IAMAI and the Burnbots graced this year's Man Pavilion. As a manifestation of the I, Robot theme, the 2018 Man base experience offered an exploration of humankind’s decidedly mixed feelings about algorithmic intelligence, cybernetic augmentation, and the mystery of what it means to be human in an increasingly automated world. Twenty installations circled the Man including works by : Robotopod Inclusions by Annabel Lee Allen (Ashland, OR), Squidartha by Alexander Griffin (Portland, OR), Cyber Fossils by Leonid Kim (Moscow, Russia) and Future’s Past Circuitry Patterns by Kate Raudenbush (New York, NY).
Joseph Crossley & AstralProjekt/Heckler from Australia presented IAMAI, a phantasmagoria of AI-themed imagery projection-mapped onto the Pavilion’s interior walls.
All Man Pavilion artists can be viewed here.
Fireworks at the start of the burn of David Best’s memorial temple built by family and friends of Larry Harvey.
The The New Yorker remembered Larry and an online memorial was set up at larry.burningman.org
Larry's brother Stewart Harvey posted this photo essay Stewart Harvey, my Brother Larry and Will Chase and Rosalie Barnes hosted "The Man with the Hat" at the Castro Theater in San Francisco on July 14th. All performances and memorials from that night can be viewed on the Burning Man YouTube channel
"Because we are a major National Institution that really is about telling the American story and that is open and free to the public, it seems like in some ways a match made in heaven. This is a unique opportunity to look at Burning Man really .. as this creative laboratory that's linked with Maker Culture, that's linked with technology, thats linked with many of the most innovaties minds in our country, and that's sort of an outside part of the art world that hasn't been looked at before in the museum setting... This is literally the largest exhibition that our museum has ever put on, it's the entire building and the neighborhood combined."
Nora Atkinson from the Renwick Gallery
No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" at the Renwick Gallery
In 2018, Burning Man Project continued to deepen its work both on playa and beyond. We playafied places and spaces as more cultural, public, and private institutions sought to learn from and collaborate with Burning Man, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washoe County, the City of San Jose, and the French creative city, Nantes. We shared the impact of our culture on cities and learned more about their challenges by engaging with mayors from across the country at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington D.C. and Boston. We also hosted a group of 14 mayors on playa.
From cityscapes to landscapes, Land Fellow Scirpus documented the wildlife and ecosystem at Fly Ranch, identifying 144 plants, 88 birds, 14 animals, and 10 reptiles, fish, and amphibians. We also supported the global community’s ongoing desire to learn more, share what they know, and build on what they have. This included supporting the annual Theme Camp Symposium in San Francisco; academic projects from MIT Media Lab and Finland’s Aalto University; the first academic conference on Burning Man and transformational event cultures which took place in Fribourg, Switzerland; a range of leadership summits across the Regional Network; remote trainings; “Critical Conversations” on top concerns of the Regional Network; and a Regional Event Lead Mentorship Program on playa.
The Man — and the event itself — took on particular significance this year after one of the original builders of the Man and founder of the Burning Man event, Larry Harvey, passed away on April 28. Shockwaves rippled out across the global community, from the hub of people who worked closely with him day in and day out in San Francisco, to people in Regional communities who had never had the opportunity to meet him but felt his role in founding the event that had helped transform their lives.
On June 21, Burners across the globe took a simple invitation to honor Larry’s legacy and turned it into a truly Global Day of Celebration and Gratitude. Closer to Larry’s Bay Area home, the community gathered for a burn at Ocean Beach and again at the Castro Theatre in July for a night of storytelling, performances, music, and art. At the event, the community continued to celebrate and commemorate Larry in their own idiosyncratic ways — from a little red flying saucer and a memorial built by Temple-builder David Best, to the joyous celebration of a New Orleans-style procession to the Temple. The Temple crew, while determined to not turn the Temple into a mausoleum for Larry, included a fitting tribute by Larry’s old friend and co-builder of the first Man, Jerry James. But Larry has had the last word about his life’s passion, as his writings and ideas will live on as foundational texts of Burning Man culture.
image by Stewart Harvey, design by Tanner Boeger
photo by: Jacques de Selliers
Anyone could guess that the swirling open-peaked structure would burn hot and fast, and it did. Flames spread quickly, sending smoke and intentions upward and outward. When the blaze died down, we wandered off into the night, searching for a fitting way to mark the end of the event, and dreaming of ways to keep it meaningful and important the next time."
Of the Temple Burn, John Curley wrote,
"We put the over-under on the first person to yell “Thanks Larry!” at 90 seconds, and we weren’t far off the mark. There were other names shouted in the darkness as well, and, like too many moments during this burn, the sadness was palpable. We lost so many wonderful people this year.
In 2018 Burning Man's Annual Report stated intention to "reinvest in the ethos that sets Burning Man apart from mass-produced events in order to protect and maintain what makes Burning Man unique." Additionally "we are actively evolving our connections to and among art collectives, theme camps, Burners Without Borders chapters, Regional communities, and 90 affiliated events. Through our significant investments in teaching and learning tools, we are furthering a network of social change agents around the globe." And Fly Ranch became an integrative platform supporting community engagement and experimentation.
Read the Regional Report