Burning Man is a weeklong arts festival in Nevada, some call a spiritual experience. This year, the event opens August 29, 2011. It draws thousands of people to the Black Rock desert each year. Burning Man primarily features outsider art and visionary art, though a great variety of art forms appear during the event. Creative expression through the arts and interactive art are encouraged.
The ‘Temple of Transition’ embarks on this year’s festival. Chris Hankins and other artists built a scale model of the three-tiered, 120-foot “Temple of Transition” in Reno’s Hobson Square. James Horkan and a team called the International Arts Megacrew worked with Hankins. Calling on designers from around the world to contribute to the temple’s decoration, Hankins said “We had to bring spirituality into it. We had to bring sacred geometry into it. We applied that to the basic temple structure.”
The temple has a huge presence on the playa. During the week-long festival, people write messages, build shrines, and leave mementos at the temple to help them move on after the loss of loved ones. The temple is burned the morning of Sept. 4, the day after ‘the burning man’.
On Sept. 4, thousands will watch the temple burn. “I can’t wait,” Hankins said. “One of the reasons I like to build these big, giant things is to see them burn. A lot of people don’t understand why we do burn the temple, why we burn anything. It enables people to let go in a different way, whether it’s their loved one, maybe they have the ashes of a mom or dad.”
Reno Gazette-Journal reported joviality surrounds the “man” which is positioned exactly in the middle of Black Rock City. It’s a carnival-like atmosphere, with fireworks, drumming and fire-spinning for the 50,000 in attendance.
Burning Man began 25 years ago as a gathering of friends and strangers on San Francisco’s Baker Beach. It’s now weeklong event gathers over 50,000. The name stems from the ritual burning of a large wooden sculpture. It started out as a random act of public art with then 8-foot-tall wooden man burned at sunset. Then 20 people gathered holding hands to watch the bon-fire. In addition to the burning of the “man”, the burning of a temple is part of the event.
The Burning Man concept is a form of self-expression based on ten principles some of which include; Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, and Participation.
Their mission is to generate a society that connects each individual to his or her creative powers. Believing that the experience of Burning Man can produce positive spiritual change in the world, this event takes on a new theme each year. For 2011, the theme is ‘Rites of Passage’. The festival runs through September 5, 2011.