Nevada's annual Burning Man has retured to the Black Rock Desert, after a three-year physical attendance hiatus due to the pandemic. From August 28 until September 5th, this year's festival explored the theme of "Walking Dreams", celebrating the dreamers who channel the power of dreams and imagination, both in literal and figurative ways. Similar to every year, the pavilions that were installed in the desert explored the theme in creative and unexpected ways.
This year, many of the installations approached themes of ecology and sustainability. Some of the installations were built with reused materials, including an interactive light sculpture made from plastic recovered from the ocean. Every year, the Burning Man festival issues a number of grants, funded from revenues from ticket sales, for the purpose of partially funding specific art projects.
Laurence Renzo Verbeck
The architecture of EMPYREAN is replete with narratives and metaphors, which, with raw artistic inspiration, manifest a physical structure and intern allows the visitor to be sculpted by, and to sculpt experience. This sculpting manifests by utilization of physical, prescribed architectural procession.
The Last Ocean
Jen Lewin Studio
An expansive landscape of interactive platforms that illuminate through community engagement. Created from reclaimed ocean plastic, this work evokes a luminesce ice field with a composition rooted in beautiful geometric tessellations. THE LAST OCEAN, created by American contemporary artist, Jen Lewin, explores the crisis of plastic pollution in our oceans, a warming planet, dwindling natural resources, and the need for aggressive systemic change. How do we address and mitigate the issues our planet faces as a global community?
Arthur Mamou-Mani and the Catharsis Crew
Catharsis is a fractal gallery for our infinite dreams. It welcomes all arts in the spirit of radical inclusion and self-expression, acting both as an amphitheater on the playa and a traveling museum for burners around the world. After the event, it will be reassembled in other cities. Catharsis is a physical representation of the hyperbolic space. It is a three-dimensional representation of a geometry that could only exist in another reality – or does it? This infinite space has seven gateways elevating to the sky and getting increasingly intricate and intimate, forming a dream-like set of galleries for everyone to use and place art of all kinds.
The SKUM Thundercloud
Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange
SKUM is a large inflatable sculpture mimicking foam, clouds, or formations of distant universes. SKUM is the Danish word for foam–a word that encapsulates the installation's playful dialogue & interaction between burners and the landscape. SKUM – like foam – is at once physical & ethereal. At night, SKUM is illuminated by lightning strikes within the structure. When a sound – man-made or natural - occurs in the vicinity of SKUM, the lightning strikes cease – only starting back up once the quiet serenity returns.
The 2022 Effigy
The Burning Man Project
At the center of the city is the one artwork created by Burning Man Project: the Man itself. Over the years, Larry Harvey would guide the shaping of the Man and the outward expression of the theme. With the loss of Larry in 2018, the task of designing the Man Base has gone to the larger Burning Man Community. Since 2019, Burning Man has invited groups of artists to create work for the Man Pavilion that would serve as an inspiration and reference. In 2022, artists were asked to think big, dream about what might be, and reflect on the symbolism of the center of the city. Almost every artist who contributed art concepts influenced the final result, which will be revealed on the playa.
Marcus Vinicius De Paula
The sculpture was located deep in the playa, and not listed on the map, rewarding only the most ambitious in a serendipitous and mysterious way. Titan’s ten-foot-tall exterior is crafted from Zimbabwe black Granite, one of the darkest and oldest stones found on earth contrasted with inward faces made from custom acrylic with a one-way mirror coating. The mirror becomes backlit as the sun sets, giving the work an ethereal glow atnight. Titan is named both for Saturn’s largest moon on which Nasa’ Cassini spacecraft discovered monumental dust storms, and for the mythological pre-olympian gods who ritualistically cover themselves in white dust.
John Marx + J Absinthia Vermut
The Museum of No Spectators has finally come to life, after having been postponed during the pandemic. The original idea for this different type of gallery space for displaying art has remained true to the way in which it was first conceived by co-lead artists John Marx and J Absinthia Vermut. The Museum of No Spectators emphasizes inclusivity while moving away from “art as an elitist sport”. It challenges the notion that museums are neutral spaces for exhibiting what artists do.
Unbound: A Library in Transition
Unbound is a Neoclassical Library clad in deconstructed books representing human creativity and changing thought. Saunter around the building to discover the layered pages of disparate words, illustrations, and languages. Surprises fill the walls with secret doors, niches, hidden dioramas, bookshelves, and a card cabinet containing objects for the taking. Walk up a few stairs and the floral floors direct you through one of three portals representing the body, the mind, and the soul. Reflect in the mirrored shards that flicker on the walls and represent both the loss of physical information while reflecting back to you, the ultimate creator of the information. Rest inside and listen to readings from others from around the world. Contemplate.
A Temple of Masks
A multi-dimensional portal that houses a collection of masks from this world and the next. This is a place for exploration and experimentation, a place where we can be what we truly are: shrouded in mystery.
Dave Keane & Folly Builders
Paradisium is an interactive grove of geometric trees built primarily out of reclaimed lumber and trees burnt in the CZU Lighting Complex fire in Santa Cruz. An interconnected canopy creates shadow art on the playa floor, and meandering pathways lead to an opening in the center. Climbable trees and various walkways among the canopy will afford elevated perspectives. Just like a real forest, the grove will have its seasons and 24-hour cycles. Paradisium provides a space for respite and reflection while fostering a sense of community and an investment in our shared future.