Greetings friends, participants, artists, citizens of Black Rock City. Yes, we will burn the Man this year! We’ve been hard at work on a magnificent plan for this central part of our cultural event. As we did in 2019 and 2020, we invited a group of artists to suggest a concept for the Man Pavilion that would serve as our inspiration and reference.
We asked them to think big and dream about what might be, that they reflect on the symbolism of the center of the city, the iconography of the Man, the culmination of a journey, about participation, about gathering, and about this year’s Waking Dreams theme.
And they did! As you scroll through their submissions below, you will see how dynamic, dramatic, and diverse these artists’ conceptual perspectives are. What you will not see is where we landed for the 2022 Black Rock City Man Pavilion!
Why not, you ask? Almost every artist who contributed a design idea influenced the end result. But we did not end up making one particular design. The intersections of our life between waking and dreaming, building and doing, drawing and constructing, all show up in the final design. We look forward to unveiling this fun, hybrid, fusion of these and other ideas on playa.
Without further ado, here are the remarkably imaginative 2022 Man Pavilion proposals.
2022 MAN PAVILION ARTIST PROPOSALS
Jessica Levine felt so inspired she brought two sketches to us. The first suggests how we could represent a full circle of perspectives, with eyes held up by large-scale figures, representing both looking inward and outward as we build empathy in community.
Continuing with the symbolism of the eye, Jessica Levine shifts the perspective in her Tunnel Vision design to one of entering through the eye. A portal for shadow and light, moving through the structure at night will welcome participants as a living part of the art, as the shadows flicker against the lit canvas of the structure.
Jess Hobbs conceived of three spiraling labyrinths leading to a central platform with both ramps and stairs, allowing for an accessible collective experience. Jess shared this thought with her sketch: “The experience of dreaming is nonlinear; this design represents this by creating pathways for walking and meandering.” Thus she provided a concept that is a contemplative dreamscape with places to both connect and wander.
Tigre Mashaal-Lively’s fantastical offering “And the Whole World Danced” ignites the imagination. It is a jubilant celebration of creatures large and small, human and animal. Tigre’s submission included, “Much as the dream world can often dissolve distinctions between what is and is not ‘real,’ this concept hopes to shift fixed ideas about what is possible and expand the mind to imagine a world of exuberant liberation. The cohort of fantastical creatures represent the great expansiveness of the world — from the elegant crane to the sumptuous serpent to the powerful bear. But more than a collection of individuals, the bodies of the giant creatures dissolve and blend into each other, evoking a writhing mass of pure imagination and dream potential. In this way, the great mythical beings also represent the archetypal unconscious — that great sea of instinct, memory, and fantasy that lies beneath human awareness and from which our dreams, nightmares, and wildest inventions emerge.”
Kate Greenberg brings forward this notion of how we might gather, perceive, take a big picture view, and lift ourselves up on clouds of thought and dream states that exalt us. With a cluster of interconnected platforms, special lighting effects, and multi-dimensional representations of the Man, we traverse into a land of possibilities and interconnected dreams. Kate shares, “The pavilions each represent a type of dream, a dream for yourself, a dream for another, a dream left in the past, and a dream for the future.”
Kate Raudenbush brought forth a conception of place and dreaming that takes flight and gives space to the shadow world, with tunnels and places for art to expand consciousness and invite transcendent experience. With her three-level structural design (tunnel, mountain pyramid, and dream interpretation lab), Kate has summoned a nuanced and profound space to support a number of activities and embedded artworks. It also references many layers of awareness and a triumphal return to the desert with all of our longings, emotions, and impulses to express and renew with each other.
Hank Willis Thomas and his team, Coby Kennedy and Helen Banach, propose an artwork titled, The Pupil bringing forward notions of seeing, exploring, and finding oneself. With a labyrinth that is also composed as a maze, walls formed of archetypal symbols from around the world, and a pinnacle experience of the eye as the entrance to where Waking Dreams emerge, this elegant conception is a feast of a journey evoked as a central destination. Moving ever upward, the patterns and overall design reveals itself as you arrive at the peak where Black Rock City becomes a vista for the explorer at the base of the Man.
Jack “Opa” Haye, a longtime Man Pavilion contributor and namesake of the Opa Lights surrounding the Man each year, takes us straight to the place of dreaming with this gigantic elevated bed! In this conception the Man himself has awakened to find what he has dreamed is all around him, welcoming participants to this world of dreams that is Black Rock City.
Dave Keane asks us to consider the concept “On the Shoulders of Giants” with a visual homage to the homes of First Nations people with the Man’s head emerging from within this ascending landscape. From within that waking dream comes a new Man dreamed from time now past as we all dream of our renewed future.
The artists of Studio Drift propose creating the illusion that the body and soul of the Man might rise up and walk. They suggest an innovative use of drones and the chance to be more sustainable in our “walking dreams” as we come together in a moment of change and transition. They note, “The Base is built up out of blocks with the proportion 2:1 … [symbolizing that which is] man made. It’s a reference toward humans trying to structure everything around us into the most logical building block. It’s the foundation our dreams are built on top of…”
And there you have it, the dreams of nine artists for the Man Pavilion in 2022, each an extraordinary example of how the Waking Dreams theme might come alive. We love them all, and are incredibly grateful to all the artists who contributed their ideas to this process for their love, passion, art, and participation with Burning Man. We are excited to work with these concepts to create a design that will emerge as an expression inspired by all of them, unveiled at Black Rock City 2022!
Cover image: Collage of select artist proposals for 2022 Man Pavilion