2018 Man Pavilion

I, Robot: Integrated Art

Call for Art

The Idea

As part of the interactive experience at this year’s Man Pavilion, we are looking for robot art, and plenty of it. Robot effigies to stand vigil around the Man during the Event, then accompany it to fiery oblivion on Burn Night. Wooden cyborgs, wooden androids, wooden automata — human-sized and built to burn. We are looking for twelve of these burnable sculptures, to be positioned on twelve wooden plinths at the twelve clock-points of the giant clock-work Cog that will serve as this year’s Man Pavilion.

Inside the Cog, we will also have space for four panels of mixed-media collage or bas-relief, also depicting robots, androids, mandroids, or sundry manmade creatures that interpret this year’s I, Robot theme. Unlike the twelve humanoid sculptures described above, these panels do not necessarily have to be built to burn (they will not be visible on Burn night), and may incorporate materials of the artist’s choice provided they conform to the dimensions and other guidelines listed below in “Physical Constraints.”

All accepted projects will receive a stipend of US$1,000 for materials and transportation, access to two gift tickets to Burning Man 2018, and Work Access Passes for early site entry and installation. All pieces need to be complete and ready for installation upon check-in at the ARTery in Black Rock City, no later than 9:00 am on Saturday, August 25.

For inspiration regarding the theme, see the 2018 theme announcement by Larry Harvey and Stuart Mangrum.

Physical Constraints

Robot effigies need to be between 6 and 7 feet (1.83 and 2.13 meters) tall, no more than 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide (0.91 meters) at their maxium dimension and with a base plate of at least 20” and a maximum of 3’6” (0.51 and 1.07 meters) square. Sculptures should weigh no more than 900 pounds (408 kg). They must be burn-ready, constructed primarily of wood, though they may have burn-friendly accent materials such as metal or glass. The minimum thickness plywood that is allowed to burn is ⅝” (15.9mm). Sculptures may not incorporate any materials that produce toxic fumes when burned. All sculptures will be burned in place as installed, with no opportunity for de-installation or modification prior to burning. Each piece will need to be hauled up to the deck of the Cog. There are about 26 steps up to the deck, in a straight shot. We suggest you affix your base plate to a pallet for transportation so we can easily get it to the deck for you. All of our lifting equipment requires 3” fork pockets, so please plan accordingly. Another option is to pick it from above with a crane. Please tell us if you’d like to explore that option and we’ll consult on rigging requirements.

Interior panels may be constructed of any materials but they must be mounted on a single plywood sheet of 3/4” x 4’ by 8’ (19mm x 1.22m x 2.44m), be no greater than 8” (0.20m) in depth at the most deeply built-out point, and weigh no more than 500 pounds (227 kg). Burning Man will help with the installation of these panels by providing and installing a French cleat on the back of the plywood.

Lighting and Electrical

All pieces will be externally lit so you don’t need to worry about your piece being seen at night, but accent lights, motion, or other functionality can probably be supported. Please keep lighting subdued so as not to interfere with other artwork. 120 volts on a shared circuit is easy. A dedicated circuit is possible, if needed.

Set-Up and Strike

  • The Man Pavilion opens on Sunday, August 26, 2018. Your project must be fully installed and any packing materials or debris removed from the site no later than dawn on Sunday, August 26. You will be granted playa access up to 48 hours ahead of that deadline and access to the build site up to 24 hours ahead of that deadline. We’ll ask you later to estimate your time of arrival and duration of installation. We do *not* anticipate that your piece should take 24 hours to install. We are thinking more along the lines of four hours, in general. We are allowing overnight installations or evening access in case you have lighting to test.
  • If you don’t want to carry your project up a long flight of stairs, it needs to either have a pick-point on top or be forkable with a 3-inch clearance.
  • Leave No Trace. Remove your packing materials. Haul out your own MOOP.
  • You will not be responsible for strike or removal of your artwork.

Other Stuff That Might Be Useful to Know

Pre-event, on-site set-up:

  • You will be responsible for transportation of your project to the playa.
  • You will be allowed to bring a pick-up truck or a small box truck into the build space so you can unload. The truck cannot remain on the build site beyond the completion of the unload. You can park just outside our site fenceline, though, so you have access to tools or other materials you might need.
  • The site will be an active construction site when you arrive. You must have appropriate clothing, footwear, gloves, eye and ear protection, etc. for each member of your team if you plan on using power tools. If we assist you with heavy machinery support, we may require you to wear a (provided, but possibly pre-sweaty!) hard hat. Feel free to bring your own. Maybe decorate it to match your robot.

During the event:

  • Please check in on your piece daily. Sometimes things get broken and this is your opportunity and responsibility to fix it the way you’d like. If we see something unsafe or broken, we may fix it on your behalf up to or including removal of the artwork.

Contracts and Plans

The selected proposals will be contracted and coordinated by Burning Man’s Man Pavilion Art Liaison. The selected artists will need to participate in pre-installation logistics meetings and provide drawings, sketches and specifications to our team as needed. We understand that the proposed project may slightly evolove during the finalization of the design and build plan. If your plans change significantly from what you propose we’ll need to work with you to review and approve the changes.

Project Timeline

Proposals are due on June 20 at 11:59 pm Pacific time, and we anticipate notifying artists by the end of June. Once awarded, we will issue a contract and begin work on nailing down installation plans.

The earliest time you can plan to install your piece is Saturday, August 25.

The Man Pavilion opens on Sunday, August 26. Your piece must be fully installed and your installation debris removed from the site no later than dawn on Sunday, August 26.

Please include in your proposal your timeline for installation. We expect that an average installation time frame should be about four 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.

Evaluation and Award Process

The team that will review your submission will include creative types in the Art Department along with Theme co-author Stuart Mangrum and members of the Man Pavilion crew.

The review team will evaluate proposals based on adherence to the theme, visual appeal, and feasibility.

Submission Details

Please submit your proposal here by June 20th.

Following are the questions that you will be prompted to answer in your proposal form:

  • Art Installation Title
  • Lead Artist (First Name Last Name)
  • Project Lead (First Name Last Name) [only if different from Lead Artist]
  • Artist Group, Collective, or Organization Name (if applicable)
  • Project Summary: Briefly describe the piece you are proposing. (up to 60 words of text)
  • Are you proposing a human-sized wooden robot for the exterior of the Man base, or a bas-relief panel for the interior of the structure?
  • Please include your timeline for installation (up to 60 words of text)
  • What will your piece look like? Please provide a more detailed physical description of your concept. (up to 300 words)
  • Please submit at least one image of your concept. This can be a drawing, sketch, photo, etc. that illustrates what the project will look like. You may upload up to three images here, and acceptable formats are limited to image files (.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, or .png).