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Most people who have never attended Burning Man ask one question, "What IS Burning Man?"  to which I never have a good answer.  My first thought is to show them pictures of the event.  This is actually misleading as it doesn't express the feeling of Burning Man.  Spending days in the desert with music thumping from different directions 24 hours a day,  extreme temperatures and camping living conditions does not get translated into pictures.  What does come across is the eclectic mix of people. . . normal people. . . who are allowed to express themselves freely.  Possibly for the first time in their lives.  Some people are merely out to draw attention to themselves. . . to outdo the next guy in oddity.  Some people are out to bolster their self-image by helping others, using a contraption they've been developing for months before the event.  And the rest of us are there to witness it all.

People waited in line to be the horse for this buggy. The Tesla Coil can be seen in the background.

We've all seen the typical American male with the beer belly gut.  As he developed that gut, years and years of disregard to the basics of diet and exercise, he tried to hold it in. . . thinking that he can start dieting tomorrow and it will soon go away.  However, at some point, he gives in to the harsh reality and lets it hang out.  A sense of relief to finally admit that he is fat.  Fat and proud of it!   It is this same sense of relief that you feel when you are removed from our day to day existence and finally allowed to express yourself at Burning Man.

Anti-media protesters.

Giving away free Ice Cream to everyone.   The Ice cream was rock-hard cold, having been stored in dry ice for it's 3 hour journey to Burning Man.

You will no doubt be interested in seeing what others have to express as well.  For this reason, Burning Man is a feeding ground for media types.  There is a long running debate among participants as to existence of the media.  It seems foolish to me since it would be impossible to restrict the use of cameras.

Typewriter located far away from the camp in the middle of the desert.  The reflector kept you from smashing into it at night.
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Most of the art at Burning Man was crafted by some of the finest artists around.  Painstakingly creating mind-boggling projects in one of the harshest environments.  The vast desert landscape lends itself to large scale projects.   The remoteness challenges the technologically inclined participants and the large number of open minded viewers inspires some of the more eccentric people.  Some people spend large amounts of money and time in preparation for Burning Man.  There is so much to see that you will never see it all.

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One of many push-button operated mechanical thingies.
IN ACTION (Real Video)

You should protect your camera from dust storms. . . not like me.
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The Dust Storm (Real Video)
The Dust Storm

Real Video (1.5 MB)
Real Audio (quick sample)

This is a video of the big dust storm that came over Burning Man in 1998.  The storm tumbled chairs, smashes a lantern and knocks over our solar panel.

Time Lapse (Real Video)
Time lapse movie

Real Video (108 KB)

This is a time lapse movie I made using my laptop computer.  It shows the area surrounding my camp and gives you  the sense of being there.

Walk-through sensory tunnel

Antarctica, a diesel-powered refrigerated freezer truck.

BM98_024.jpg (6899 bytes)
Where else can you find this kind of solitude?
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During the day this copper tree was a water fountain (large public shower) and at night it would emit flames.

Being the focus of the event, the Man himself can not be forgotten.   The Man does not have any specific meaning and it not particularly worshipped in any way.  It serves more as a beacon to lost pedestrians then anything else.   The camps are so vast and changing drastically every day as people arrive that you are easily disoriented.  Although there is plenty of activity to keep oneself occupied, some people prefer the solitude of the desert itself.
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My self-portrait.

The Tesla Coil.  Note the size of the people.
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If there was ever an attention grabber it was the enormous Tesla Coil project.  The sound of this extremely high-voltage coil building up could be heard across the desert, drawing hundreds of people towards it like zombies.  The visual feast of lighting played out a few feet in front of you zapping various objects donated by the audience.  The energy seemed to transfer directly into the audience who, after the instant the coil stopped, let it all out in a huge uproar of appreciation.

The size of this flame makes even the Man himself look small.

The Burn (Real Video)
Burning Human

Real Video (250 KB)

One minute of the burn, beginning with the lighting of a real Man in a flame suit. A little unsteady due to the fact I was also taking still photos.

The moment everyone was waiting for.

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