oh my would i ever! ive been telling this story for a few weeks now… i would love for more people to know this story…
This year was my first Burn and i was more excited than i had ever been for anything in my life. I had early arrival with my dad, because he is a Ranger (Pottymouth is his name) and had Saturday and Sunday to really soak up all that i could. One of those nights i was able to trek out to the Temple, still unfinished but very close enough, with my father and just took it all of its wonder and grandeur. I had seen videos of past temples, but this one blew those away.
So the Burn began on Monday, and i had such a great time meeting people, dancing, biking, and looking at all of the beautiful art. I, of course, being a young adult, i decided to make Tuesday night just a huge party night. So, long story short, i started drinking early in the day and all throughout the night. I adventured out by myself to the Temple of Boom, being one of my favorite sound stages, all the way from 6:30 and Initiation. I began to not feel good at all while dancing, and it was obvious to those around me. Suddenly, a girl came to me and began to dance, because i clearly looked like a fool and wasn’t being myself! She then asked how i was feeling, and i bluntly said NOT GOOD! She and her friend then went out of there way t take me back to their camp, which happened to be the Enclave… they were fire spinners! They gave me water and a place to hang until i felt better. We happened to stay up all through the night, talking about life, telling stories, etc; Then the girl who “saved my life” as i like to say asked if i wanted to watch the sunrise that morning at the Temple. My dad has always warned me that the first time i go to the Temple i had to be with someone (without explanation, of course) so i lucked out. Not only had i not seen a Playa sunrise, i had yet to be in the Temple. So, then began our journey to the Temple. The orange glow really made it that much more beautiful, and i was excited. The second i entered in through one of the ramps, it hit me like a rock. All of the people, all of the messages, the sorrow, the joy, the thoughts, the hate, all right there in front of me. I sat with the girl and just began to read. It was amazing how much these stories fit into my life, and i began to feel this overwhelming spiritual transition happening within me. That I am not a religious man, but that morning, reading those messages of loss and hopefulness for everybody in the world, something happened within me that made me want to live my life better than i had my entire life. As the sun came up, Cleopatra (my savior) and I just stood there, embracing each other and crying tears of happiness and sorrow. Once it was up we walked back to my camp and introduced her to my family. She and I are still great friends in the default world, but i thank her for being the one who gave me the true Burning Man experience i was so longing for. It changed me for the better, and i will never be the same person again.
-from a follower.
Temple of Transition, Burning Man 2011. Shot from the inside of main tower. Photographer unknown (but would like to give credit…so if you know lemme know…)
Burning man 2011, Rites of Passage
Driving out to temple in the art car
Dust storm over Burning Man
Three temples I’ve visited recently:
Anish Kapoor @ Gladstone
Sanford Biggers @ MASS MoCA
The Temple of Transition @ Burning Man 2011
The Temple Of Transition - Burning Man 2011
Images from The International Arts Megacrew (www.internationalartsmegacrew.com) and the Temple of Transition Facebook Page.
The Temple of Transition sat on the playa like a white glowing magnet. Burners flowed to and from it at all hours like pilgrims. It was truly the heart of Burning Man 2011. A collaborative project by the International Arts Megacrew, the structure rose 12 stories above the playa and consisted of 5 towers. The central tower contained the Gamelatron, an electronic room-sized gamelon. Each percussive instrument and striker was networked to a central computer which played original compositions commissioned specifically for the Temple of Transition. The music played all day and night and reverberated inside the central tower drawing visitors inside.
The Gamelatron installed inside the Temple of Transition’s central tower
Once inside it became common practice to lie flat letting the music wash over you. While the music is not “live”, it is alive. The gongs and bells actually worked to animate the space and surround the listener in an envelope of sound. As a result of the architecture and sound scape the emotional energy in that room was very heavy. People had come great distances, overcome many hardships and carried many heavy burdens to be there at that moment and they released that energy into the space. Tears were common and one could not simply observe without being moved.
Burners gather inside the central tower to meditate on the music and the energy
The tradition at any Burning Man Temple is to bring your burdens and prayers and requests for healing and write them on, or attach them to, the structure to be carried up with everyone else’s in a great community cleansing conflagration. Once again it’s impossible to experience these items and words and not be moved.
Burners attach items that symbolize the transitions their lives are making
This is much more than a sculpture, it is a true Temple made by artists for a creative community. Its function is spiritual but, unlike religion, there is no doctrine of the spirit and the only rule is that you respect others. You must remain conscious and allow everyone to experience the temple in their own way.
There is no capitalism inherent in the piece. It has been funded by all Burners through their ticket price so it is community supported. Perhaps it is like a performance piece or event. But what separates it from any other art piece I’ve experienced is that at the end of a long week of celebration and renewal, the Temple is burned. It is an incredibly moving sight. The firelight illuminates the playa and all who gather there in the darkness and binds them in that experience forever.
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