Burning Man Arts is thrilled to announce the art installations selected for Black Rock City 2022 Honorarium art grants. There’s nothing quite like the announcement of our Honoraria artists to get us psyched to build our city in the dust, and our anticipation is higher than ever after two years away from the playa.
Things are starting to get real!
Some Insights Into the Selection Process
When we select the Honoraria projects, the artworks we fund reflect an experience we would like to create, rather than a value judgment. We don’t choose the “best” artworks, but rather look to build a collection that offers a full range of experiences for participants.
Our goal is to include representation from a variety of categories, from large to small, silly to serious, sculptural to architectural, outlandish to quietly contemplative, experienced artists to first-timers, monochromatic to colorful, and everything in between. We’re always keeping in mind interactivity, visual impact, and sheer creativity. Finally, we lean into diversity and environmental sustainability, and how the Honoraria Program can align with these important organizational goals.
This year the selection process was unique, because 52 of the 2020 Honoraria artists who stuck with us these past two years will return in 2022. That means that going into this year’s process, we already had a fabulous collection of projects. As a result, we selected fewer artworks than usual, and it was important to make sure the new projects filled creative gaps and expanded diversity.
We received 433 Letters of Intent and invited 281 projects to submit full proposals. All in all, we’re excited to say that in this unusual year, we will have 15 more Honoraria projects than in most years, with 88 projects coming to BRC in 2022!
Radical Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
We are committed to supporting all kinds of art for all kinds of people.
Thoughtful selection of Honoraria projects can help create a multicultural, open, inviting, and inclusive community within Black Rock City. We have a unique opportunity to elevate BIPOC, non-binary, female, and marginalized artists in an extremely visible way, which also furthers Burning Man Project’s values around Radical Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (R.I.D.E.).
For the first time, we asked each applicant to reflect and share how their project advances the Principle of Radical Inclusion. During the selection process, we appreciated that many artists prioritized diversity. While we don’t inquire about demographics on the grant application, based on the information that artists voluntarily shared in their proposals, 20 percent of this year’s funded projects will have a lead artist of color.
Some highlights of artworks that represent the spectrum of diversity within our community include “The Solar Shrine” by Antwane Lee, an Afrofuturist artwork inspired by the magical realism of Ancient Egypt and Nubia. The piece will be one of the largest burns this year. We are so pleased to have Erin Douglas and the Black Burner Project bring a huge installation, “Behold… From the Dust,” consisting of three monumental portraits of BIPOC Burners. “Build a Seat” led by BIPOC artist Mo Osunbor is a philosophical and physical invitation to Black creatives to join and contribute to the incredible experience of Black Rock City.
We’ve always had amazing female artists in BRC (Dana Albany, Kate Raudenbush, the Flaming Lotus Girls, Christina Sporrong, and Karen Cusolito to name a few), and 2022 will continue to expand on that tradition. South African artist Usha Seejarim will share “The Resurrection of the Clothes Peg,” a metaphor for the rise of the female voice and an expression of the desire to be heard by the marginalized. We’ll celebrate motherhood with “What to Expect When Expecting” and “I Heart Mom.” And “Circle of Doors Tarot” by Anne Stavely and Jill Sutherland will be a photographic representation of a complete Tarot deck as well as a fiery invocation of deep feminine power. Yes!
It’s been nearly three years since Burning Man Project released the 2030 Environmental Sustainability Roadmap, and this year, for the first time, we asked our Honoraria applicants to consider how their projects will address the challenges and opportunities around sustainability.
Dave Keane and The Folly Builders are bringing one of the largest projects this year, a wondrously interactive grove of trees called “Paradisium.” They’re putting sustainability at the heart of their work by using reclaimed lumber, planting trees to offset their carbon footprint, and — rather than doing a big burn at the end, as large wooden projects usually do — they’ll be rehoming the trees after the event. Now there’s a cool new approach for 2022 and beyond!
“The Apocalypse is Breathtaking: Flame of the Forest” by Lekha Washington (who brought that amazing moon in 2018) is a Japanese-inspired tree with intricate metal filigree. It’s a commentary on the climate crisis, reflecting that the disastrous state of the world can still be beautiful. She aims to find a permanent home near Nevada to eliminate the need for return travel back to India. Genius! Gray Davidson and Majorelle Arts will highlight endangered animal species in their elegant project “Charismatic Metafauna.” And finally, Tom Boughner and the Desert Propaganda Collective are using reclaimed steel and home appliances rescued from landfills for their project “Consumption,” a commentary on consumerism and overconsumption.
Overall, we’re pleased to report that 36 percent of this year’s projects demonstrate a significant effort towards sustainability. As we move to a more sustainable event, we are also doing a careful review of the number of artworks that will be approved to burn on playa this year, ensuring that burns only happen when they are conceptually warranted.
2022 Highlights and Themes
There are certain beloved themes that always have a home in Black Rock City. Our ongoing celebration of play will be present in whimsical projects such as “Alien Drive-Thru” (an installation created by aliens who wonder whether food might be a good way to make first contact), “The Jackalope Adventure Guide” (a delightful choose-your-own-adventure oracle), “Heave” by Michael Christian, and coincidentally, two different animal installations with built-in slides: “Chilopod,” a giant insect, and “ATABEY,” a big shiny fish.
Our ongoing love of the weird shows up in “A thousand eyes and a thousand dreams,” the giant eyeball “Oculus,” the monumental “Facing the Fearbeast”, and “Shrine of the Macabre” (why not put giant chicken legs and a flaming calliope on a gothic shrine?!).
Some artworks create environments and explore our sense of place, from planes to trains to oceans. Other projects will explore our current collective consciousness after the past few very unusual years on this planet. “INCENTER” by Kate Greenberg brings the earth inside the home, reflecting on home as a place of refuge and how, through global connection, we’ve shared this time apart together. We received a huge number of applications for projects featuring hearts, a touching response to the past few years, and we’re looking forward to seeing a wide variety of those on playa, from anatomical to graphic to flaming.
Out of the barren landscape of the playa, you will delight in discovering trees! We’ve had a number of trees in BRC over the years, but this year looks to be exceptional (one might even say they are branching out). We’ll have the entire forest of trees in “Paradisium” along with the exquisite tree in “The Apocalypse is Breathtaking.” “FIRE” from Zoe Fry is a grove of fire-damaged manzanita trees. And “Sirsasana – Headstand” is a fun play on the headstand yoga pose, wondering… if a human can do the tree pose in yoga, can a tree do a headstand like a human? Hmm…
If you love books and reading, you’ll find inspiration in “Unbound: A Library in Transition,” “The Self Help Yourself Library,” and also in “Dreams,” a giant pop-up book where you’re invited to flip the immense pages, bringing them to life through sound and surprise discoveries. “The Little People” is a sculptural installation in resin that features whimsical characters from children’s books. And while “The Solar Library” doesn’t have any books, chosen artists will get a library card to use to charge batteries for their installations.
This year’s Waking Dreams theme entices artists to make their creative dreams a reality after three long years away from Black Rock City, and it inspired a fun range of creative interpretations. Long-time favorites, the Flaming Lotus Girls are creating “Sea of Dreams,” which conceptualizes a sea of steel origami boats bearing the lore of dreams and approaching a ring of fiery oracles. Not to be confused with “Seed of Dreams,” a gorgeous geometric sculptural head that you can climb into and discover the pineal gland. “Catharsis” is a fractal art gallery for our infinite dreams, and “The Afterlife” is a waking dream that sheds an alternative light on death — with blacklight! It depicts the ethereal realm in colorful glowing beauty, where ancestors are celebrated, and light beings play with mystical creatures in a whimsical wonderland. The surrealist side of this year’s theme will come to life in “The FACE Project” and “Through the Mind’s Eye,” both colorful explorations of deconstruction.
We’re pleased to have 15 international Honoraria projects this year, representing 17 percent of the total artworks. There are two from Canada, two from Russia, and one each from Austria, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Philippines, South Africa, and Turkey. There are several artists that have just started making art recently, and two Honoraria recipients will be coming to Black Rock City for the first time.
Burning Man is known for fire art, and we are happy to report that 21 Honoraria projects will play with fire and flame effects. One of the coolest will be “Sea of Flames,” a circle of molten metal flaming hearts ablaze with different colors of fire (who wants to see blue, green, and orange flames? Yes, please!). Plus we’re excited to support some sound art, like the playful “People-Powered Music aka The Tinkle Drum,” and the intriguingly experimental “UNPOP,” an intimate, exquisite, spatial listening experience (which does indeed comply with our sound policy).
There’s so much to be excited about, and we can’t wait to share it all with you.
How You Can Get Involved
Of course, most of the more than 400 art installations in Black Rock City come without financial support from Burning Man Project. We are serious about our commitment to support ALL artists, so there are many other ways (besides financial) that we help artists to ensure they are successful, such as providing heavy equipment, engineering review, promotion, and partnership with our team all along the way.
So peruse the following list of 2022 BRC Honoraria projects, and if you have a vision that is missing from the list, you are warmly invited to make it happen. Check out the Art Department’s recent post with info on the Temple and updates on bringing art to Black Rock City in 2022. Do you have skills to contribute and want to help an existing art project? Then please check out our collaboration tool, Spark.
So without further ado, we’d like to introduce this year’s Honoraria recipients. Drum roll, please…
The 2022 Black Rock City Honoraria Recipients
1:44 Inter-dimensional Space Time Portal — Harlan Emil Gruber & Maraya and TransPortals — Taos, NM and South Africa
A Temple of Masks — Jason Gronlund — Guadalajara, Mexico
A thousand eyes and a thousand dreams. — Miguel Guzman and Caustic — Joshua Tree, CA
Airfield 2.0 Tower — Weld Queen — Moscow, Russia
Alien Drive-Thru — Madeline Fried and Swing Shift — San Francisco, CA
ATABEY — El NiNo and Parliament Art Crew — Los Angeles, CA
Autumn Spire — Eric Coolidge — Brooklyn, NY
Behold… From the Dust — Erin Douglas (Black Burner Project) with support from We Are From Dust — Odenton, MD
Black Rock Station — Wes Modes and the Black Rock Transportation Company — Felton, CA
Build A Seat — Mo Osunbor and Build A Seat — Brooklyn, NY
Carillon — Steven Brummond — Oakland, CA
Catharsis — Arthur Mamou-Mani and Catharsis Crew — London, UK
Charismatic Metafauna — Gray Davidson and Majorelle Arts — Berkeley, CA
Chilopod — Lawrence Grown and Team Embrio — Berkeley, CA
Circle of Doors Tarot — Anne Staveley & Jill Sutherland — Santa Fe, NM
Citipati — Ryan Mathern — Atlanta, GA
Coalesce — William Nemitoff and Curious Form — New Orleans, LA
Colors of Nostalgia — Alena Starostina and Eastern Promises — San Francisco, CA
Consumption — Tom Boughner and the Desert Propaganda Collective — Reno, NV
Council of Animals (What to do about the monkeys) — Quill Hyde and Acavallo — Tonasket, WA
DIPTOWN — Stanislav Shminke — Ekaterinburg, Russia
Dreams: a pop-up book — Esmeralda Nadeau-Jasso — Winlaw, Canada
Drishti — Kirsten Berg — Berkeley, CA
Dust City Diner — David Cole & Michael Brown and Kinematics Lab — San Francisco, CA
Emergence — Jesse Lightcap and The Emergence Project — Truckee, CA
Evolution Field — Matt McConnell — Raleigh, NC
Facing the Fearbeast — Tigre Mashaal-Lively — Santa Fe, NM
FIRE — Zoe Fry and The Introverts Collective — Mill Valley, CA
Fractal Droid — Jenna Finney and Fractal Droid Collective — Austin, TX
Gilded — Mr and Mrs Ferguson with David Moreno Teron — Alameda, CA
Harmonia — Roy Trammell — Beaverton, OR
heave — Michael Christian — Oakhurst, CA
I Heart Mom — Ryan Stevens and Lorena Serrano — San Francisco, CA
Illumina Radiata — Eric Zann — Kirkland, WA
INCENTER — Kathryn Greenberg — Mill Creek, WA
Infinite Stare — Kelly Smith Cassidy — South Lake Tahoe, CA
Invisible Light of Distant Stars — Douglas Ruuska and Divide By Zero Labs — Brighton, MA
Kukulkan’s Portal — Abram Santa Cruz and Liquid PXL — Long Beach, CA
Lost Frequencies — Shelby Dukeminier — Las Vegas, NV
Lux Lepus — Jennifer Law and House of Lepus — Renton, WA
M- Theory Mechanica — Matt Parkhurst — Truckee, CA
Mebuyan Vessel — Leeroy New in collaboration with Pinto International — Manila, Philippines
Oculus — Tatiana Lupashina and Edge, Philip Depoala & Intrepid Arts — Berlin, Germany
Orbit — Hayden Harrison — Oakland, CA
Paradisium — Dave Keane and The Folly Builders — San Francisco, CA
PeepShow: Land of Lost Encounters — Ashley Stracke — Los Angeles, CA
People-Powered Music aka The Tinkle Drum— Bibi Bliekendaal / Bibi & the Tinklers— Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Petaled Portal — David Oliver and Art City — Ventura, CA
Play With Your Food — Bryan Saunders & Keegan Havelock-Rice and P Canadensis — Edmonton, Canada
Quadrupod 2.0 — Scott Parenteau — Sacramento, CA
Ratchetfish — Barry Crawford — Elko, NV
REM Cafe and Croquet — Tabasco Mills and Iron Monkeys — Seattle, WA
Schrödinger’s Rat — Philipp Blume and The Department of Precision and Soul (DPS) — Vienna, Austria
Sea of Dreams — Flaming Lotus Girls — San Francisco, CA
Sea of Flames Fire for the Hearts — Harmony Switzer-Tryon and Mischief Lab — Garberville, CA
Secretly Abandoned Spaces — Valerie Elizabeth Mallory and They Collective — Oakland, CA
Seed of Dreams — Martin Taylor and Chromaforms Art Collective — Oakland, CA
Shrine of the Macabre — Ezra Livingston and Fishsubmarine — Emeryville, CA
Sirsasana – Headstand — Srikanth Guttikonda and Looking Up Arts Foundation — San Francisco, CA
Small Hadron Collider (SHC) — Jack Kalish and Everything Good Studio — San Francisco, CA
Spacecats Final Landing — Ayda Keshtkar — Chicago, IL
Strong Magic — Jessica Levine — South Lake Tahoe, CA
SUNRISE DEEP ISLAND — Karine Lima and White Sage Project — Prado, Brazil
The Afterlife — Blitzy aka Adrian, Chickpea, Steve D., Pando, Noah S. — San Francisco, CA
The Apocalypse is Breathtaking: Flame of the Forest — Lekha Washington — Mumbai, India
The Buddha at the Trash Fence — Ali Agus Ardie and Digital Dalang — Indonesia and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
The Dreaming Goddess — David Bell and Camp Luminos — Phoenix, AZ
The FACE Project — Milen NAE — Istanbul, Turkey and Rancho Cordova, CA
The Importance of Small Things — Ela Lamblin and Lelavision — Vashon, WA
The Jackalope Adventure Guide — Marco Turrubiartes and Cult of the Cosmical Jackalope — San Diego, CA
The Last Ocean — Jen Lewin Studio LLC — New York, NY
The Little People — Kim Rask and Missy Douglas: uckiood — Burien, WA
The Midnight Museum of That One Time at Burning Man — Jerry Snyder — Reno, NV
The Prism of Possibilities — Emily Nicolosi and The In Theory Art Collective — Cottonwood Heights, UT
The Resurrection of the Clothes Peg — Usha Seejarim and Sao Foundation — Johannesburg, South Africa
The Self Help Yourself Library — Brie’Ana Breeze — Alameda, CA
The Solar Library — Jared Ficklin and The Other Singularity — Austin, TX
The Solar Shrine — Antwane Lee and Collective — Chicago, IL
The Traveling Sound Museum Presents: The Anomaly — Chris Cerrito and Mike Rosenthal — Brooklyn, NY and Emeryville, CA
Through The Mind’s Eye — Launa Eddy — New York, NY
Tremolo — Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf — Denver, CO
Unbound: A Library in Transition — Jules Nelson-Gal — Palo Alto, CA
Unpopular Music (or UNPOP) — Stephan Moore and Scott Smallwood as Evidence — Chicago, IL
VIMOKSHA — Michael Emery — Santa Cruz, CA
What to Expect When Expecting — Julia Bonnheim and Future Problems — Portland, OR
Wild Horses of the American West — Adrian Landon and the Wild Horse Collective — Reno, NV
Xerarium — Bailey Haack + Alissa Kolom as S’more Art Co. — Joshua Tree, CA
Full project descriptions with images and links will be available later in the spring.
The BRC Honoraria Program relies on the generosity of our community. You can help support this program and an array of on and off-playa artist services and our nonprofit mission by making a gift here.
We’re so grateful to all the artists who will be sharing their creativity in Black Rock City in 2022, and we can’t wait to explore this outpouring of creativity together!
Cover image: Digital rendering of “The FACE Project” by Milen NAE