Introducing the 2017 Black Rock City Honoraria

It’s time to really kick off the 2017 Burning Man season. Behold! Here are this year’s art installations selected for Black Rock City Honoraria Grants.

Applicants really embraced this year’s Radical Ritual theme. We’ll find many opportunities for ceremony and ritual, honoring and elevating in shrines, altars, temples, icons, cathedrals — even tombs. Of course, this being Burning Man, it’s a playful mix of the sacred and the profane.

Check out the full listing and descriptions of all 2017 Honoraria projects.

We’ll have the Temple as per (un)usual, plus lots of other temples dotted around the open playa: the Temple of Awareness from Utah, House of Enlightenment from Doug Ruuska, House of doG (a temple to honor animals), Altar de Reflexion, Pyramid of the Dead, Wishing Totem, The Shrine of La Santisima Muerte, Your own personal Jesus, and Sun Goddess, just to name a temple or 10.

Other projects will emphasize the more magical end of the spectrum. Kevin Clark’s 70-foot Flower Tower could be considered a cathedral, sure — except it’s covered in thousands of painted metal flowers that breathe flames. There’s a Field of Fairies by Bill Neely, and a field of fairy shrimp called Of a Temporary Nature. A 12-year-old from Massachusetts is building Flora Resplendica, a giant teapot bedecked with mushrooms and flowers.

Step Forward by Miguel Angel Martin Bordera and Carros de Foc

Other pieces will incorporate movement and pageantry, as befits any ritual celebration. You’ll want to keep an eye out for Step Forward, a 20-foot articulated puppet girl from the street theater tradition of Spain named Euterpe who walks and converses. It’s her first time in BRC, and every day she learns, acculturates and transforms via interactions with participants. And hailing from France will be the Color Wheels, a spectacular parade of a dozen metallic wheels each day at sunset.

Still more will consider the natural world around us. Animals are always a popular theme, but check out how many species will be represented this year: mother bear and her cubs, jellyfish, dung beetle, dragonflies, fairy shrimp, huge owl, cosmic space worm, birds, fish, giant pink flamingo, a flaming steel rooster teeter totter, kinetic Australian insect, ravens, and gummy bears (if those count as animals).

And these are just a few of the pieces that can be easily crammed into categories. There’s so much more where that came from!

Aqueous by Jen Lewin

The Temple

The Temple by Steven Brummond, Marisha Farnsworth and Mark Sinclair

The 18th incarnation of the Temple — sticking with the plain and simple name, The Temple — will be designed by Steven Brummond, Marisha Farnsworth and Mark Sinclair. They were leads on David Best’s temples; two are architects and one is a structural engineer. It will be an impressive 80 feet tall and 120 feet across. They’re milling the lumber themselves, and most of the build will be at a sawmill in Sonora, CA. From their description:

Interlocking timber pieces in formation become a Temple that is both cloud and spire; inverted pyramidal columns suggest the negative-space of a forest canopy, simultaneously supporting a vast pagoda-like ‘cloud’ framework which in turn supports a central spire. In this way disorder gives way to harmony, and a group of dying trees is re-ordered into a cathedral of timbers stretching toward the sky; filtered sun rays will illuminate the intricate work of hundreds of hands building in unison; a collaboration that knits together a community as roots intertwine to give a healthy forest stability.

Returning Favorites

Many of your favorite BRC artists are coming back for more, including Flaming Lotus Girls, Iron Monkeys, Dana Albany, Dadara, Charlie Smith, Mr and Mrs Ferguson with the evolution of their pennies sculptures (Ursa Mater), Peter Hudson returning with his zoetrope Charon (last seen in 2011), Temple of Gravity by Zach Coffin will return for the first time since 2003, and last year’s smash hit La Victrola is coming back for an encore with its giant Art Nouveau gramophone spruced up for 2017.

Efflorescence by Stacey Scriven and the Blazin’ Lily Gals

The Illustrious Grantees

Burning Man Arts is funding BRC art to the tune of $1.2 million this year, including these Honoraria recipients, as well as the Shrines and Processionals in the city plazas and around the Man.

Eighteen international projects received Honoraria grants (up from seven last year): two in the United Kingdom, two in Australia and one each in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, México, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Africa, and Spain. Six Honoraria recipients have never been to Black Rock City, and 12 more are bringing an art installation for the first time. And no report on Burning Man art would be complete without mentioning that, of the 75 projects granted BRC Honoraria, 23 of them will play with fire.

Of course, most of the 300+ art installations in BRC are stuff people just do on their own, with or without outside funding. So peruse the 2017 BRC Honoraria projects, and if you have some vision that is missing from the list, you are warmly invited to make it happen.

Full project descriptions with images and links will be available later in the season.

Methuselah V.2 by Misha Naiman and Gray Davidson

2017 Black Rock City Honoraria Recipients

Action Figure Family — Jeff Allen Ricks — Palm Springs, CA

Altar de Reflexion — Andria Dawn — Mariposa, CA

Aluna — Juan David Marulanda & Team Aluna — Bogotá, Colombia

Aqueous — Jen Lewin — New York, NY

Blacksmith Shop — Anton Standteiner & Blacksmith Shop — Truckee, CA

Bloom — Peter Hazel — Reno, NV

BRC Historic Landmark Plaques — Heyu Kelley & Ski Patrol — Chicago, IL

Celestial Field — Eleanor Cranke — London, United Kingdom

Charon — Peter Hudson — San Francisco, CA

Cosmic Space Worm — Tyler FuQua — Eagle Creek, OR

Dance For The Dawn — Karolis Misevicius & Lithuania Burners — Vilnius, Lithuania

Daruma — Angela Chang & The Daruma Project — Los Angeles, CA

Desert Eyes — Pooya Kamranjam — Detmold, Germany

Efflorescence — Stacey Scriven & the Blazin’ Lily Gals — Calgary, Canada

Field of Fairies — Bill Neely & NF/Observatory LTD — Silver City, NM

Fire Ancestor — Trey Watkins & Frogma — San Francisco, CA

Fire Spinner — Anton Viditz-Ward & Deep Creek Experimental — Telluride, CO

Flight of Illumination — Iron Monkey Arts — Seattle, WA

Flora Resplendica — Mayahuel Morse — Malden, MA

Gummie Bear Mandala Pyramid — Karla DelCarpio — Long Beach, CA

Heardt — Tomáš Bukáček & Blok_4 — Úhonice, Czech Republic

Hispatext — Mariano Rodriguez Ribas & Gauchos del Fuego — Buenos Aires, Argentina

House of doG — Daniel Garcia — Denver, CO

House of Enlightenment — Douglas Ruuska & Divide by Zero Labs — Brighton, MA

Hurry up Slowly — Freetown Christiania — Copenhagen, Denmark

IN CASE: A UKE — Justin Lange — Brooklyn, NY

Incinerator for Obsolete Resentments — Anton Viditz-Ward, Duncan, Claude, Gary, Pepper, Adrienne, Jake, Dan & Deep Creek Experimental — Telluride, CO

Interspecies Communication — Ela Lamblin & Lelavision — Vashon, WA

La Victrola — La Victrola Society — Oakland, CA

Light Years Away — Wynn Buzzell — Denver, CO

Macchina Naturale — David Boyer — Reno, NV

Magnetic Waltz — Frankie Meyers & The Phage/The Institute — Richmond, CA

Margareta Appalachia — James Michael Eros — Houston, TX

Methuselah V.2 — Misha Naiman, Gray Davidson & Majorelle Arts — Oakland, CA

Múcaro — el NiNO Alicea — Puerto Rico

NOETICA — Flaming Lotus Girls — San Francisco, CA

Of a Temporary Nature — P. Michael Quinn — Beechgrove, TN

Paragate — Michael Emery — Santa Cruz, CA

Phoenicopterus Rex: Welcome Home — Josh Zubkoff — San Francisco, CA

Photomaton — David Cocciante & Bertrand Lanthiez — Brooklyn, NY

Pleiadian Oasis — Nathan Starchild & Gang Star Gazers — Vaucluse, New South Wales, Australia

Pulsefield — Brent Townshend — Menlo Park, CA

Pyramid of the Dead — Tomas Burkey & La Calaca — San Miguel de Allende, México

Reaching Through — Jessica Levine — South Lake Tahoe, CA

Seesaw Spiral — Feifei Zhou & Department of Ontological Theatre — DOT — London, United Kingdom

Shibari Sanctuary — Kinoko Hajime & Benjamin Langholz — Tokyo, Japan

Solipmission – an initiation into Future Realities — Dadara — Amsterdam, Netherlands

Step Forward — Miguel Angel Martin Bordera & Carros de Foc — Alicante, Valencia, Spain

Sun Goddess — Daniel Popper — Cape Town, South Africa

Sysimetsä — Helena Rivas & The Landing Ravens — Ukiah, CA

Tara Mechani — Dana Albany — San Francisco, CA

Temple of Gravity — Zachary Coffin — Alameda, CA

The 11 Benches of Sitting Man — Amber Coutts & Art To Be Continued… — Santa Clara, CA

The Color Wheels — Compagnie OFF — Saint-Pierre-des-Corps, France

The Dragonfly Mating Ritual — Ed VanDyne & Rocky Mountain High Flyers Guild — Loveland, CO

The Dung Bug — Brennan Steele & friends — New Orleans, LA

The Flower Tower — Kevin Clark & Reared in Steel, LLC — Petaluma, CA

The Gates — Kat Caric — Santa Clara, CA

The Shrine of La Santisima Muerte — Marco Turrubiartes — San Diego, CA

The Solacii — Tigre Bailando — Oakland, CA

The Temple — Steven Brummond, Marisha Farnsworth & Mark Sinclair — Oakland, CA

The Temple of Awareness — Bobby Gittins & Utah Builders Community (UBC) — Salt Lake City, UT

The Thing We Share — Michael Glen & The High Focus Institute — Brooklyn, NY

The Tomb of Nahtaivel — Eric Coolidge & Sons & Daughters — Brooklyn, NY

THUNDERBIRDS — James Tyler — Haverstraw, NY

Time Machine Elevator — Josh Yeo & Starving Heartist Films — Los Angeles, CA

Tonglen — Ryan Mathern — Atlanta, GA

Torch Song — Matthew Gordon & Hydrocarbon Collective — San Francisco, CA

Totem Orchestra — Joan Harmon & ArtShape Mammoth, Budo Kiba — Haverstraw, NY

UKI – Utility Kinectic Insect — Callan Morgan & Make Mob — Melbourne, Australia

Uncle Charlie’s Red Hot Cock / The Waking Bird — Charlie Blackcat Smith & Art of Such n Such — Atlanta, GA

Ursa Mater (Mother Bear) — Mr & Mrs Ferguson Art — Alameda, CA

Wishing Totem — Miguel Guzman — San Antonio, TX

Your own, personal Jesus — Jim Cavera — Phoenix, AZ

Top image: The Temple by Steven Brummond, Marisha Farnsworth and Mark Sinclair

About the author: Jon Mitchell

Jon Mitchell

, a.k.a. Argus, was publisher of the Burning Man Journal, the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter, and the Burning Man website from 2016 to 2019. He joined the Comm Team as a volunteer in 2010 and as year-round staff in 2014. He co-wrote a big story about spending 24 hours at the Temple of Juno in 2012. His first Burn was in 2008.

27 Comments on “Introducing the 2017 Black Rock City Honoraria

  • Metal says:

    Jon is there a link to images of the other proposals?

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  • Guy says:

    This looks cool BUT- it has the same problem as last years temple. There is no place to vibe out. It’s just an over hang. Last years temple would have been amazing BUT the inside space was TOO small. Too crowded to move around in or meditate or vibe out.

    In my view, the temple should be a sanctuary. Again this looks cool, but it is not.

    Also if the wind hits there will be NO cover.

    I hope some easy changes will be made. Cheers.

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    • BumperStickerWisdom says:

      It is what it is and it was what it was.
      Fuck the past.
      Life is in front of you.
      Fucking own it.

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    • Abbak says:

      Also, if there is no perimeter barrier for the temple, people will just ride their bikes straight through it. That was something I liked about David Best’s temples, that he always had a fence that defined the sacred space.

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      • Carlos says:

        I would say an open temple with no fence increases self-awareness and is related to BM principles that are based on conscious people

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      • Jill Landis says:

        I personally really appreciate having a sacred space in the temple. The Temple of Whollyness really had this. This year’s design is beautiful but doesn’t make me want to sign up as a temple guardian. If it had a larger center and some enclosure at the periphery it would really be nice.

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  • Chad from Silverlake says:

    It Look UGLY

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  • l says:

    sorry but this ‘temple’ looks A LOT like some of the plans by italian architect paolo soleri.. just wanted to mention this.

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    • Gerflash says:

      I’ve seen some of Soleri’s work, esp., Cosanti and Arcosanti, and read his book, Matter Becoming Spirit. In this Temple, I see no “arcology” nor any of his major principles. Still, I like this Temple, and I liked Soleri’s structures, too. They are different.

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  • turnerbroadcasting/Pedro says:

    I truly love this temple design, and I look forward to the other designs out there that are mentioned in name only. The temple looks and feels open, and new. I like.

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  • Waldizzi says:

    There is going to be some seriously wonderful art this year!! 75 granted! and from 17 countries! Very happy to see the global burner community supported.

    Temple looks amazing and will provide an ample shade space for those to sit and reflect. Stop all y’alls bitchin’ & whining and go make out with each other.

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  • Very helpful advice in this particular post! It’s the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

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  • Luciana says:

    Does anyone knows which projects needs a volunteer ?! I volunteer last year for one of the arts installations and I’m looking forward to do it again!!! :)

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  • Robert X Planet says:

    This is an inspired, uplifting design. It does evoke the work of David Best, with a nod to the grand scale of Ken Rose (and yes, the influence of Paolo Soleri is also evident). And just because a “perimeter fence” isn’t in the artist’s rendering doesn’t automatically mean there won’t be one.

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  • Ron ball says:

    I agree no temple can compare to David Best’s temples. We love the safe space feel, a clear boundary between the outer world and the inner-sanctum. A location to sit and reflect and feel enclosed with those around you.

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  • Blanc de Blanc says:

    The temple is beautifully designed, but I also fear that its functionality will be greatly diminished. Nice to look at and be under, yes; but what about a place to sit and contemplate, while being within the temple space? What happens when the wind/dust come through? Will bikes crowd up the space underneath? Concerns from a burner who likes to spend time/seek refuge at the temple…

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  • chrispy says:

    Can’t wait to take a ride on Uncle Charlie’s Red Hot Cock! Go Blackcat, go!

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  • Xprmntl says:

    It’s not a Temple because it doesn’t do what I want it to do?!

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    • Agua says:

      Thank you for saying that! I only have a couple of Burns under my belt, but I thought the point of art on the playa is supposed to be what the artist(s) want to gift to the community, not what the members of the community “want” to receive as a gift. The Temple is a gift from the artists to the playa and it’s inhabitants. I would hope that people reflect on that before passing judgement on another artist’s creation/gift!

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  • Lans Ellion says:

    The design for this year’s temple is stunning, the most beautiful temple design I have seen. Reminiscent of a Dali painting, spindly legs supporting a surreal creature above. Cannot wait to see it in person this year and stand below while dust storms pass through.

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  • Bob says:

    More carbon burn to pollute the world environment. When will the temple and the man (and the festivals!) become earth friendly?

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  • Greybeard says:

    Can I climb it ?

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  • Astar says:

    Are there links available to view the award winners?

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  • Astar says:

    Links to award winners??

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  • Devika says:

    It’s wonderful from top down until it abruptly ends halfway down and so then looks like a pointy overhang, or a roof tower of sorts. As currently rendered, it lacks even the illusion of a “temple”.

    Please make simple additions so the space is somewhat enclosed and includes an inside—a “temple” rather than just an overhang roof tower.


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