In 2007, the Performance Safety Team worked closely with artists before the event and on the playa to ensure the highest levels of safety without diminishing the participant experience or the artists ability to express their art.
In 2007, the Performance Safety Team maintained a presence at the ARTery during its hours of operation allowing Artists to be met at the PST desk and guided through their registration and inspection. The Performance Safety Team has actively worked with the artists to find solutions that may arise ahead of time, as well as on site.
The scale of fire art this year ran from the small and intimate to the massive and awe inspiring. The ever-growing fire arts community continues to show up each year with projects that are both complex and cutting edge. Nowhere in the world is fire embraced as a component of art in the way that it is at Burning Man.
The scale of fire art was pushed to new areas, here is a sample of the larger projects:
The Burning of the Man by the Man, Pavilion and Pyrotechnics crew. A Man was recreated in time for the burn and the Pyro Crew made a stunning display and massive fireball, despite the challenges of the rebuilding process.
Crude Awakening – The limits were pushed of what is possible on the playa. The artists brought to the playa one of the largest crews ever and pulled off one of the most impressive liquid fueled flame effects ever displayed before an audience.
Burninator X – A project originally built in 2006 and refined in 2007 doubled the effects and added an intersecting row of sequentially controlled effects, lighting the playa for miles.
Although the spectacle of these huge projects is undeniable, the draw and attraction of smaller, more intimate fires also drew participants in to enjoy the warmth and intimacy of such projects as:
Celtic Forest – Stainless steel trees lit with fiery limbs welcomed visitors into its center to exchange burning words within the fire moat.
Bizzaro Saguaro -The grouping of Saguaro Cactus burned throughout the night inviting folks to come out of the dark and enjoy its sputtering warmth.
All of these projects require logistical help, from pre-planning to on-site services such as fire suppression assets and personnel, fuel support, ranger presence etc. As the complexity of these tasks and their interrelationships grows so will the need for the Performance Safety Team to grow in its ability to understand and manage ever more complex projects.
One of the greatest challenges this year for the team was the scale and complexity of some of the artwork. Projects such as Crude Awakening were actually composed of many different flame effects that were run for the duration of the event, as well as a complicated performance featuring a large pyrotechnic display and flame effects. Each of these components required its own safety plan as well as one for the overall performance.
One problem that came up in 2007 is that there were a number of outdated and conflicting policies and recommendations regarding the construction of burn platforms. This resulted in artists having to make last-minute changes to their designs to meet current requirements. To alleviate this problem for 2008 we will remove outdated web-based burn platform information and create a central place for all of the fire-related information. We also will consolidate the DMV and Theme Camp fire registration process. We hope to have all of this in place when the registration questionnaire opens in 2008.
The Performance safety Team will continue to grow and evolve with our event as we look forward to the blazing art yet to come at Burning Man 2008.