Do you ever feel there’s something…. missing, from your day to day interaction? Not quite as honest or fulfilling as you’d think sometimes, right? When it seems everyone just wants something from you, and you just want something from anyone else, life loses its color. But I know of a place where the color explodes. It transforms into the most unique artwork and fashion I’ve ever seen.
Ever heard of Burning Man? Been There? Even if you have, keep reading. Come, take a trip down Cyberpunk Lane, where everything is radical. Let’s take a trip to Black Rock Desert in the mind’s eye for a moment – become a fellow “burner” as we look at 5 reasons why Burning Man is considered the greatest trip of all time.
In the Middle of Black Rock Desert, “Anything Seems like Everything”
With a timeline that reaches all the way back to 1986, Burning Man took its current festival form when the founders, at the behest of the local police in their hometown San Francisco, moved the event to the Nevada desert: Black Rock. From far away, it’s about as unforgiving and barren a landscape you can imagine; it literally looks like the backdrop for a Mad Max movie.
In this, the attendees find all their unique artwork has a blank canvas – the entire desert landscape. The Ideas that spark from this nothingness, and transform this wasteland into a neon cyberpunk dreamland, are nothing short of remarkable. By following the ethos espoused by the 10 principles of Burning Man, it seems the rarest, most unique, decommodified kinds of artwork find an oasis to thrive in. Burning now has regional partners in major cities like New York, San Francisco, and even Chicago; this keeps the Burning Man ethos alive year-round, until everyone can gather together in Black Rock to Build and Burn the statue once more.
Radically-Engaging Artwork, Unique Sculptures, Robotic Structures, and the Greatest Cyberpunk Installations Ever
The most eye-popping, aesthetically incredible part of Burning Man are how the artwork installations, unique statues, and robotic installations light up the Black Rock skyline. It’s truly a sight to behold, and many have never, ever seen anything like it.
And after they leave, they’ll never see anything like it ever again.
Because of the “Decommodified” nature of Burning Man, consider the artwork so rare that you will probably never see their designs again – it’s one of a kind. Check this link for a list of the best art installations in the history of Burning Man.
The Greatest Electro Dance Part of All Time
Apparently, music was not a significant part of Burning for the first 20 years or so; in the mid 90s, electro was accepted as a fitting backdrop to the desert celebration. Now, it seriously looks like the greatest dance party ever. There are no limits to the kinds of installations that get put up to house different DJs and genres. Imagine if Coachella’s tents didn’t suck and had way more innovative artwork that they currently do.
Point is, at Burning Man, you get down to dance under the prettiest lightshow you’ve ever seen.
And the fashion – WOW! We can’t even get into how incredible and varied the fashion is; some people look like sexy desert bandits, others like a physical manifestation o EDM. Some dress more casually (think summer dress and some tights), and even wear formal attire the last day as if they are attending a cocktail party! Needless to say, if you need some fashion inspiration, check out what people are wearing are Burning Man!
A Place to Properly Mourn
Burning Man makes a real effort to not just become some mindless party where everyone boozes for a week; some of the unique artwork installations are for pure fun and awe, but others are done for more solemn purposes. In 2000, David Best and Jack Haye made a memorial, called the Temple of the Mind, to their friend Michael Hefflin; he had recently passed away from a motorcycle accident. In 2001, the artwork installation was renamed “The Temple of Tears,” and an annual tradition was started. Now, the temple is a mainstay of the Burning Man community, where everyone comes to reflect on how to further find meaning in the fashion, artwork, and life they pursue outside of Black Rock.
A truly great trip doesn’t just talk about all the fun; it helps you brace for the challenges we must endure when we come back from it.
A Place to Start Anew
However, these temples are not all dreary! Think about it – after everyone gets a chance to properly mourn or reflect on important people and moments in their life, the temple is burned with the Burning Man at the end of the festival. Burners say this is a very moving and cleansing experience, to watch something you built, that housed such emotion for you, char into the desert. However, the power is in how it reminds us just how fleeting our existence can be; carrying that lesson forward leaves a permanent imprint on many attendees of Burning Man.
Meaning can seem rare to come by, and it is coveted like water. Like we said, Burning Man has regional affiliates in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and more! In fact, the most recent “B.U.R.N” events took place in Sacramento, Saskatchewan, New Mexico and even France! Cyberpunk has gone international, and its beautiful to see this kind of radically-expressive artwork thrive in all corners of the world. Cheers mates, and hail to the Burning Man!