Work moving along at Burning Man
August 29, 2008
BLACK ROCK CITY — Making up for lost time Monday when strong winds held up construction of art works on the playa here, artists Thursday completed most of their works for the Burning Man Celebration of alternate lifestyles out across the dusty Black Rock Desert.
With the Bureau of Land Management rangers located away from the main city, it was difficult to get a precise figure on the number of Burners but gatekeepers estimated that nearly 40,000 people had arrived. Another 10,000 were expected before Saturday night for the actual burning of the effigy wooden statue of the otherworldly man atop a 10-story high structure with flags of all the nations draped about it. Burners were invited to climb the structure for a view of the playa with dozens of art works and buildings scatted about the arid desert.
The burning of the Man is a celebration of all things temporary in the world and marks the theme of the gathering, “the American Dream.” The concept is that by taking part in the celebration of the other things in life, Burners will be better able to create their own American Dream.
“Cha$sing the American Dream” is a sculpture by Hedy Sirico that is designed to inspire “reflection on the nature of America’s acquisition mentality.” Another exhibit is of photos showing legendary Americans who lived their lives outside conventional society, said as Henry Thereau. Then there is “Shiva Vista,” by Dream Team and Controlled Burn. This is an interactive flame effects exhibit that is a mecca for fire performers and fashion and dancers that use fire in their acts.
Mobile art on the playa includes an “amazing Jellyfish from the year 12,000 which has come back to our time as an enlarged 15-foot-wide creature; “Drum Wagons,” by Quill Hyde, three solar-powered drum carriers creating rolling thunder on the playa; and “Lepieodogers,” a hydraulic steel butterfly with a 55-foot wingspan into which Burners are welcomed to feed trash from the playa for the gasification that moves it.
Some of these installations will be burned Sunday night following the burn of the Man Saturday night.
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BLM officials said heat prostration was the chief medical problem thus far and were bracing for higher temperatures Friday.
Traffic to the Burning had eased Thursday with most Burners not wanting to miss any of the celebration.
This may be the largest Burning Man ever as officials noted that there are similar events now in Texas and Spain and at the projected 50,000 Burners it may be time to halt growth.