2017 Man Pavilion Shrines and Processionals: Request for Proposals

Submission Deadline: March 6, 2017

1. Overview

Statement of Purpose

Burning Man seeks Regional groups or artist collectives to propose, create and install one of 20 shrines for the 2017 Man Pavilion or one of several City Plazas in Black Rock City. Shrines installed at the Man Pavilion, this year called the Temple of the Golden Spike, will burn with the Man and should be constructed with that in mind. Shrines installed in City Plazas will not burn and can be made from a broader range of materials and will be collected by the artists at the end of the event. As the artist, you may choose to propose one or the other, or both!

The point of contact for this RFP is Kimba Jorgensen, Man Pavilion Project Manager: kimba@burningman.org

Background Information

Hi, we’re Burning Man. We hope you’ve heard of us. The team reviewing proposals includes Larry Harvey (founder) and other creative types along with members of the construction and logistics teams under coordination of Kimba Jorgensen (Project Manager).


For inspiration, check out these writings:

2. Scope of Work

We are opening the floodgates for ideas from artists interested in the aesthetics of a shrine. Pieces should fit the theme of Radical Ritual and complement our pavilion, this year called the Temple of the Golden Spike. Ideally a shrine should have an architectural character that is bisymmetrical. This means that it should mirror itself on either side, like the human body or the eight-sided temple it surrounds.

Rendering of the Temple of the Golden Spike, around which the shrines will be placed. (Man Pavilion design by Larry Harvey, Andrew Johnstone, and Jack Haye. Illustration by Andrew Johnstone and Jim Pire.)

The shrines will sit on a base (provided by Burning Man and called a “plinth”). Shrines are to be installed on their plinths a day or two in advance of the gates of BRC opening to the public at 6 pm Sunday August 27.

As part of your shrine, we ask that you create a symbolic relic. In truth, any kind of artifact can be made to feel sacred, especially if installed on a central altar, and we will leave this to your imagination. We also encourage artists to make these shrines interactive by including well-secured nooks and spaces that will allow participants to contribute offerings (without generating MOOP).

Here are some shrines for inspiration:

Chao Mae Tuptim shrine, Bangkok, Thailand (yes, those are penises.) (Photo by Ddalbiez via Wikimedia Commons)
Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine (Photo by giveawayboy via Flickr Commons)
Hishaku, Gokoku Shrine, Japan (Photo by drufisher via Flickr Commons)
Erawan shrine, Bangkok, Thailand (Photo by J Aaron Farr via Flickr)


In alignment with the Radical Ritual theme, after the event begins, Burning Man encourages you to gather fellow Burners to catalyze a procession from a location of your choosing to your shrine to bring along the final component to add that “spark of life” to your shrine. Final components should be sized appropriately for carrying and able to be installed with minimal tooling. Components should be installed no later than noon, Tuesday. Day or nighttime processions are welcome. Proceed on foot and carry your offerings by hand, in a reliquary, or by another method of your imaginative choosing. As part of your procession and/or unveiling, we invite you to enact a ritual related to your piece.

Lamplighters approach the Temple of Transition by International Arts Megacrew in 2011 (Photo by Philip Safarik)
Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2010 (Photo by xlibber via Wikimedia Commons)

As the close of the Man Pavilion draws near on Friday at dusk, your team will be invited to remove your final embellishment and carry it en masse in an imaginative procession from your shrine to the ARTery/Everywhere Pavilion where a toast will be held to celebrate the works.

The intent is for these shrines to burn with the Man on Burn Night, so crafting them from clean-burning wood is encouraged if you propose placement at Man Pavilion. We are open to other ideas for fabrication materials, but they must be non-toxic. A broader selection of materials is acceptable if you would rather propose a Plaza placement.

Drawing by Jack Haye, a.k.a. Opa

The shrine(s) are to be installed on a provided plinth, roughly 5’ wide x 5’ deep and raised about 3’ off the playa. The tapered part of the below drawing is a stand-in for your proposed piece. The shrine dimensions are not hard and fast, but representational of the general size that we’re looking for.

All proposals should include a shrine with a “relic” type feature. Processions and rituals are optional. Please tell us in your proposal what you’d like to create.

Drawing by Jack Haye, a.k.a. Opa

Physical constraints: The base of your shrine should fall within a 4’4” square set in the middle of a 5’x5’ square, this leaves us a 4” trim around the base for lighting (see above diagram — the beveled square is all yours). The anchoring points will need to fall within that 4’4” square. The plinth will be made of wood with a burly substructure for anchoring. Anticipate using wood lags from your shrine sunk into the 4’4” square. We estimate that we can support 500 lbs (226.8kg) directly over the plinth and probably less if your structure has a large mass outside of the center. We haven’t set a limit for height but keep in mind the base of the shrine will already be 3’ off the playa; the height should not exceed a comfortable base to height ratio. We think 4’ seems about right for the max height, but we’re flexible. The Man Pavilion plinths will be located roughly 75’ from the center of the Man.

Lighting and Electrical: Burning Man will provide warm white light for your shrine. We will provide power for your supplied lighting or other use as needed if you request it in your proposal. If you envision your piece being lit from within or having a lighted element, you are welcome to provide your own lighting elements. If so, please strive for similar overall light levels as the other shrines: about 40w max. If you design lighting, please consider using LEDs whenever possible to keep the draw low. We’ll work out the details about lighting after selection.

Other stuff that might be useful to know:

  • Some materials work better on the playa than others. Our current intent is to burn these shrines with the Man. Here are a few places on our website that talk about guidelines for creating art on the playa. They’re not 100% applicable for Man Pavilion work, but they are good things to read:
  • You will be responsible for transportation of your piece to the playa and home (if it doesn’t burn). In some cases, we might be able to help. Ask or address this need in your proposal. Help could come in the form of helping you coordinate with other artists from your local area to share trucks, or possibly utilizing space on one of our trucks, depending on where you are.
  • We will provide the heavy machinery and operators to lift your piece from your truck, around the site and to the plinth. We will provide straps. You should provide hooks, lift points, etc.
  • We are looking to grant a maximum of $2500 to each project.
  • Our standard contract will stipulate that we may use images of the piece in the future and there is a small amount collected if we fund it and you are later able to sell it under certain circumstances. We’ll deal with all that fun contract stuff later, just a heads up.
  • If you have no clear destination for your relic or shrine after Burning Man, please speak with us. We may wish to include it in our archives and/or, if you are amenable, our fundraising efforts to support civic art activations and global grants to artists for work beyond Burning Man.
  • We anticipate developing and offering an opt-in camping village where you and your team may choose to live. If selected, we’ll ask you to indicate your interest in participating in that village, it is 100% optional.

Man Pavilion-specific:

  • The Pavilion site is an active construction site. You must have appropriate clothing, footwear, gloves, eye and ear protection and a hard hat for each member of your installation team.
  • The Pavilion build crew and the Heavy Equipment and Transpo team generally works on site from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday – Saturday. During these hours you will usually find support and the project manager on site to deal with issues. You may be allowed or asked to work off hours, depending on what else is going on with the build schedule. We supply multiple light towers on the site so night work is possible with some coordination regarding the placement of the towers.
  • If your piece is proposed and selected for installation at the Man Pavilion, the intent is to burn it. You will not be responsible for any part of the burn as it will be incorporated into the larger burn plan.
  • Late on the Friday night/early Saturday morning before the Man burns, we strike the Pavilion to get it ready to burn. Our hope is that your piece is sturdy enough once mounted to the plinth to be picked up and moved on forks if needed. We have yet to determine if the pieces will burn in place or be moved closer to the Man. Please design with the intent that they might move in this way, one time. Ideally, you’ll be off enjoying Burning Man and we can do this move without you. Again, if you design the piece with that in mind, it helps everyone. Should the piece be determined upon installation to require your participation in the potential move, you will need to plan to be at the Man Pavilion sometime in the wee hours of Saturday morning; we will tighten up this window with you to a very specific time should this be necessary.

City Plaza specific:

  • We anticipate placing groups of three to five shrines in the 4:30 and 7:30 plazas. Sculptures placed in the plazas will not burn and must be removed by your team.

Roles and Responsibilities

The selected artist/artist collective will be contracted and coordinated by Burning Man’s project manager. The selected artist(s) will need to participate in pre-installation logistics meetings and planning sessions and to provide drawings, sketches and specifications to our construction and operational team as needed. We understand that the selected proposal may evolve during the finalization of the design and construction plan and we look forward to working with you on this iterative process.

Project Timeline

Proposals are due on March 6 at 5 pm Pacific time, and we anticipate making a decision no later than late March. Once awarded, we will issue a contract and begin work on nailing down installation plans.

We anticipate the earliest time you can plan to install your piece is Friday, August 25.

Our city gates and the Man Pavilion open on Sunday, August 27. Your piece must be fully installed and your installation debris removed from the site no later than dawn on Sunday, August 27. Please include in your proposal your timeline for installation. We expect that an average installation time frame should be about three hours for moving a truck into place, unloading, unpacking, lifting and anchoring the finished piece into place and touch-up work. You may request access to the site at night to test lighting if needed.

3. RFP Procedures

Evaluation and Award Process

The creative team will select proposals and award grants based on adherence to the theme, idea and budget. The construction and logistics team will weigh in on feasibility.

Submission Details

For questions stemming from the RFP, please contact Kimba Jorgensen at kimba@burningman.org or 415-689-6940.

Click here to log into your Burner Profile to submit an application before March 6.


Neither issuing an RFP nor receiving a response constitutes any form of contract or agreement with respect to the project. Burning Man reserves the right to cancel, amend or alter the RFP, its contents or the selection process.