The Burning Man



During the past Christmas holidays, I’d become as over zealous as ever with my decorating. I started with the living room thinking that it would make a sufficient statement. Moreover, there’s the memory of all the years that I got carried away with my quest to out do my last year of yuletide, and the pain of taking the art down.

While flying from the U.S. to Madrid last summer, I sat beside a guy from Israel who was returning home from the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. He explained that after a week of creating and exhibiting art installations, every piece of art was burned down. You could take pictures and videos, but you were not allowed to save any part of your creation.

Burning Man

The week-long event now attracts tens of thousands of participants to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert where they form a temporary experimental community known as Black Rock City. As it has expanded, Burning Man has been forced to adopt certain official rules and policies for safety reasons, but the essential tenets on which the event was founded (immediacy, participation, decommodification, civic and environmental responsibility, radical self-reliance and self-expression) remain the same. Art-making and performance are core components of the Burning Man festival. Each year participants at Burning Man create and perform works inspired by a given theme (recent themes have included: “Evolution,” “American Dream,” “The Green Man,” and “Hope and Fear: The Future”). Free from the confines of the traditional art world, the collaborative environment of the Burning Man has been fertile ground for outsider and visionary art. A permanent organization, The Black Rock Arts Foundation, now offers grants for artists, sponsors interactive art projects at Burning Man, and supports art that carries the values of Burning Man culture (e.g., impermanence, experimentation, and inclusiveness) into the broader community. The Burning Man effigy is an iconic reminder to keep the creative “fires” burning within long after the event has come to a close. Credit:

Christmas 2013-4

So, my Christmas decorations continued to grow throughout the house and extended outdoors. Each room had it’s own installation, one more over the top than the next. I actually commented that “it looks like a Christmas bomb went off in my house.” I did all of this knowing that the ultimate fate of my work, like the Burning Man, was it’s own destruction after a few weeks of enjoyment.

But the real enjoyment is in the creating. I’m challenging myself to achieve a goal that surpasses what I know I can do already. I’m motivated to prove something to myself and keep my own creative fires burning within.


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