Every year, as summer nears its end, the desert town of Black Rock City Nevada for one week gathers a community of progressives, hippies, gypsies and anyone else in search of a visceral experience of total freedom of self expression. The event they come for is Burning Man.
With various and often colorful backgrounds its nomadic inhabitants create an eclectic landscape of communal dwellings, land art, and sculpture.
No rules, HOA’s, or city ordinances exist. The ancient lake bed that houses the event called the playa, is a blank canvas of sorts. Temporary structures, often a mix of geodesic domes and traditional Mongolian yurts are conjured from pure artistic concepts and functionality of desert survival. The week-long homes of Burning Man’s visitors, as well as the elaborate and expansive land art accompanied, transcend the once empty plane of the playa into a primal landscape of free form modern expression.
I’ve yet to make it to Burning Man, and my days of festival stamina are dwindling, but what entices me about the event are scenes that for me reflect ancient nomadic tribes, where community came first, and man’s mark on the land was limited to simple artifacts left behind.
As quick as the town emerges, after the giant man burns on the final night, it disappears. Through an extensive effort of volunteers and festival directors not one piece of trash is left behind, returning the landscape completely to its original state and maintaining Burning Man’s commitment to remaining a Leave No Trace Event.
(image via The Burning Man Project)