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1999

Aug 30th - Sept 6th

Theme:

Wheel of Time

Population:

23,000

Burning Man 1999-2000
Man on 14' platform with haybales

  • First Saturday Burn
  • Blue and Red neon
  • 1st L2K ring around Man (Tim Black)
  • Four wood spheres around Man (Orbicular Affect)
  • Jim Mason's three enormous fire cannons shot flames 120 feet into the sky on Burn night

In 1999, our theme was "The Wheel of Time," and for the first time ever, the newly-formed Art Department decided to map the art in a theme-based pattern. We created a map that represented a clock face, with the Man at the center, and twelve major installations mapped at the hour locations just off the Esplanade.

On Friday night we staged a series of performances, starting at 6 PM, at the 6:00 position. Dana Albany’s Bone Tree led participants around the clock face, where a performance awaited them every hour, on the hour. Of course by about 3AM it was freezing, and the weather put an end to our grand cavalcade of performances. We did learn, however, that arranging the art installations in some sort of logical pattern added theatrical significance and prominence to the art.

Christine "Ladybee" Kristen - Placing Art in Black Rock City
A thriving group of established and just arriving Themecamps graced Black Rock City including; Antarctica, Artists Republic of Fremont (ARFCamp), Art Car Camp, bianca, Camp Alien Love Nest, !camp ATARI!, Chef Juke's Blue Light Bistro, The Church of Mez, The Costco Soulmate Trading Outlet, Disturbia, Drano, Eggchair Camp, Glitter Camp (in the Heart of Gigsville), The Illumination Village, Kids Camp, Lake Lahontan Yacht Club, Magic Glasses Camp, Mystic Krewe of Satyrs, Oregon Country Fair Embassy, Picasso Camp, Picasso Camp, Portland Cacophony & Disgruntled Postal Workers, Postmen of the Playa, Spanky's Fantasy Island, Spock Mountain Research Labs, Temple of Atonement, VW Bus Camp and Xara.
Returning to Black Rock City after a years absence, it sometimes feels as if one had never left the desert. Within this changeless world time seems suspended. We build the same city, we burn the same Man, and by these actions we are changed. Ritual time is cyclical time and quite unlike the ordinary measure that divides our daily lives.
Armed with a digital camera, surveying equipment, tons of food, several computers, lots of clean socks, boxes of tools, sleeping bags, toilet paper, hats, gloves, sun glasses, chapstick, two-way radios, several pairs of boots, a case of congnac, a case of Tequila, a case of tequila mixer and a truckload of beer the Department of Public Works established camp at the 80-acres outside of Gerlach, Nevada.
Ticket price: $65, $80, $90, $100
  • Theme: Wheel of Time.
  • Street signs incorporate the theme of time. Annular Streets run from 2:00 - 10:00 and Radial Streets are named after the planets.
  • The Man was the center of a giant clock face with an art installation at each hour mark. On Friday night, a grand procession traveled around the Wheel of Time, led by Dana Albany's Bone Tree, which played eerie music and was the focal point of a performance at the 6:00 mark, led by Father Time, perch high atop the Bone Tree. From there we moved around the clock, viewing performances at each hour mark, including 7:00; Woodpussy "Burial In Space", 8:00; LA Cacophony "Small After All World", 9:00; Kal Spelletich and Seemen "Industrial Zone", joined by Austin Richard mobile Tesla Coil "Electrobot", and Christian Ristow's flaming machines, 10:00; Kunst Stoff Dance Theatre, 11:00; Mark McGothigan "Rome Built-in-a-Day", 12:00; Kymric Smythe "Big Bang", 1:00; Mr. Bear "Battle of the Millenium", 2:00; Steve Heck "2", 3:00; Pepe Ozan opera "la Mystere de Papa Loko", 4:00; Peri Pfeninger's, 5:00; Steven Raspa "Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain and Porta-Temple".
  • Many theme installations occupied the inner Wheel, including Chris de Monterey's "Pyramid Camera Obscura", Bob Stahl's "Flying Dinosaurs", Larry Breed's "Chaotick", Troy Van Berry's "Hestia 2525", Robert Becker's "Chronoschizophilia", Ismist's "IDIOM", EErik Alschuler's "JAnus", StephanieAndrew's "Hall of Possible Selves" and Antenna Theater's "Sands of Time".
If you think the art of Burning Man is all about pyrotechnics and welding, you need to spend some time with the Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain and Porta-Temple. You may have seen it rounding up the Processional last night; a message of hope to close the funeral for the 20th Century. A white box with the words hope, pray, wish and dream painted on each face supports two white plastic hemispheres to float over the playa...

The Futura is the brainchild of Steve Raspa, who made the Sacred Prayer Grove and Lottery in 1998. Aaron (Wolf Baum), Simon Clark and a team of volunteers spent two months helping Steve build the fountain in San Francisco's Cell Space....

A woman's voice recites messages.. in the future, we discover, everyone will be issues with one orange ticket. Children will scrape their knees on the sound barrier. Small spelling errors will lead to the downfall of nations. Aaron says "We want to make people think about all possible futures. Each bubble is a possible future-- that's one way of looking at it."

Rachel Nevada - Black Rock Gazette, September 4, 1999
Eggchair Steve's 1999 sticker
Performances included Sisters Kitty and Dana looking on as another sinner against the rodents confesses his crimes at Ladybee's Shrine of the Dessicated Rats.

Black Rock City 1999 was a year that began with heavy windstorms and included bitingly cold desert nights on the playa. “The Wheel of Time” was our art theme and our streets were named after planets in our solar system — Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, Mercury — and divided by annular streets spanning from 2 o’clock to 10 o’clock.

The Man stood at the center of our living timepiece and was surrounded by an inner clock that was used to showcase large-scale art and performances related to our theme. Divided into hemispheres and quadrants surrounding the Man, all theme-related art was placed as it pertained to our current timeframe, our immediate past and our perceived future.

1999 marked the first year that the Burn was scheduled for Saturday night, instead of the usual Sunday, to allow participants additional time to clean up and leave no trace before their departure. Before the Man was ignited on Saturday, it was Jim Mason’s three enormous fire cannons that shot flames 120 feet into the sky which warmed the faces and bodies of the gathered crowd. These were the same faces that brought over 320 registered theme camps and 4 large villages to the event.

Dave Marr 1999 Event Archive

You may die here, but you'll never be so alive.
- Danger Ranger
One year a friend of mine said, "hey you want to go to Burning Man?"

What the hell is that?

I had no idea what it was, got there and went, wow, this is great, but the music sucks. It was pretty much rave music or nothing. So I came back from Burning Man that year and told my friends, hey, you gotta go check this camping trip out.

One of the reasons I wanted to come back out here is because I had a good time, but I wanted to bring decent music out to the desert.

The aesthetic of the club I run, Death Guild, is pretty jarring and clashing with the existing culture that was out here. We dress in black, we carry knives, we have big scary machines, we're completely contradictory to the soft and fuzzy free love hippie environment of the rave culture. So the following year more of my friends came out, .. and we started researching what we would need to do to build a dome for people to fight in.

David King -- Death Guild Beyond Burning Man - SpikeTV, Director Steve Farrell
Invented by "The Wizard," Tim Black, Lights 2000 (known as L2K) is an interactive installation first exhibited at Burning Man in 1999.
Participants at Burning Man 1999 were also witness to "Krystal" a massive nude group photograph by artist Spencer Tunick and the introduction of "L2K" a large circle of 2000 lights buried in the ground around the Man — who stood at 50ft. The playa was also home to an array of theme related performances and installation artwork that included Dana Albany's "Bone Tree", LA Cacophony's "Small After All World", Austin Richard's mobile Tesla Coil "Electrobot", Kymric Smythe's "Big Bang", Pepe Ozan "la Mystere de Papa Loko" opera, and Steven Raspa "Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain and Porta-Temple".

Tuesday night, Capitalist Pig Camp was escorted out of Burning Man after several complaints were lodged against them .. The rules of Black Rock City are quite simple. Anything goes as long as you take care o your own survival and do not interfere with another's experience. ... you cannot do anything that infringes on the freedom of other participants.

Complaints continued about Capitalist Pig Camp. Four women were in tears, and one neighbor threatened violence. "The worst was the tagging," said [Ranger] Big Bear. "They tagged the Man and other peoples' art with spray paint. The decision came to evict them when they made sexual comments to a twelve-year-old girl on Tuesday."

"They tried to argue that this was their art, and that they were expressing themselves artistically. This is the most free city on the planet. I have not problem with bad art, but these actions were aggressively ant-social."... Says Big Bear, "They basically evicted themselves."

Anders Sturgeen-- Black Rock Gazette, Thursday, September 2, 1999

Larry Harvey's Response

We use self-expression to create a sense of community. These folks were verbally assaulting other people. It's not enough to simply express yourself. That expression should take the form of a gift. It is meant to be shared. These people were intentionally imposing their behavior on others. They sexually harassed a little girl and defaced other people's art. That's the opposite of a gift.

2000 Summer Newsletter

The Art of Burning Man at Bruka Theater Gallery
Reno, Nevada July 9-31, 1999
Curated by LadyBee and Jeogh Bullock

Our second exhibition featured several Reno artists as well as some of the San Francisco artists in our first show. Reno artists included Troy Van Berry (paintings and ceramics), Garth Elliot (mixed media sculpture), Jeff Johnson (neon), Terry Gardner, and Rocket Bob and Slim Sirnes (art cars). Reno photographers included Kiley Howard, Pete Slingland, and Brian Smith. The world's largest interactive Etch-a-Sketch display was installed by Steve Jacobs.

Bay Area artists were Mr. Lucky, Kal Spelletich, Pepe Ozan; photographers were Super Snail, Manso Manso, Maggie Hallahan, James Comstock, Gerry Gropp, Eric Slomanson, Barb Traub, Holly Kreuter, Stewart Harvey, and Leo Nash.

Mutant Vehicles

Oh My Gawd! by Harrod Blank who brought one of the first Art Cars to Burning Man. Image Zsolt Krajcsik

... starting in 1997 only art cars were allowed to drive the streets of BRC. At first, you could drive if you were driving an art car, and if you were driving something else, you were asked to stop. After a couple years of this, it became apparent that a little more organization and planning was needed, and the Department of Mutant Vehicles (DMV), then a part of the Rangers organization, was formed.

Jewelz Cody, having been in the Houston Art Car scene for many years already, took on the task of heading the DMV. In 1999, the DMV used its first stickers to license art cars, which were the iconic round BRC stickers.

Wally Bomgaars - The Department of Mutant Vehicles
In 1998, the "techno ghetto" was no more. By 1999, when the final Community Dance camp was staged in Landon Elmore's recreation of the Barbury Triangle Crop Circle, the sounds of psytrance, breakbeats, tribal house etc had become flush with the soundscape of Burning Man.
Burning Time: Begoggled in the Mega-Vibe @ Burning Man by Graham St John


EDM in Black Rock City

  • Lost at Last
  • Tsuyoshi
  • hallucinogen
  • shpongle
  • x-dream
  • kode IV
  • bufo
  • nick taylor
  • dj teebee
Other participant performance on the playa included
  • Magic Opticians present The Trance Tunnel
  • 11:11 Show – Live Acid Jazz Performance
  • THE SCOTT TURCHIN BAND!
  • The Fandango Glockenspiel
  • Temple of WaterBoy Free Baptism and Hose-down