September 1, 2010 - Burning Man 2010 opens this week, as literally thousands of artists, revellers, musicians and others head to Black Rock City to celebrate what has become one of the desert's more curious and well attended events. Located on BLM land in the middle of the desolate, alkiline playa of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, Burning Man draws 40,000 to 50,000 burners, as the attendees are called, each year. The little town of Gerlach watches a parade of alternatively appareled individuals pass through, and sells gas and groceries to them, as the crowds gather.
This year's theme is "Metropolis: The Life of Cities". Burning Man's site invites an examination of both Black Rock City's unique existence as an ephemeral creation that rises each year, with a transitory population that regroups again and again, and the role of cities in the development and interaction of human kind. Streets are colorfully identified with the names of famous cities such as Athens, Baghdad, Cairo, Detroit, Edinburgh, Florence, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kyoto as well as the usual Esplanade, which demarks the inner circle of the bustling city.
The art installations for 2010 include, among others:
The Aeolian Pyrophonic Hall & Whispering Wall by Capra J'neva, of Portland, OR, described as "A sound installation incorporating a wind harp, fire organ, and the voices of the citizens of Black Rock City, the hall envelops citizens in dappled sunlight during the daytime, shadowy effects at night and surrounds them with sounds evocative of the desert and the Burn."
The Crossroads by Iron Monkeys, described as "a community gathering space... [with] Six blacksmithed, scroll-work columns (a la Iron Monkeys) encircle a 10' stainless steel fountain flowing with both fire and water. "
Doctor Megavolt by Doctor Megavolt, Santa Barbara, CA "Doctor Megavolt is a performance piece where a man in a metal suit interacts with 15 foot long bolts of artificial lightning. Back by popular demand for his 7th Burning Man appearance, Megavolt is legendary on the playa."
The heart of Burning Man is considered by some to be its annual Temple, which is burned on the Sunday after the Man burns, when many of the attendees have already departed the event. This year's temple is called, "The Temple of Flux," and is described as a collection of swooping wooden panels that will create "interior canyons" the will allow for rest and thought. It is the creation of artistic director Jess Hobbs, who received her Masters from the San Francisco Art Institute.
The man is scheduled to burn on September 4th. The event ends on September 6th.
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