Not everyone wants to camp out with 70,000 people in a dusty desert for nine days, but even if attending Burning Man in person isn’t your thing (or you just can’t make it), you can still enjoy the festival’s spectacular art installations through the magic of the internet.
Every year, Burning Man artists bring their A-game to Black Rock City, the temporary community constructed on the playa just for the event. The annual festival has taken place since 1986, and it only seems to grow in scale with each new year.
With a theme of “Metamorphoses,” the 2019 display was as dazzling as ever.
The festival’s website reads: “This year’s theme is a celebration of change, and an exploration of uncertainty. As such it invites a consideration of time; not its circular nature, or its attendant ritual, but in this case the relentless flight of time’s arrow, and an embrace of the elusive now. Memory is fickle, and the future is uncertain. None of us knows what he or she will become, but we can seek to understand where we are at this point in our transformative trajectory, this fleeting chord on the strings of existence.”
Check out these 7 standout features, and find the rest on Instagram under the hashtag #burningman2019.
Temple of Direction — Geordie Van Der Bosch
Burning Man 2019 kicked off on August 28th with the burning of “Temple of Direction,” a large maze-like structure that aims to provide a vessel where people can take or leave whatever they need. “This typically involves death, grief, loss, and pain, but also remembrance and love.”
The Folly — Dave Keene
“The Folly represents an imaginary shantytown of funky climbable towers and old western storefronts, cobbled together from salvaged and reclaimed lumber from original San Francisco Victorians to be reborn in the desert, affording shelter, entertainment, and perspective to the community.”
Stone 27 — Benjamin Langholz
This fun interactive piece was fully climbable, daring attendees to “confront nature and yourself as you journey along 27 stones floating above the Playa. Step into an alternate reality where destructive energy has been harmonized with nature to create moments of physical and mental elevation. Stone 27 finds great inspiration in simplicity, minimalism, and math to create clearness and consciousness in a material world, inviting you to a moment of complete presence.”
Art Park — Olivia Steele
Each year, artist Olivia Steele creates a neon-centric piece. This year’s piece, “Art Park,” is a collection of eleven illuminated works made of hand-bent iron and filled with propane. The piece pictured reads “Wish you were here.”
I.L.Y — Dan Mountain
This 35-foot-tall animatronic arm by Dan Mountain can be manipulated with a system of cables and winches, so festival goers can use it to make larger-than-life gestures. The artist says it’s “meant to engage participants in various visual, physical, and emotional ways.”
Valyrian Steel — Henry Chang
This may not count as an “installation,” but art cars are some of the coolest features Burning Man has to offer, and artist Henry Chang definitely didn’t disappoint with his intricate metallic creation.
The Man — David Best
As the name suggests, Burning Man isn’t complete without setting an enormous effigy ablaze. David Best continued the tradition that began with festival founder Larry Harvey with “The Man.”