2018 Man Pavilion: IAMAI and the Burnbots

As a manifestation of the I, Robot theme, the 2018 Man base experience will offer an exploration of humankind’s decidedly mixed feelings about algorithmic intelligence, cybernetic augmentation, and the mystery of what it means to be human in an increasingly automated world.

The 2018 Man will be positioned atop an enormous gear, a nod to the passing machine age wherein were forged many of our hopes and fears about artificial life. Inside the structure, murals and bas-relief panels, ancient and modern in aspect, will trace the progression of our enduring fascination with robots, from the primordial golem to the post-work future.

Leonid Kim

By night, a phantasmagoria of AI-themed imagery will be projection-mapped onto the Pavilion’s interior walls. Australian artist Joe Crossley and his AstralProjekt & Heckler team will be producing and curating a collection of media art exploring emerging ideas of coexistence between man and machine: IAMAI.

IAMAI is legal declaration of coexistence between man and machine, formed as a living AI media art installation that will show you visions of the AI future, featuring artists from around the world each night after sunset. The ethos is to create audio visual ceremonial space where we can acknowledge and celebrate the declaration of coexistence between man and machine implanting metadata of the declaration in everything you see and hear. Join us and make peace with your robot brothers and sisters.

Joe Crossley
Aileen Cormack

Digital media artists are encouraged to submit files to the IAMAI project team for consideration and possible inclusion. More information is available at the IAMAI web portal. The submission deadline for contributing artists is Midnight Pacific Time on August 15, 2018.

As a crowning touch to this year’s Pavilion experience, high atop the gear’s upper viewing platform, a dozen fanciful robots, cyborgs, androids and mandroids will stand vigil around the Man. These “BurnBots” are destined to go up in flames on Burn Night, perhaps to achieve a fleeting singularity with the Burning Man.

Thanks and grateful appreciation to the artists whose work was selected for this year’s Man Pavilion:

Annabel Lee Allen (Ashland, OR): Robotopod Inclusions

Nicole Balestrere (Las Vegas, NV): Xochipilli

Gogo Bernhard (Vienna, Austria): Soundscape

Kelly Smith Cassidy (South Lake Tahoe, CA): Creu Hudol (“Magical Being”)

Aileen Cormack (Santa Rosa, CA): AndroBot: Making Garbage Great Again

Joseph Crossley & AstralProjekt/Heckler (Australia): IAMAI

John Cruz & Sebastopol Catbot Collective (Sebastopol, CA): Catbot

Tyler Garrett & Synchronous Artists (Wichita, KS): Prognostication Protocol

Alexander Griffin (Portland, OR): Squidartha

Leland Johnson & Black Rock Robotics (Casper, WY): Mel’s Makerbot

Andrew Johnstone (Oakland, CA): Murals, Craic

Tricia Kelly (Oakhurst, CA): I, Musician

Leonid Kim (Moscow, Russia): Cyber Fossils

Chelsi Linderman (Lehi, UT): Robot Gothic

Anna-Gaelle Marshall & Dusty Visions (Portland, OR): Robot Family

Dana Mosiman (Sedgwick, KS): Wendigo Electrafryed

David Normal (Stinson Beach, CA): Succubus

Kate Raudenbush (New York, NY): Future’s Past Circuitry Patterns

Marco Turrubiartes (San Diego, CA): Killbot No More

Trevor Twist (Oakland, CA): Bare Heart

Top image by Andrew Johnstone

About the author: Darryl Van Rhey

Darryl Van Rhey

Darryl Van Rhey is a San Francisco-based journalist and longtime observer of Burning Man.

21 Comments on “2018 Man Pavilion: IAMAI and the Burnbots

  • Will Chase says:

    Haven’t seen a post from Darryl Van Rhey in a while.

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  • SuzyBunny says:

    I’m very excited about the theme this year. I just watched the movie on Primewire and it was HD. Will Ferrell was amazing. I heard he goes to Burning Man sometimes. Is he going to be there this year? Can’t wait!

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  • Spacetime says:

    Sounds like an awesome man base this year!

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  • Hipolito Medrano says:


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  • Dennis Miller says:

    As one of your nearest neighbors, Elon Musk was a strong voice about the dangers of AI and would be a good represetitive for this years Burning Man. Has there been any conversation?

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  • Man Pavilion: 2018 is highly intriguing. With time, it seems technology is becoming limitless.

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  • JanetPlanet says:

    The real fun this year will be when the suspended 30 ton Orb breaks its anchors in high winds and rolls through BRC.

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    • el Tigre en Fuego! says:

      Ain’t that the truth

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    • Sway Matt says:

      Ahh the fear of people that don’t understand the roject lol.⚡️ Haters is what y’all are called. You don’t think that the people I charge of this project didn’t factor that it. You don’t think because it doesn’t have made in China stamped on it is going to fall over? Come on guys . Just because this festival is temprorary I’d doesn’t mean the skills involved to build this city are inattiquit. If you hthino its gonna go dolphins around the playa then maybe you should Volunteer your time to the project to make sure that doesn’t happen instead of talking shit. … just saying

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  • mr. roboto says:

    Domo Arigato!

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  • Pooh Bear says:

    Welcome back skeleton man!

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  • Tinker says:

    Remember when Burning Man had an online community?

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  • Sadly my Burnbot design wasn’t accepted…So you guys making these 12 bad boys better make me envious of your talent :)

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  • Sharkpantz says:

    I really hope that a certain Aztec named burnbot is not going to look like the store bought DIY bot that the art was lifted from. How did that get past the the folks in charge?

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  • ttttracers says:

    The “Xochipilli” robot is actually a design that has been for sale for years https://www.robotimeonline.com/products/steampunk-music-box-am601s

    Is this really being produced by the original artist? If so, cool. Otherwise, it’s been plagiarized.

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    • Jon Mitchell says:

      This is something we’re looking into, and we’ll share any developments when we know more about the situation.

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      • Maya says:

        Hi Jon Mitchell, Do you have any info on this issue yet? I’m a burning man artist & have worked for art support services, so when I came across these comments and viewed the link, I looked a bit further and found some images from the supposed “artist”s instagram. This is such blatant plagiarism that I really feel Burning Man has an obligation to look into it further. I’m going to do everything on my end to make sure this person knows that plagiarism in the name of art is a pretty low form of self expression….and she doesn’t deserve the free tickets to the event or the grant money for this project either!

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    • Hotpockets says:

      Thank you for noticing this! I’d like an update from the org about this- WTF. The name is also plagiarism – stolen from a 2017 project that accurately captured the spirit of Xochipilli, not a mass-produced trinket bought online. Barf!

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  • Gil says:

    This year’s pavilion reminds me of a Dutch town called Bourtange Star Fort in Groeningen. Impenetrable… Seems to have been conceived by the army’s corp of engineers. No to little shade. IMO

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  • TheGreenHour says:


    LOL! Awesome.. I wanted to bring out our battlebot but she takes up the entire back of our van, and she’s dangerous around people. Her whole underside is torched from battling flamethrower bots in London.

    Now she’s sad. There can be no rematch.

    Great theme and design, everybody. I love this and can’t wait to see it on the playa.

    -Gatt / TheGreenHour 9:D
    (Rosie the Riveter, RobotWars)

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  • Luma says:

    Wondering if it’s possible to watch the video that was shown inside the Manbase 2018 in its entirety? is it available somewhere? Thank you…

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