In 2011, the Man was a true embodiment of the art theme “Rites of Passage”. Standing with one foot ahead in a walking stance, the Man stepped forward towards the future. Arms swinging at his side, the Man seemed to hold fast to the heritage of the event’s past, while embracing the promise of the future.
Surrounding the central Man tower were four tetrahedrons. Topped with dishes that shot flames into the sky, the tetrahedrons “poofed” at random intervals throughout the event. Created by Steve Atkins and Eric Smith of Spire of Fire fame, the tetrahedrons glowed brightly against the desert sky. Also encircling the Man base were some small triangular structures. Glowing with lights and offering a space to sit while regarding the Man, these “tetralights” provided an intimate space for participants to enjoy the center of Black Rock City.The Man was poised on two triangular structures, reaching approximately 40 feet in the air. With a bridge conjoining the two pyramidal structures near the apex, participants could enjoy a unique view of the Man’s stride while glancing out across the expanse of the open playa. Reaching upwards to the top of the structure were two original murals created by Bay area artist (and first time Burner) Brian Carter. Expressing the passion and turmoil felt as one rolls through different rites of passage, the murals created a vibrant addition to the structures.
One of the most important elements of the Man base this year was a tribute to Rod Garrett, city designer and Man base visionary. Sadly Rod passed away during “build week”, the week prior to the event. As a tribute to all Rod gave to making Black Rock City the beautiful, unique, inspiring city it is, Jack “Opa” Haye constructed a box that held Rod’s ashes just prior to Saturday’s festivities. While Rod never got a chance to see his concepts come to life during the 2011 event, we felt his spirit at the Man, and know he is always with us.
The Man Watch team continues to grow and develop. With a new manager at the helm, the team took on the task of guarding the Man and watching over activities at the Man base with enthusiasm and professionalism.
Beth Scarborough and Will Roger Peterson