2007 Art Theme: Sports (April Fools)

This year’s proposed art theme “The Green Man” has garnered as much controversy in the Burning Man community as praise. Clearly, no other theme we have offered has generated as much debate. Not surprising — it is so much more than an art theme … it is a challenge to our way of thinking, and our very way of life. It is a call to action on a scale well beyond the borders of Black Rock City, and one of vital importance to the survival of humankind.

And it seems as though you people just couldn’t hack it. The perceived “encroachment of politics” on our little vacation in the desert seems to have spiraled many people into tailspins. Yep, the fact is that so much of what’s being done in the scientific field with regard to environmental solutions (on a large enough scale to actually impact global warming) is necessarily happening in the corporate arena. And yet the idea of these innovators being present on the playa has sent people off the deep end.

Well, fine. We’re going to make this easier for you, because apparently we need things to be easy. As of today, April 1st, this year’s art theme will be “Sports”. This has been a longtime dream of ours — to celebrate man’s relationship to games of skill, and competitive challenges with balls — and we’re going to take it.

The Man in years past has spun around and moved up and down — this year, he will perform the 26 Bikram yoga poses.


The Man will practice morning, noon and night, atop a Pavilion in which we shall celebrate all the wonders of blood sport. We will construct a regulation-size boxing ring topped by a Plexiglas ceiling, over which participants may stroll and watch the carnage below. This square circle will host bare-knuckle boxing, kickboxing, WWF-style wrestling, Greco-roman wrestling and old tyme fisticuffs. Furries and other animal fetishists will be thrown in the ring with representatives of Death Guild for our gladiator exhibitions. On Burn night, we will construct a cage of chain link and razor-wire fencing for the grand finale, no-holds-barred “Ultimate Fighting Smack-Down”. If you’d like to participate in these activities, email bloodsport@burningman.com.


In the outer playa — traditionally our spatial representation of the Great Beyond, or Outer Reaches, or Things Very Far Away and Hard to Get to by Bike in a Strong Headwind — we will construct an 18-hole championship links-style golf course, modeled on Scotland’s St. Andrews, known throughout the world as the birthplace of this horrible game. But our course will feature par 5’s that will bring tears to the eye of even the longest hitters, and it will be awesome. We suggest you pack 1.5 gallons of water per round, and your biggest drivers.

There, are you happy now? Inane, mindless activities giving you free reign to scamper about thoughtlessly on the playa, as our beautiful Earth careens into the mire of an environmental disaster the consequences of which we can only imagine. So get your balls in your hands, because it’s time to have some fun! This year, we’re playing sports … Burning Man style!