Man Base: Call for Alcove Art Proposals

We are excited to announce the call for alcove art for the Multiverse Man Base, which will feature four external alcoves and four internal alcoves. We look forward to receiving your ideas and collaborating with you as we prepare to journey to the Multiverse!

The Idea

A multiverse may be the coexistence of multiple universes separated by space, time, or dimension. We may exist in one, some, or all of these simultaneously; however, we continue to find ourselves at the center of that which we call our general reality. When we look beyond what we know about this reality, perhaps to find something larger than ourselves, we can’t help but also seek to find humanity in the vastness of this expanding all.

The 2020 Man Base wood structure represents five bubble universes held in suspended animation at the center of the Burning Man Multiverse. Four entry portals form connections like cosmic wormholes, and reveal the interstitial Space that is holding all possible futures and realities in the quantum constellation.

What will you contribute to the experience of the Multiverse? Send us your wildly imagined ways to engage and transport humans and other colliding life forms through your visions of teleportation or telekinesis as we explore the expressive possibilities of an unfolding reality.

External Alcoves

Bring us your kinetic, wind-inspired, suspended works of art. Planetary references, Calder-esque mobiles, intergalactic thermal measuring gizmos, pendants of spectacularity, suspended animation in sublime formats welcome.

There will be four external alcoves, located in the corners of the Man Base at 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30. We may select four separate designs and design teams for each external alcove, or we may select fewer design teams with a vision that utilizes multiple spaces. 

For each external alcove sculpture, we will grant $2,500 for materials and transportation. Each team will also receive early access to the Black Rock City for installation and the event. 

Physical Constraints

Each external alcove will be framed by the outside edges of the Man Base’s large arches. Your hanging art piece should fit within these specifications: 

  • max width of 6ft (1.83m)
  • max depth of 2.5ft (0.76m)
  • max length of 10ft (3.05m)
  • max weight of 225 lbs (or 102kg, for reasonable ease of installation) with a max load per point of 75 lbs (34kg).
Zoomed in shot of Man Base render showing conceptual external alcove art

Your piece will hang from up to five points above the installation location. These points create the four corners of a box and the center point. We will provide you with an “eye” in each of these points, and you should provide a rated carabiner or quick-link connection, and appropriate aircraft cabling with crimped or crosby connections to your artwork.

From the bottom of your piece, connect to a centrally located ground anchor with aircraft cable (to prevent the wind from bashing your art piece against the Man Base).

Artists should consider reasonable means to secure their pieces against tampering. Consider things like concealed access panels, etc.


Your piece will be externally lit for night-time viewing. You may additionally include battery-powered LED lighting on your piece. Be sure to design the battery access where you can reach it from the ground.

Internal Alcoves

Animate our alcoves as portals and time-traveling machines — what contraptions, mind-altering options, and systems for teleportation might be created within the corners of our Multiverse station?

There will be four internal alcoves, located in the interior of the Man Base at 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30. We may select four separate designs and design teams for each internal alcove, or we may select fewer design teams with a vision that utilizes multiple spaces.

Image of internal alcove render

For each internal alcove installation, we will grant $4,000 for materials and transportation. Each team will also receive early access to the Black Rock City for installation and the event.

The lavender-shaded space in the image shows the footprint of space available for the placement of internal alcove art:

  • The straight walls of the corner are 6.5ft (1.98m) wide.
  • For the curved area between the tunnels, it is 9.5ft (2.90m) at the narrowest point.
  • The distance between the opening of the tunnels is 11.5ft (3.51m).
  • The height limit of the alcove art is 10ft (3.05m).

Your alcove art installation should be freestanding and self-supporting within the allocated space. We would like to avoid very small passageways or dead-end spaces both inside of your piece and between your piece and the rest of the structure. Please design with that in mind.

You should plan to bring the pieces of your installation through the tunnels, which are about 9ft in height and 18ft in width at their narrowest point. Heavy equipment may not be available to assist in transporting pieces into the interior of the Man Base; we are evaluating the logistics needed. If an alternative is not pre-arranged, please be prepared to hand-carry the pieces for assembly on the inside.

Artists should consider reasonable means to secure their pieces against tampering. Consider things like concealed access panels, etc.

Lighting and Electrical

The Man Base team can provide your Internal Alcove installation with electricity to power lighting circuits. We can’t support large draws like motors, but we can support your low-draw (preferably LED) lighting.

Each internal alcove will have a single quad-receptacle box installed at ground level from which you can run power distribution to your elements, but we are open to supporting your other needs. Please ask in your proposal.

Please plan to bury electrical extension cords. It’s best if you have something in your design that hides the quad box so we don’t find people unplugging your lighting to charge their cell phones (just a little experience on the matter).

In terms of an overall complimentary lighting scheme, we are still evolving our lighting design plan, so it would be helpful to describe your ideas for lighting color and temperature. Use of simple lighting plans with tones of amber can be the simplest to integrate while providing a sense of warmth for your experience. If you have a more specific lighting plan that includes color, we will need to review and approve it early in the process.

Set-Up and Strike

  • All Internal and External Alcoves must be ready by Sunday, August 30 at 9am. The Man Base opens on Sunday at 6pm. 
  • Depending on the intricacy of your project, we will work with you to determine your arrival and set-up time. We may be able to provide heavy-equipment support to your project. We will discuss this on a project-to-project basis.
  • Leave No Trace. Consider your impact. Remove your packing and build materials. Haul out your own MOOP.
  • Your project must be either completely removed from the site and the site inspected in advance of burn night on Saturday, September 5, or it must be ready for a fiery release and burn with the Man Base. You may strike as early as late Friday evening up to Saturday morning. Full strike must be accomplished and inspected by 2pm on Saturday.

Other Stuff that Might Be Useful to Know

Pre-event, on-site set-up:

  • You will be responsible for transportation of your project to the playa.
  • You will be allowed to bring your truck into the build space so you can unload. The truck cannot remain on the build site beyond the completion of the unload. You can park just outside our site fenceline, so you have access to tools or other materials you might need. 
  • The site will be an active construction site when you arrive. You must have appropriate clothing, including closed-toe footwear. Your crew will all need hard hats while they’re on site (provided, but possibly pre-sweaty!). Feel free to bring your own hard hats. Gloves, eye and ear protection, etc. for each member of your team are required if you plan on using power tools.
  • We’re sorry, but kids under 18 are not allowed on our active construction site. 

During the event:

  • Please check your installation daily. Sometimes things get broken, and this is your opportunity and responsibility to fix it the way you’d like. If we see something unsafe or broken, we may fix it on your behalf, which may also include removal.

Contracts and Plans 

Burning Man Project will contract and coordinate the selected proposals. The selected designers will need to participate in pre-installation logistics meetings and provide drawings, sketches and specifications to our team as needed. We understand that the proposed project may slightly evolve during the finalization of the design and build plan. If your plans change significantly from what you propose, we’ll need to work with you to review and approve the changes.

Project Timeline

If you have questions while creating your submission, you may email them to We’ll update this blog post with relevant Q&A’s.

Proposals are due on April 21, 2020 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time. Once we have selected the proposals, we will issue a contract and begin work on nailing down installation plans.

The Man Base opens on Sunday, August 30. Your piece must be fully installed and your installation debris removed from the site no later than 9am on Sunday, August 30.

Evaluation and Award Process

The team reviewing your submissions will include creative types in the Art Department along with members of the Man Base crew. The creative team will evaluate proposals based on adherence to the request, creativity, visual appeal, and feasibility.

Submission Details

The proposal form includes a range of questions about your basic contact information, and details of your experience and project. Remember that there are two calls for alcove art, and be sure to click the proper link:

  • For external alcoves, please submit your proposal here.
  • For internal alcoves, please submit your proposal here. 

Top render by Kate Greenberg

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Burning Man Project

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