Desert Arts Preview 2015

  • Date and Time: May 03, 2015 @ 5:30pm - 8pm
  • Format: Event
  • Location:
    Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center
    2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123 (directions at
  • Cost: $10
  • Tickets: Buy tickets or RSVP

Burning Man presents its much anticipated artist lecture and sneak preview!

Doors open at 5:30pm. Space is limited. Presentations begin at 6:00pm. Each speaker will have approximately 10 minutes, arrive on time so you don’t miss any of them!

Temple of Promise, 2015 (Jazz Tigan, Designer)
Temple of Promise, 2015 (Jazz Tigan, Designer)

Burning Man invites you to its tenth annual Desert Arts Preview! This very popular and anticipated event features artists presenting their works in progress destined for the 2015 Burning Man event.

Desert Arts Preview is an amazing opportunity to get a sneak preview of some of the extraordinary, creative, crazy, inspiring concepts artists are bringing to Black Rock City this year. In the past, we’ve heard from artists who created massive, climbable tea pots, oversized Pez dispensers, 120-foot Temples and more. This year’s projects promise to be just as impressive!

Presenters at the Desert Arts Preview will share their inspiration and hopes for these works in progress, giving the audience an exclusive window into their imagination and creative process. Some have been creating work for the inhospitable Black Rock Desert in Nevada for many years and will share with us how they are building upon their successes and lessons learned. We will also have the opportunity to express appreciation and support for these imaginative works of art. (Presenters listed below.)

This is also the perfect opportunity to learn how you can get involved and support these and other artists at the Burning Man event and year-round—as we increasingly seek to create interactive, collaborative and community-generating works of art in cities around the world.

Can’t make it? The event will be video recorded and posted online after the event. Also, you can also reach out to these and other Burning Man art projects directly to offer support as you feel inspired. Get involved and help make the art you wish to see in the world!


Project: Totem of Confessions
Artist: Michael Garlington

Come one, come all to the mystical Totem of Confessions, Michael Garlington’s newest Chapel! Experience cathartic release as you liberate your secrets, unearth the hidden lives of those around you, and test your fortune and powers for uncovering concealed nooks and hidden compartments holding relics and gifts from the artists’ own hands.

Upon approaching the 50′ edifice, whose design recalls ancient Khmer and Vedic architecture, revelers bask in the beauty and chaos of black and white photography in assemblage with salvaged and re-purposed mixed media. In the middle of the great room, a golden confessional stands as a portal to revelation and interaction with the art and other participants.

Mysteries and discoveries will reveal themselves in the installation’s details and will, in turn, inspire visitors to explore their own hidden meanings and inner worlds.


Project: Illumicanth
Artist: Rebecca Anders

The Illumacanth is a massive fishy monster surging up from the ground, with mouth agape and brain alight. Its dark, deeply textured exterior surrounds a bright, reflective interior, into which one may venture through its toothy jaws. Elevated over its open head is a halo of silver bird-fish which dance and spin. Flame effects and undulating lights enliven this mysterious beast, and invite the participant to rest on its fins, gather inside, and sneak through its gills. The Illumacanth is a free-standing, interactive sculptural installation made primarily of metal. It provides seating and gathering space, and features flame and light effects as well as kinetic elements.


Project: The Life Cube
Artist: Scott “Skeeter” Cohen

The Life Cube is an engaging, interactive, art-driven environment for the expression of goals, dreams, wishes, and aspirations. Citizens of BRC inscribe their thoughts on message-walls and on wish-stick postcards deposited into the Cube. In the spectacular finale, the Cube and all the wishes are burned and sent out together into the universe. The Life Cube features a 24’ high architectural design with stairs, pillars, mirrors, posts, and high places inviting Playa visitors to walk through, climb, hang-out, touch and interact. The community can express themselves on write-boards, contribute to the tapestry wall, and watch painters creating collaborative murals all week long. At night the Cube takes on new life with spectacular lighting that enhances the drama: wall-washers, spots, strobes, lasers, and psychedelic lights add brilliant color that changes interior rooms and spaces, sending rainbows across the dark Playa landscape and illuminating the art and people around the Cube.


Project: Dreamland
Artists: Flux Foundation

Inspired by the wonder of childhood carnival rides, Dreamland is an immersive and interactive environment that encapsulates the energy of the Carnival of Mirrors. A whimsical experience of vivid colors, dazzling light and flame transport participants to the world of spectacle and the carnivalesque. Dreamland evokes not only the carnival of our collective memory, but that of our dreams: a fantastical space that stretches and warps our perspective, and shimmers and glows at the edges of our consciousness. Tranquility envelops us as we step into its shadows. It exists as a reverie–its leisurely intoxication punctuated by ecstatic pandemonium when submerged in its interior.


Project: Axayacoatl
Artist: Capra J’neva

Axayacoatl (pronounced: ah-shy-ah-co-ah-tul, meaning: serpent mask) is a 20’ tall, 13’ wide copper effigy of Quetzalcoatl’s mask with a translucent copper screen warrior in his mouth. Flame effects and interactive LED lighting allow participants “behind the curtain” to put on an impressive display to those approaching. Large physical levers and wheels form the interface for participants who want to play “wizard” to those approaching the mask. Participants may climb his stair stepped tongue, enter the room created by the swallowed warrior’s head and look out through his eyes.


Project: Mazu: Goddess of the Empty Sea
Artist: Chris “Kiwi” Hankins

The temple complex is ringed in 108 lanterns on bamboo poles. The temple itself is to a goddess of the sea and protector of sailors, and thus is raised up off the playa on a pier as though on water. The temple is octagonal, with a peaked roof guarded by steel dragons, and atop it sits a giant lotus flower, from which the goddess emerges when properly summoned. To either side of the main temple structure are small islands connected by bridges, which serve as a small tea house and prayer furnace, respectively. Within the temple are found 5 different stations where participants can interact with the structure, take part in our variations on traditional prayer and fortune telling.


Project: R-Evolution
Artist: Marco Cochrane and Julia Whitelaw

Constructed of steel rod and balls and covered in stainless steel mesh, with LED lighting effects, R-Evolution is a 48 foot tall sculpture of a woman, Deja Solis, standing firmly with both feet on the ground, eyes closed, arms open at her sides, palms forward, a peaceful expression–present.

The culmination of The Bliss Project, a series of three monumental sculptures of a woman, Deja Solis, expressing her humanity, R-Evolution, like Bliss Dance and Truth is Beauty, is intended to demand a change in perspective; to be a catalyst for social change. She is intended to challenge the viewer to see past the sexual charge that has developed around the female body which has been used for power and control, to the human being. We hope to inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, making room for women’s voices, thus allowing both women and men to live fully and thrive.


Project: Temple of Promise
Artist: Jazz Tigan

A Temple’s purpose is to provide a safe space where the diverse and essential needs of the soul can take root and grow or surrender and find solace. This year, the Temple of Promise welcomes participants through an archway soaring 97 feet overhead. Once inside, the structure curves in on itself, tapering in width and height down to just 7 feet tall. Along the way, alcoves formed by the supporting arches, as well as wooden sculptures reminiscent of stones in a stream, create altars and semi-private spaces for individuals and smaller gatherings. The lines of the curved wooden walls draw the eye inward and create a canvas for written messages and mementos. As the path continues to curve, it opens into the contemplative altar and the heart of the Temple: a grove of three sculpted trees. The branches are initially bare. Participants will write messages on long strips of cloth and attach them to the trees, creating the gentle shade of Weeping Willows, increasing as the week progresses.