Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bringing It - Constructive Chaos

photo courtesy Cayce Pia
There is no marketing, there are no logos, no money changes hands. In fact there really is nothing but dust, mountains, sky.

Every year since 1986 what has grown to be thousands of individuals, campers gather for one week in September to build “Black Rock City” Nevada, inhabit the community, and then burn the offerings down in a celebration of creativity, with an appreciation of the impermanence of all the things we cling to.

 Given the inhospitable environment of the remote desert, the grand experiment that is Burning Man is a feat that is far more than the big party scenario which predominates the media focus.  This year 65,000 people brought in 780, 000 gallons water (1.5 gallons per person/day). And, they took it away along with every spec of detritus per the credo requirement “leave no trace”. The "multi-family residential " footprint  is the size of San Francisco.

It is in that context that the art and the dwellings that are established there so briefly, become especially glorious spectacles of hope and possibility.

Theme camps, art cars and large scale art installations arrive at the destination independently
to create a unique and spontaneous experience.

And then the party begins...

Following are just a few samples of installations from contributing artists at Burning Man 2015. Each piece was designed and delivered by the artist, who, with or without a grant manifested the scope of the project. Each piece was created and installed in the desert to a private audience of 65,000 people, with no attributing signage or explanation
Totem of Confessions by Michael Garlington  /  photo courtesy Cayce Pia

Detail  Totem of Confessions by Michael Garlington / photo courtesy Cayce Pia

             The 50 ft. chapel, built from paper and wood, recalls ancient Cambodian architecture. The exterior is covered in black and white images taken with a 4x5 Graflex large format camera,  animals with halos, portraits reminiscent of a Victorian speakeasy, succulents, flowers and shells. Its main portal was a pair of doors inspired by the sculptor Rodin’s famous Gates of Hell, opening to an inner chamber. An interior “confessional” featured tiny rooms , hundreds of small found sculptures including religious statues, hundreds of  plaster casts from  rubber molds , dioramas, gilded elements.

              At 48 feet tall, mesh covering a geometric grid, this collaboration of sculptor
Marco Cochrane and dancer Deja Solis
explores and expresses  the embodiment
of being a whole person, female, radiating her energy into the world. Having
witnessed at a very young age the violence inflicted on his childhood friend, Marco
was moved to create a series of empowering sculptures, this the third in the series.

             "Art can illuminate the human condition and be a catalyst to social change ...My hope is to expand human consciousness and inspire men and women to take action to end violence against women, beginning a healing process that will make room for women’s voices, thus allowing all of us to live fully and thrive." 

              Another aspect to this stunning piece, is that she actually breathes.