Each year the Man acts as the geographical and communal center of Black Rock City. In 2009 the Man stood amidst the Matrix, a ?tangled bank? (referencing a quote from Charles Darwin’s ?On the Origin of Species?), a series of abstract structures made of thousands of irregular wooden triangles. This intricate building technique created a seemingly haphazard yet stable structure that held positive and negative space, shadow and light, as it reached up towards the Man and the sky.
The central tree for the Man base was designed with electroluminescent (EL) wire wrapped around its core in a double helix pattern, representing DNA, the building blocks of the human body. At the bottom of the Man tree were a series of lights styled to look like tubeworms crawling up from the tangled bank from which the Man springs.
Formed in 2008, the Man Watch team is dedicated to safeguard the Man, protecting it from any structural damage before Burn night. This team is composed of volunteers who ensure the Man burns at the appointed hour.
As beautiful as it was, the Matrix’s ladder-like structure of tempting hand-holds and over-hanging arches enticed some participants to try to climb the structure. While the irregular wooden beams may have seemed hearty, they were not designed to handle the weight of a human being. Luckily the Man Watch kept a tight rein on any would-be climbers so neither they nor the structure were damaged.