Around the world, 2009 was about cutting back, and waiting out the privations of a general recession. Anticipating fewer participants, our city was returned to the size and basic configuration of 2007. All operations were trimmed and polished, the net result of which seemed to be what many called the smoothest and best organized event yet.

This year’s structure for The Man was a sculptural assemblage. It followed a nebulous and branching path, both in form and in actual construction. The introduction to the Evolution theme stated “Nature never made a plan, nor does it seem to copy very well.” In this spirit, we embraced the chaotic. This year’s design, though pre-planned and further envisioned in 3D, was meant to be extemporaneously completed. It began with an armature of salvaged trusses, these to be fleshed out through the creativity and expression of the carpenter/artists. As such, it evolved rather than being built.

Many of the staff were also drawn to contribute to its construction, and to inscribe their work. Imbued with the spirit of its creators, it was a highly acclaimed success. However, not all themes are appropriate to a structure produced through organized collaboration. Nonetheless, we look forward to developing many more opportunities in the future to work with this type of participatory and sculptural format.

The 2010 theme having been established in the weeks immediately preceding the event, its designs and illustrations proceeded to be considered and developed. Additionally, the theme’s context, as well as programs and plans to carry them out came under discussion. This early work was the result of the participant’s increasing desire to discover the new theme more promptly. The next theme is now announced at the close of our event, allowing the maximum opportunity for all to switch over and to begin their next project on the way home.

Much of the early months of the year were spent reconsidering and further developing a preliminary General Plan for Fly Ranch and Hot Springs. This took the form of a report which continues to be studied and evaluated. It is our dream that this might be a prototype for an ecologically sound and independently sustainable modern community. Additionally, that it serve as both a retreat and center for the spirit of Burning Man’s wilderness and arts experience.

Submitted by, Rod Garrett