Burning Man - Backstage

Update 10/94

Nearly 2000 people attended Burning Man this past Labor Day Weekend. A significant share of these participants were attracted to the Black Rock Desert from the Internet. Why this should be so may constitute a commentary on the character of cyberspace.

"Black Rock is the physical equivalent of cyberspace", says Larry Harvey, director of the project, "consider the conditions: a featureless flat plain devoid of any landmark. We construct the context. It's a virtual environment." Harvey sees other parallels, "It doesn't matter where you live or what you drive. The context of the normal world is left behind. In its diversity, equality, and freedom, Black Rock's like a Gold Rush town, the ultimate frontier settlement. That's also the allure of interactives on the Net."

Harvey believes Burning Man is destined to become a kind of "cyber-spacestation". "We've got to use this new medium to precipitate people into actual communities; places where it's possible to reconnect with Nature, and with one another in a concrete way. Immediacy, equality, and freedom; yes! Anonymity; no! We're offering Burning Man as the first great space-station of the Internet. We think it's time to come home."

Future plans for Burning Man include a large-scale exhibition at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on July 15-16, 1995. Fire and water installations will combine with interactive performance to evoke the experience of the Black Rock Festival. Come prepared to participate. The next performance of the Burning Man will occur at Black Rock Desert in Nevada, on August 31-September 4, 1995.

Burning Man is also readying a long-term project specific to the Internet. The plan is to construct a series of burning effigies. These sculptures will be ignited at sundown along a meridian that passes through the Black Rock Desert. The goal is to completely encircle the planet by the year 2000. The event will be organized on the Internet and monitored live.

For more information:

Burning Man Project, P.O. Box 420572, San Francisco, CA 94142-0052
(415) 985-7471