The Burning Man Festival will take place from August 30 to September 7 this year. It has been an annual event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert since 1991.
Star Temple Ignites Burning Man 2020
The Burning Man Festival will take place from August 30 to September 7 this year. It has been an annual event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert since 1991. The actual festival site has become known as Black Rock City and is about 160-km north-northeast of Reno. The symbolic ritual burning of a large wooden effigy – The Man – typically takes place on the Saturday night of the festival and is how the event got its name.
In addition to burning a ‘man’, a Temple that sits on the site throughout the festival also gets burned. This year’s temple was designed by Colorado architect Renzo Verbeck and artist Sylvia Adrienne Lisse. Their piece is an eight-pointed angular structure that resembles a star when viewed from above. The pair have extensive experience in constructing large scale installations and their entry called Empyrean, beat out several other teams vying for the project.
The name Empyrean is a reference to a location believed to exist beyond the physical realm that is the birthplace of fire. The structure is made up of eight different pavilions that create a star shape when arranged in a specific way. To ensure that the Temple is properly destroyed by fire at the end of the festival, Verbeck and Lisse chose construction materials – framing lumber and latticework – that would light up the desert sky when lit.
In fact, that seems to be a theme chosen for the design as cutouts in the pavilions will permit sunlight to filter inside the structure during the day. A light inside the Temple will light up the desert sky at night when lit.
The entrances to the eight different sections from the outside are narrow and lead to an open centre of the structure where a pointed volume rises from the centre which will host the artificial light – identified by the designers – as the Empyrean Flame. The passage from outside to inside brings visitors into what Verbeck and Lisse call the “multiverse.”
It is expected to give each visitor – or Burner – a unique and personal experience. Or at least get them all fired up for the many activities planned to take place on the blistering desert sand.
But there’s more.
Several flag poles will be at the different access points which will be saffron-coloured fabric wrapped over wood. The poles will provide a pulley system where Burners can write messages, prayers and whatever comes to mind after experiencing the trip to the multiverse. The messages will flap in the wind sort of transmitting those written words across the landscape.
Currently Empyrean is just a digital structure that will require volunteer labour to construct. To assist with costs associated with the Temple that gets burned to the ground days after unveiling, Verbeck and Lisse have created a fundraising Kickstarter page.
The whole idea behind the burning part of Burning Man is to return to the land the materials that were used to create temporary structures. This year, it will be the light of a star that will sear the Nevada sky.
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