Nevada Desert Art Festival
Focus on Living in the City
Part communal art festival, part anarchic gathering of like-minded trippers, part celebratory ritual of free expression, the annual “Burning Man” event is under way on the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
Since 1986, this weeklong party has been increasing its countercultural profile, attracting tens of thousands of people from all over the world, who spend the 100-plus degrees days and chilly desert nights creating sculptures, live theater, performances, music and pretty much every form of artistic expression on the book and outside the box.
It all ends Sept. 6, with the burning of the giant wooden effigy that names the festival. For some of those who attended it, it can be a transformational week, akin to a mystical life-changing experience. For others, it’s an enduring test for mind and body, with its 24/7 routine exposure and cohabitation with thousands of strangers and lack of running water. And yet, for others, it’s all a big party, but not without strict rules of conduct.
Everything is disassembled, destroyed and recycled and a crew of volunteers makes sure the area is wiped clean after everybody’s else is gone. The Burning Man is very likely the biggest event of its kind in the world today, and this year, the overall theme is “Metropolis,” said to be a meditation on the meaning of urban life and the civilization’s life in big cities.