Burning Man

Mostly I just wanted an excuse to share with you this wonderful installation from this year’s Burning Man:

Wired pic burning man

Provided by the Underwire blog at Wired, the former covering the event.

“When people stand under it and see a big truck hovering over you, it should give a sense of danger and fear and that something is wrong,” Ross says. The piece also provides a real sense of constriction from the oil economy as attendees climb up the inside the tankers, crawling through what looks and feels like a truck’s filthy undercarriage. They gingerly feel their way up and down through random cross pipes and structural corners, trying not to step on the hands of people below. The occasional plastic plant wrapped among the metal summons the trapped aura of nature into the cramped trucks.

It isn’t that I don’t trust the architects – but you’ve Buckley’s of getting me climbing in that thing. The installation “Crude Awakening” is very good, also.

underwire burning man crude awakening

The interesting part (besides the big trucks) is this year’s controversy (premature Man-burning, and, yes: that’s a petrol tanker truck underneath – fucking idiot), as well as the green theme (also lightly mocked in that Valeywag link as “corporate sponsor appeasement).

The theme, while good enough in a world under the rule of Commodification Rides With Identification (not, as many believe, Cash Rules Everything Around Me. If you’re living by that one, you’ve lost, you sucker), and therefore where ethical consumption is as popular as it is meaninglessly ill-defined, deserves some context. Such as what happens at night-time:

underwire burning man night 1

underwire burning man night 2

And of course our friends with the truck:

In the Burning Man spirit of art on the fly, how the piece will even leave the playa, much less where it might live afterward, is still up in the air, Ross says.

I’m just saying: merely being able to clean up a desert after you’ve been there hardly means you’re the environment’s BFF. This event uses, as said, petrol trucks, cranes, etc. It’s generating waste which will be disposed of the same as that of everybody else. Lights burn through the night (and those sure looked like tungsten, rather than ‘efficient’ or LED). I’m not criticising the value of what’s there, or suggesting people are wasting resources on their art (last head count was 44,000, after all). I think Burning Man is very cool. I just think calling the theme “Green” gives the wrong impression that somehow the event itself is “Green”.


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