Jrs V13 I18


Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 13, Issue #18: 2009 HONORARIUM ART
April 29, 2009

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+ The official Burning Man social networking presences

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Ready to get excited for the playa? Really ready? OK, well, we’ve got two ways to stick it to ya today (besides making a slight change to our JRS format here).

First off, we’re all set to announce our 2009 Honorarium Art Installations! We’ve got the full list below, including the artist names, installation descriptions, and (where available) website URL’s so you can take a gander at what they’re working on. As usual, there’s an incredible variety of artworks coming to Black Rock City this year, and some real jaw-droppers … including plenty of fire and plenty of things you just can’t find anywhere else in the world. We’ll be putting this listing up on the Burning Man website soon here, so stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, enjoy this sneak peak!

Second, we’re happy to announce that we’ve launched the official Burning Man Page on Facebook! Learn more about it below, but you’re encouraged to become a “Fan” (as it’s called) of Burning Man, and connect and share with Burners in the digital realm. This, combined with Burning Man’s two Twitter accounts (@burningman and @blackrockcity), represents our latest foray into the burgeoning sphere of social networking.

Why? Well, after all, Burning Man is built on personal connections … and what better way to foster them for our far-flung community than by leveraging the power of these formidable technologies. Right? Right. Of course, nothing can replace the immediacy of good ol’ face-to-face, but when you can’t swing that, this is certainly a top-notch alternative. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Hope you’re all well and enjoying your spring!

(Associate Rabbit)

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Every year Burning Man allocates a percentage of its revenue from ticket sales to funding select art projects that are collaborative, community-oriented and interactive. We do this in order to support the Burning Man art community, and to facilitate the creation of outstanding art for Black Rock City. The vast majority of art installations on the playa, however, are not funded. In 2009, a percentage of your hard-earned ticket money helped to fund the following art installations, for all Burning Man participants to enjoy.


Bio*tanical Garden
by Rossella Scapini – Berkeley, CA

Bio*Tanical garden is the avant-garde in biological harvesting. This innovative greenhouse cultivates human organs and body parts in pots until they are ready to be trans-planted!


Carbon Garden
by False Profit Labs – San Francisco, CA

Carbon Garden is a garden of flowers made out of carbon fiber (the same stuff as the stealth bomber, Boeing’s most advanced airplane wings, and possibly your bicycle fork if you’re extra cool). Each flower will have a small flame that can change its size up to 30 times per second from a candle size to about 3 feet. Flowers react to people around them with ultrasonic range finders, and “talk” to each other in a language of fire.


Chaotic Harmony
by Hedy Sirico – Philadelphia, PA

Maybe the true beauty of art is that it provides no definitive answers. Maybe its power rests empirically in its questions. What do you see when you think of a tangled bank? What of plants and singing birds on bushes? Beautiful people swarming like insects about the installation, some stopping for nectar, some flying to other flowers. Are they really all that different from each other? Is this concept of dependency truly a complex manner? Are all of these things truly produced by definitive laws? Have a seat, friend. Ask a question. If it be from your heart, you may not leave with an answer, but you will leave … changed. Just by asking the question. Chaotic Harmony is a 4-sided assemblage sculpture, a tribute to evolution, starting with oceanic life at the bottom, moving upwards to land-based life, and finally to creatures of the sky at the top.


Chimera Sententia
by Rebecca Anders & Jessica Hobbs – San Francisco, CA

As if pulling itself from primordial ooze, the Chimera Sententia rises from the playa floor. A creature of indeterminate origin out of sync with time and place greets participants; a hybrid expressing a point where evolutionary paths cross. Its body represents a timeline of evolution, from the beginning spark of life to a vision of future possibilities seen within its illuminated head. With a length of thirty feet and reaching a height of fifteen feet, the Chimera’s form strains to lift and pull itself forward by its forearms, its head is bowed low powerfully pushing forward with its expanding mind as its sides labor with breath. Its reptilian body slopes away from its illuminated head, morphing into crustacean as it curls back into a segmented tail. From a distance the Chimera’s presence is enlivened with pulsing breath-like fire running down the crest of its spine and light seeping out from within its body. The Chimera is a steel-based structure; the extremities of its spine fin, forearms, fishy tail and mastodon-like tusks are exposed sculpted steel, while its thorax, tail, neck and lower head are covered in a flexible skin evocative of a leathery organic surface. Its conical eyes protrude from its face, its glowing cranium is sculpted in translucent resin and fiberglass, allowing internally projected light and shadow to play across it.


Cubatron L5
by Mark Lotter – Menlo Park, CA

The Cubatron L5 is a 3D LED light sculpture. It consists of 5 Modular Cubatron arranged in a rectangle 8×40 feet wide and 13 ft high. Each Modular Cubatron is made up of 1000 lights within an 8x8x8ft open aluminum frame. They sit on top of a 5ft high steel pipe platform. People can view from any direction or crawl underneath.


Eighth Wonder
by Amy Shapiro – New York, NY

Eighth Wonder is an archeological site where participants brush away playa dust to reveal the fossil remains of modern day items such as an iPod or an Oscar award. These icons are examples of the theory of survival of the fittest applied to cultural creation instead of biological development. One is an archaeologist of one’s own culture. Our era has had advancements in communication larger than any previous time. Like in biological evolution, changes and chance mutations can occur. The participant uses archeological methods to reveal our era bringing to mind the question of time being an artificial creation. One physically experiences how our culture will be viewed by future generations. Eighth Wonder is about the timelessness of human existence. What are the memorable and lasting images of our society that will survive for centuries? These images are repeatedly covered in dust utilizing the natural environment as a key material.


by Carl Sanden – Seattle, WA

The Evo-Wall begins as a woodpile that grows, changes and evolves to become an obstacle that blocks, a barrier that burns and a wall with a door that unlocks. Beyond the door there is more, a dome structure with fabric streamers provides some shade for all and houses a short story about the wall. As Burners visit maybe they will learn the Evo- Wall is more than just a sperm.


Fire Of Fires – The Temple
by David Umlas, Marrilee Ratcliffe, Community Art Makers – Austin, TX

As human nature and perception have evolved, whether we feel with our heart, question with our mind, or attempt to explain our reality … fire has been at our center. At the center of our structure is the fire. Encased in thirty-two vertical feet of clear polycarbonate sheeting, nine gas lamps come alive as a tornado of flame as participants interact with the Temple. From one flame, all lamps can be kindled: fire imparts infinitely without loss. From a single, human desire all branches swirl out and find form upon a tangled bank.


FlameThrower Shooting Gallery
by Matisse Enzer – San Francisco, CA

Modeled after “County Fair” style shooting galleries the Flamethrower Shooting Gallery provides a flaming twist on a long-standing American tradition and pokes gentle fun at the American fascination with firearms and personal power, along with the Burning Man fascination with fire and “radical self expression” by allowing and encouraging participants to literally play with fire. The Flamethrower Shooting Gallery provides maximum participation for doing dangerous things, safely.


by Rosa Anna DeFilippis, Peter Youngmeister, Caroline Mills, John Devenezia – San Francisco, CA

Gee-Gnome! is a sculptural representation of a garden gnome, 5′ tall and 2′ wide, cast in aluminum to create a realistic depiction of General Gnomius the Great. During the day, Gee-Gnome! will primarily rest, silent and still. Occasionally, when Burning Man participants get too close, Gee-Gnome! will shake with displeasure. However, heat lethargy prevents further escalation. Once the sun goes down, Gee- Gnome! slowly awakens. At first he appears docile, burning with an inviting ambient flame. But gnomes are quick to anger. Suddenly, Gee- Gnome! shakes and jumps up and down with fury. No longer oppressed by the hot daytime sun, his anger quickly escalates, with steam shooting out of his ears. At the pinnacle of his tantrum, his hat breaks open, releasing a jet of multi-colored methanol fury 70′ into the sky. Once the cycle of anger is vented, the gnome returns to his deceivingly docile form. Until next time….


Holding Flame
by Patrick Shearn, Cynthia Washburn – Los Angeles, CA

Holding Flame is a steel pergola covered in sheet steel latticework. The ceiling is plumbed with propane which, when burning, creates a roiling ceiling of fire. Contours created on the surface of the ceiling control the pattern and flow of the fire as it moves outward, trying to rise and searching for oxygen. The result, when seen from below, is mesmerizing and engaging.


by Iron Monkeys – Seattle, WA

In’cu-nab”u-lum is the universe turned inside out, scaled down to a size we can relate to, and placed on our fingertips. Encountering In’cu-nab”u-lum, participants will be led to consider one of the primary dualities of our existence: Our rational minds tell us that we are an inconsequential part of a vast, uncaring universe; yet, we know, in another sense, that we are responsible for creating our own universe and that nothing exists outside our own experience. In’cu-nab”u-lum will allow participants to explore these two concepts and encourage them to consider how different they really are.


Key Note
by Michael Christian – Oakland, CA

A figurative piece made entirely of locks – padlocks, door locks, cabinet and chest locks, car locks, bike locks, locks, locks, locks. Locks we use to secure all we find of value or feel the need to protect. The world as we create and understand it. The figure will be dragging a very large key ring holding thousands of keys the while embodying the feeling of one in continual motion – a body in pursuit of another key, the right key, the one key. A paradox of life as we know it.


Luminous Passage
by Gary Long & LA Art Group – Los Angeles, CA

Luminous Passage will line the entrance to Center Camp with large flower-shaped light sculptures, ten on each side of the Keyhole, for a total of twenty flower-lamps. Proceeding from Center Camp toward the Esplanade, the design of each flower-lamp will become progressively more complex, beginning from an early stage of development, such as a single bud, to a bolder, more vibrant and visually evolved flower form.


Portal of Evolution
by Bryan Tedrick – Glen Ellen, CA

Portal of Evolution is a sculpture based on the female reproductive system. A portal is formed with petal like steel plates from which spring fallopian tubes and ovaries. Emerging from the top is a kinetic butterfly with a seat in the center for passengers. Overall dimensions are 26′ tall x 32′ wide.


Raygun Gothic Rocket
by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, John Manyjohns – Berkeley, CA

The RAYGUN GOTHIC ROCKET is an immersive large-scale installation consisting of a 40′ tall metal rocketship connected via walkway to a taller gantry launch tower with a well-defined lighted perimeter. Participants can interactively explore the rocket’s three interior chambers accessible through the bottom of the rocket and the top of the rocket via the gantry. Aesthetically, the Rocketship explores the rococo retro-futurist future-rustic vernacular. Existing between yesterday’s tomorrow and the future that never was … it is a critical kitsch somewhere between The Moons of Mongo & Manga Nouveau.


by Flaming Lotus Girls – San Francisco, CA

Soma translates the anatomy of neurons into metal, fire and light; magnifying the microscopic world to an epic scale. Soma’s two neurons bond through electrochemical pulses. One neuron appears partially buried in the playa, the other floats overhead while an elegant axon arches between them. Fire and lighting effects flow like electrochemical signals from the buried, transmitting neuron over the high-reaching axon to the elevated, receiving neuron. Each cell body contains a spinning fiery nucleus. Long dendrites undulate away from them. Throughout the sculpture, fire and LED lighting accentuate not only the curves and geometric forms, but also the transmission of information. Soma offers participants an interactive installation that investigates the very basis of thought. It invites them to be an active force in this communication, to gather together and input via controls, sharing their knowledge and messages of warmth.


Steve: the Robot H.E.Ai.D.
by Uber Geek Project – Seattle, WA

In the modern era, human evolution has long left the constraints of biology. Progress is determined by our capacity to share knowledge and collaborate, creating emergent entities that exist outside of our mortal shapes. With Steve: The Robot H.E.Ai.D., we explore the idea that the next step in our human evolution is when these emergent entities wake up, become in some way self-aware, and start speaking to us as individual nodes within its larger brain. Inside the brain of Steve, groups of people will completely immerse themselves in a collaborative, generative sound/music experience that culminates in awakening the sentience of a Human Energized Artificial intelligence Device.


The Burninator Grid
by Bill Codding – San Francisco, CA

The Burninator Grid is a large-scale fire installation – a set of computer-controlled large flame towers compacted into a small area. It will take the concept of the Burninators, which previously have been focused on using large expanses of the playa as a canvas, and concentrate it by scaling down to a small area of very intense heat and light. The patterns will still be able to be seen from anywhere on the playa, but the real visceral experience will be had by walking into the grid of flames.


The Drifting Encyclopedia At Burning Man
by Zach Morris – Woodside, NY

The Drifting Encyclopedia is an immersive, interactive museum housing an assemblage of American oddities, scientific and historical fact, questionable accounts, and implausible, but nonetheless true, representations thereof.


The Heron Project
by Christina Sporrong, Christian Ristow – Taos, NM

The Heron Project is a large-scale modular sculpture that will serve as a versatile performance space and also as a public, interactive, kinetic playground. The Heron crane appears and vanishes amidst a Playa dustorm, part pre-historic bird part oil derrick, its head moves slowly beckoning. There are people climbing and hanging from it with deliberate grace. At night its wings move with fire, illuminating the tall skeletal structure lightly perched on the ground. The Heron is a Triassic playground, at once natural and constructed, kinetic yet open to interaction on many levels.


Nowhere Omnibus Service
by Pete Johnson, Steve Double, Toby Slater – United Kingdom

The Nowhere Omnibus is simultaneously a piece of interactive art and Black Rock City’s first genuine public transport infrastructure, providing a regular, reliable, timetabled route around the playa, to the Man and the Temple every day of Burning Man. It will take the form of a red, double-decker London Routemaster bus, complete with bus stops around the Esplanade and visits to Burning Man art exhibits.


The Watch
by Chassy Cleland, Brooklyn – NY

The Watch starts with a question posed 200 years ago: If you were walking across a barren landscape and found a pocket watch on the ground, how did it come to be there, and in this context, is it any different than an animal or plant?

This installation is a 10′ diameter version of that watch, embedded in the desert surface. As biologists look inside animals to trace evolutionary ancestries, answers lie within The Watch. The interior clockwork is exposed, with additional gears scattered nearby. Built as a zoetrope, each spinning cog tells a story about how life came to be. Some cogs run the ticking clockwork, displaying stories that interlock to form our best understanding of the evolutionary clock’s mechanisms. Other cogs are scattered nearby, re-telling origin theories discarded in favor of those that better fit with the scientific observations and discoveries of the past two centuries.


Towers of Shiva
by Dave King & Controlled Burn – Reno, NV

The Towers of Shiva is the third and final evolution of the Shive Vista Project. It is a place where humans and fire breathing hardware dance together in the heat of the night. An elevated fire performance platform is lit by fire breathing towers and a row of mechanized flame effects. Drummers, Fire dancers and synchronized flames blend together in a powerful expression of the Art of Fire.


Who Gave Birth?
by Laura Kimpton – Nicasio, CA

The theme this year at Burning Man is “Evolution”. When thinking about evolution, I think about Where We Came From. I believe we evolved from the earth meaning the Earth Gave Birth to all living things. At Burning Man 2009, I propose to build an art installation entitled “Who Gave Birth?” with an underlying evolutionary theme of “Earth Gave Birth”.

This art installation is a celebration of all MOMs, and the feminine energy that comprises the true understanding that the original MOM is The Earth. We were all born from The Earth. We live in a time where this understanding of our true MOM as The Earth has been forgotten. We look to other means to guide us through our lives — we look to books, words, masculine energy, religion, TV, the Internet — exclusively human elements to guide us in our lives. I believe if we looked to the energy that gave us life, “The Earth”, we would be living more in balance. We would understand that if we looked down to our Feet, to the Dirt, the Trees, the Earth energy, we would find a wisdom that would surpass all other wisdom. In designing “Who Gave Birth?”, I see a unique opportunity to also celebrate my MOM, and all MOMs. It is a way to truly rejoice in the understanding of the power of what it takes to be a MOM.



Yep, Burning Man has joined the 21st century, and is reaching out to the millions of Burners and potential Burners who grace the digital halls of Facebook.

We’ve established an official Facebook Page, where Facebook users can become what are called “Fans” of Burning Man, and keep the conversation alive throughout the year. Fans can make general comments, start discussion threads, post photos, post videos, and connect with other like-minded individuals. It also allows the Burning Man staff to post quick information bites that go out to all of our Fans in one shot.

It’s kinda like smashing the ePlaya together with Tribe, tossing in Flickr and Twitter, sprinkling it with YouTube, and giving it all a big stir. Through this media-rich channel, people’s friends and friends of friends get to learn about Burning Man the way many of us did: through trusted personal connections.

In just the first 24 hours, we’ve gotten over 800 Fans, and the comments, discussions, and posting of beautiful photos is under way. It’s very exciting to see the energy kick up so quickly, and to see people’s enthusiasm.

Feel free to spread the word, and join up. Here’s a link (and yes, you’ll need to create a Facebook account, if you haven’t got one already):



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Soundtrack for this JRS: Evangelicals