added live from the playa, Sept 1, 2011 – well a girl is entitled to change her mind
If you are looking for images from Burning Man 2011, try these:
Sunset Views from BRC 2011
Onplaya – Images from Burning Man 2011
The Spectrum of Burning Man Art
After five years at Burning Man, I have decided it is time to take a break. Each year has been a different experience – all were wonderful, all had elements of sheer amazement. But with familiarity has come a lessening sense of appreciation, so this year I am staying home and letting the longing and excitement rebuild.
And since I will be home, wishing that I was back out on the playa after all, it seems a good time to look back. The computer will be unthreatened by dust depredation, there is no ephemeral city to explore by bike, no nighttime sprinkled with the floating lights, no deep playa scattered with art installations, no center camp with dancers singers comedians, fashion shows and parades to hide in when the air is full of dust. No neighborhood which fills up day by day until it starts to empty, the street signs gone, then the landmarks, then finally camp is packed and you too are gone.
No exodus. For that I can only be grateful. At the end of the week, lines of vehicles crawling toward the single exit, first 12 lanes, then ten and so on til there is only one. Funneled out to keep the traffic on the main road safe, but agony. Two hours, three, or longer.
Most of all I will wonder what art works were most memorable. and what new interactive installations will be the most involving. and what my neighborhood would have been like.
But it has become too much the same year after year. Without a retrospective valuing of what has gone before it has stopped making sense to me. I want to remember Big Rig Jig, and the spinning monkeys (Homouroboros), and The Wedge – the astroturf covered super slide that claimed so many road rash victims.
I want to remember the 1 am burning of the oil derrick (Crude Awakening), how I fell asleep during the fireworks buildup, then again while the structure burned and burned and burned. How I finally gave it up and instead of sleeping on the playa climbed on my bike and rode the several miles home. How the derrick finally fell and when it did it fell directly toward where I had been. I would have been in the exactly most exciting place to be, except that I’d still have slept through it. The people sitting around me would have screamed, in fear and delight, and I’d have awakened, confused, and too late to see it. ‘You should have seen what just happened!!‘ Yes, I’d have been there and still missed it.
Maybe that should be the mantra for Burning Man. I was right there and still missed it. Because you will. There is so much going on, so continuously, day and night, over such a large space. For such a short time. There will be things you saw, but far more you only heard about. You will go seeking the most interesting events and installations, and sometimes you will find them. Other times you will pass in the night, or in the dust storm.
With the time freed up, with the power of the wish to be there, with an accumulation of photos and memories, I can recall those five years – what made each great, or notso.
Time to share with those friends who wonder about the event but have not yet dragged themselves out there, for the joy and the hardship, the creativity, the unique experience that is Burning Man.
The mind is a wonderful thing to change.
Burning Man 2011 Update
First Images – live from the Playa
Onplaya 2011 – Images