a bustling city centre full of beauty, inspiration and hands-on participation offered by participants for participants. We encourage you to learn from and engage with the many artists, artist collectives and Regional groups bringing their ingenuity and skill to the Guild Workshops of Black Rock City. A complete list of Guilds follows at the end of this article.
Rounding out the piazza, the campaniles, the piazza’s bell towers, will contain Leonardo-inspired bells to chime the hours:
Roger Carr is a feral physicist from Berkeley, who has done several Burning Man honorarium projects in past years. This year he has decided to channel Leo da Vinci and build a bell ringing gizmo in each of four campanile towers after a design of da Vinci’s. These are to call Burners to rotate Uomo Vitruviano on the hour.
Elsewhere, in the Piazza, you’ll find sculptures of a Renaissance inspiration:
Steven Lee Burright — playa name: Faceplant — is proud to create his first piece for Burning Man.
Steven has had a thirty year career as a Scenic Artist. He has painted, sculpted, built, and made props for hundreds of productions, but this is a grand opportunity for him to create a piece that is all his own.
Steven has worked on many production teams from Henson productions to the Discovery Channel but now creates for himself and for Burning Man.
He hopes with his Sculpture, “Determinazione”, to depict the determination it takes, in the face of the harsh elements, to create the event’s infrastructure. It is through this determination that artists and participants get a playground for their radical expression.
Vulfie Munson returns to the Man Pavilion with Improba Putti:
Improba Putti is in the style of an Italian renaissance sculpture with modern elements. She and they will have the look of Patinated Bronze and Copper. It has mythological beings inter-reacting in a playful (or not so playful) way, depicting an innocence during the Renaissance period.
Improba Putti is a Female Centaur being pulled by Winged Putti. The bas-reliefs encircling the plinth will be of underground scenes depicting caves, roots, stalactites, as well as a salamander, crayfish, bats and an armadillo.
Matthew ‘Fish’ Dockrey is a Seattle-area industrial artist who got his start on the playa with projects such as “Harmonic Fire Pendula” and “GMBLMZ.” He is now in the middle of an awkward transition to full-time artist focusing on public art installations. This year he is building “Hubris” for the Man Pavilion, a kinetic celebration of those who dare to defy the gods. Featuring Otto Lilienthal as Icarus, it will look at the last 200 years of scientific and technical progress through the lens of classical mythology.
Kevin Clark of Medusa Madness fame brings us Guardiano Leone:
Lions are representative of protection and therefore our Guardiano Leone is the guardian of the Man. Leonardo Da Vinci was fond of building flying machines and I felt it was only fitting to build a flying lion. Guardian Leone stands eight feet tall and has a wingspan of approximately 16 feet and made of various metals. (no photo available)
New York based artist and engineer Matthew Davis will be bringing his DISC-GO-SPHERE to the Man Pavilion. Last year was Matthew’s first burn, and he dove in way deeper than he expected, developing the breathing for “R-Evolution.” After many years of helping other artists bring their creations to life, he is finally doing his own interactive kinetic sculpture with help from a bunch of friends he’s made along the way. This sculpture takes the flat circular sketch of Da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” and brings it into three-dimensional kinetic reality.
New to Burning Man but well versed in Leonardo da Vinci is Dennis George Sparling, a self-described Scythian Hunter. From New Haven, VT he brings us Leonardo himself to grace the piazza. His Leonardo stands a whopping 9 feet tall in metal.
And what public square would be complete without a vending machine? An Adventure Vending Machine, that is?
Can Burners be brave and redefine radical participation? LAME Arts, a Bay Area art collective, is creating an Adventure Vending Machine that dispenses adventures created by you! Push a button: go on a community-created adventure, receive a special token, and return to unlock a community-created gift!
Adventure Vending will be a beautiful sculpture and functional furniture piece at the Man base, but it won’t be anything without the creativity of Burners. The entire project is community-driven, so we need you to submit adventures and gifts ASAP!
2016 Guild Workshops at the Man Pavilion
More information on these projects and ways to participate will be posted here in the coming months, and on the Guild Workshops Facebook fan page.
If you have any questions about the Guilds, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arte Della Luce – Maker Labs, Vancouver, BC
Becoming the Master / Mistress of Stones: The Arts of Buon Fresco Revealed – Gabrielle Clark & Ritual Arts Collective, Oceanside, CA
Chasing the Pounder “Repoussé Café” – Jim Williams & The Guild of Wanderlust, Salt Lake City, UT
Commedia dell’Arte Morality Puppet Play – Orange County Burners, Westminster, CA
Amalgamated Debris Assemblage – Jimmy Descant, Salida, CO
D’Oro de Sacramenti Regionale – Sacramento Regional, Sacramento, CA
Dragon Smelter – Dragon Smelter Crew, Oakland, CA
Elephant Expressions – Scott London, New York, NY
Geometrical Constructions – Rhombohedron Society, Los Angeles, CA
Grand Elaborated Rule Masters And No-holds-barrers (G.E.R.M.A.N.) – German Burners, Berlin, Germany
Guild of Mile Higher Knowledge – Colorado Burners, Denver, CO
Hot Glass Arts Guild – Berkeley Bohemian Glassblowing Cooperative, Oakland, CA
I Tamburisti di FIREnze – Camp Thump Thump, New Orleans, LA
Koulu on Fire – Finnish Burners, Helsinki, Finland
Leonardo Da Vinci’s Flying Machines – Ed Van Dyne, Loveland, CO
LOOP – Dream Machine Guild, Tokyo, Japan
M3 – Minnesota Makers & Masterpieces – Minnesota Regional Burning Arts Council, Minneapolis, MN
Mad Sorcerer’s Workshop – NY regional
Polimerica sulla Playa – Horny Camp, New York, NY
Renoardo’s Artisan Menagerie – Reno C.O.R.E. Project, Reno, NV
Scopri da Vinci – Mark Rodgers and Matt Boggs, Chicago/Denver
Scultura di Collettivo – Forge of the Global Enlightenment, Truckee, CA
The Black Rock Notary – The Guild of Absolvance, Saugerties, NY
The Mask Factory – The Mask Factory Collective, Kingwood, TX
The Renaissance of Musical Instruments – Lithuanian Burners & M-Lab, Vilnius, Lithuania
Vapor Cannon Guild – Alabama Burners, Birmingham, AL
YO! Union Guild BRC Local 420 – Philly Burners, Philadelphia, PA
Ziggy Sawdust & The Chainsaws from Mars – Glenn Richardson, Woodstock, VA
Top image by Jack Haye