This year, the festival is again spread across six regions, all in the familiar desert theme, surrounded by sandy hills that add to the atmosphere and give more of a feel that the event is connected with the real life Burning Man festival.
A press preview day was held on Thursday October 17th, and I was one of those invited to attend. Circumstances meant I missed the initial meet and greet, and as the rest of the press had zoomed off to explore with their guides courtesy of the DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles!), I opted for a more relaxed wander.
In keeping with the 2013 Burning Man event, this year’s theme is Cargo Cult, and while there was no absolute on builders having to create something in accordance with the theme, many have chosen to, and have thus offered-up many different interpretations of the cult, some familiar and some not-so-familiar. So when you visit you’ll find a wide and intriguing variety of flying saucers, aircraft and more!
One of the more interesting aspects of the festival is that while the events of World War Two are often referred to as the start of the Cargo Cult, like many such global “movements”, there are many and varied instances of its alleged first occurrence, and this is reflected in many of the builds presented at BURN2. As such, it’s really worthwhile taking time out to read-up on the Juried Art entries, all of which offer a comprehensive description to the pieces, and which point to the wide range of inspiration for the builds.
Pelucida Lusch, Pat Perth and ZigsZags, for example, have collaborated together to create Notre Dame des Beaux Paquets, about which they note:
Cargo cults are far from being an obscure, colonial, Melanesian belief system. ‘Notre Dame des Beaux Paquets’ is, in essence, an allegory about our fragile notion of ‘beauty’, our obsessive pursuit of consumerist redemption as well as the limited imagination and the unsustainable economic structure which supports it … both in this world and another.
It’s a compact, but impressive build, a tomb with an inscription from Shelley’s Ozymandias, from which rises a striking figure.
As well as the Cargo Cult themed builds, there are influences from across the world to be found. European, American, South American, Oriental …. they are all here, demonstrating the rich melting pot of culture BURN2 represents.
In keeping with the overall theme, The Man this year sits atop a flying saucer, with burns scheduled for Saturday October 26th. The Temple also keeps with the theme, but in a very different way, and will burn on Sunday October 27th.
The Temple has always been one of the major attractions for me at BURN2 events, and this one – which I understand underwent something of a revamp during the build process – is no exception; my images here don’t really convey its beauty, it really should be seen.
It is in some ways unfair to single-out particular builds at an event like this, where everyone has worked hard to present something everybody can enjoy during the festival, but I have to confess there were a number I was instinctively drawn to, and I am going to mention two here.
As a long-time admirer of Ultraviolet Alter, her installation was a must see for me. It’s an evocative piece, richly layered in both imagery and meaning. As ever, the fusion of visuals and audio has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Lauren Bentham, like Ultraviolet Alter, offers-up an immersive build to explore. I particularly like builds which do this at these kind of events because the fact that they are closed-in means that everything else cannot easily intrude, so there are no distractions for the eye.
Lauren’s piece, Violaceous Forest, is also appropriate to the time of year, having a strong Halloween flavour to it.
BURN2 will feature live performances and DJs throughout the week, making it a good venue for those looking for entertainment. As noted above, there will be the traditional burnings of The Man and The Temple towards the end of the festival, as well as a range of events going on through the week – such as the Lamplighter’s procession.
This will take place every day of the festival from the 19th through to the 25th. Starting at the Lamplighter Camp, commemorating John Frum and the original Cargo Cult, the procession will walk the length of BURN2 to the Temple for dancing and drumming. All are invited to join, with the procession commencing at the following times SLT:
- 19:00: October 19th-22nd and 25th
- 16:00: October 23rd
- 02:00: October 24th
BURN2 is an extension of the Burning Man festival and community into the world of Second Life. It is an officially sanctioned Burning Man regional event, and the only virtual world event out of more than 100 real world Regional groups and the only regional event allowed to burn the man.
The BURN2 Team operates events year around, culminating in an annual major festival of community, art and fire in the fall – a virtual echo of Burning Man itself.