As The Inquisitr reported yesterday, northwestern Nevada’s sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll freedom festival Burning Man was delayed after torrential rain made the playa — the flat space in the Black Rock Desert where the festival takes place — impossible to drive on. Early Tuesday morning, burners were finally able to enter the hippie mecca after spending a few days around the Washoe County area enjoying sites like the Pyramid and Tahoe lakes, reported local paper The Reno Gazette-Journal.
But while the Black Rock Desert boasts natural beauty as well, it’s really the fantastic art installations that have made the festival iconic throughout the world. Every year, a cult of thousands of burners make trips from every corner of the earth — Russia, Brazil and France alike — just to see what Black Rock City has to offer every year. Of course, that meant many people were left homeless when Burning Man’s delays kept doors closed for the entire first day of the festival.
This year, burners have a temple unlike any other before. The Pier Group — who created the wooden sculpture — raised more than $50,000 through a Kickstarter campaign to fund the work. Below, lead artist Matthew Schultz speaks about the spiritual and narrative concept behind the work — based on the ideas of communication and fellowship that have made Burning Man such a hit that its delays yesterday became international news.
Of course, the Embrace temple is just one of hundreds of installation art pieces that will cover the desert plain during the next week, some of which are funded by ticket revenue. Artists from all over the country will be sharing their work, including some that have already been displayed in downtown Reno, such as The Bike Bridge — a sculpture created entirely from unusable bicycle parts.
While complaints have abounded in the past few years that the festival has become too commercialized and lost its heart, its popularity has also achieved wonders for the talent and notoriety of its guests. Famous DJs play in one corner, chic fashion designers trot out cutting-edge playa wear on the next — but every single burner collected together is still dwarfed by the massive art structures that pepper the desert landscape this week.
Unfortunately, Burning Man’s remote location will cause delays of a different kind — outsiders won’t have a chance to see a lot of what’s happening on the playa until its attendees make their way back to the nearby city of Reno to enjoy internet access. However, Burning Man’s popularity has at least brought documentaries and pre-burn photos for those of us who are much further away from the playa than a one-day delay.
[Photo via Embrace Project, Kirsten Berg and Josh Haywood]