Caravansary: Burning Man, 2014. Black Rock City, Nevada USA
From the incredible, massive art installations and roaming “mutant vehicles” and “art cars” to the collective and collaborative community of people hailing from all corners of the world, Black Rock City rises from a prehistoric, alkaline lakebed in Nevada to become a mind blowing, life changing, imaginative sea of possibilities known as Burning Man. Its scope and scale are nearly impossible to imagine much less articulate in a few lines of writing. Black Rock City is an incredible example of how things could be.
The absolute scale of Burning Man was the first shock to my system, followed by the massive confluence of kindness, creativity, collaboration, energy, synchronicity, and intelligence. This isn’t just an “event” nor is Burning Man anything even closely resembling a “festival”. Burning Man stands in an experiential space on it’s own as it’s uniqueness and consciousness are akin to a living, breathing, evolving being.
This was my first journey to this magical experience. For years I had asked friends and acquaintances that had been to Black Rock City, to explain it to me. I would naively ask, “What is Burning Man? What was it like?” Having finally experienced the joy of participating in it myself, I understand why perfect answers to my questions were so difficult for people to deliver. It wasn’t that my friends couldn’t articulate their thoughts, nor was it a question of secrecy. Burning Man is just that unique. It is just that grand and important. It is too amazing for words. One truly has to experience it all to begin to understand. Part of why it is so difficult to explain is, it affects everyone differently. While it’s true there are consistencies and shared experiences, Black Rock City will allow you to explore your own journey to the very core of who you are. Or, perhaps, who you want to be.
Burning Man started as a group of 80 or so people meeting and celebrating on a beach in Northern California. Since it’s creation, it has grown to become the third largest city in Nevada during it’s week long existence led in population only by Reno and Las Vegas. This year, approximately 68,000 people called Black Rock City their home for over a week.
The infrastructure is managed by the Burning Man organization. Construction of roads, safety, and “public works” begin in the weeks leading up to the gates opening for participants. The participants dedicate themselves to the tenants and ideologies of the community, which include radical aliveness, true and free self-expression, self-reliance, art, and participation in a truly collaborative community. Although Burning Man and it’s home, Black Rock City, are roughly a weeklong event culminating with the symbolic burning of the wooden “Man” and Temple at the end of the week, the idea of it all extends far beyond the Playa. Worldwide, a year round culture is growing. This culture is extending the community through groups who’s efforts share and embrace the social fabric and ethos of Burning Man.
I met people from all over the world. Consistently, these travelers shared with me that this is one of the most sought after experiences of the people in their circles of friends and families. From the London DJs I met to the artist from Prague sharing her work on the Playa, Burning Man was full of creative, travelled, talented, and wonderful souls.
I hope you enjoy the photos from this years Burn. If you’re interested in reading more about this amazing experience, I’ve written about my journey and posted a page here on the blog. The links for both are below.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to shake off the constraints of the structured world and take a walk through and around your true self, I’d suggest finding a way to experience Burning Man. I know it will be a stop along your journey that will likely keep you coming back for more and sharing of yourself more for years to come.