Burning Man Preview

Posted on in On Our Radar by Rob Sidon

Da Vinci’s Workshop

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”


In 2016, the northern Nevada desert of Black Rock City will hark back 500–600 years to the fabled Florentine era of enlightened patronage, inspired artistry, and a rediscovery of science. In this issue, please find our interview with Burning Man founder Larry Harvey, who speaks about how the altruistic economic mores and the humanistic ideals of the Republic of Florence established the fertile underpinnings for Europe to propel itself from medievalism into modernity. Overseen by the Man, an enormous effigy of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man with “limbs outstretched to span a universal circle,” this year’s theme urges us to examine the parallels in contemporary society, including the angst of the 1%/99% divide, to seize our opportunity for both a personal and collective renaissance.

Burning Man artists are a rare and commendable breed of inspired volunteers. Common Ground is proud to celebrate its annual Burning Man preview, a woefully short sampling of some of the forthcoming public works to be generated by Bay Area artists. A tip of the hat to ya! Like their Florentine predecessors on whose shoulders they stand, these intrepid souls depend on your creative philanthropy—consider a donation.

“Adventure Vending Machine”

by LAME Arts
Oakland • LameArts.org

Dispensing adventures created by you, “Adventure Vending Machine” challenges Burners to redefine radical participation.

“Automata Equis”

by Equis Collective
Oakland • EquisCollective.com

From the back of a horse, one becomes a spectator of their surroundings. But desired and anticipated destinations prove elusive as constant trudging leads nowhere.

“The Black Rock Lighthouse Service”

by Jonny and Max Poynton
Oakland • BRLighthouse.org
A crystal-like cluster of lighthouses ranging from 6 to 60 feet inspired by the juxtaposition of creating a destination of fun and shelter by something that is meant to warn you of danger.

“Celestial Mechanica”

by Jessika Welz
San Francisco • Celestial-Mechanica.org

A glimpse of the complex mechanics of our solar system is provided by means of an artistic lens, but please be careful to not disturb the delicate orbits.


by Kate Greenberg and Dust Crusaders
San Francisco • Facebook.com/Chronosydra

An abstract timepiece mirroring the weeklong transformation of Black Rock City, “Chronosydra” is an hourglass filling upward with small particulates that float unhurriedly from bottom to top.

“Electric Renaissance
(A Tribute to Cadillac Ranch)”

by Heliotropics
Santa Cruz and Aachen, Germany •

Whereas Cadillac Ranch has come to symbolize the demise of the dinosaurs that brought the American automobile industry to the brink of extinction, the emergence of the nose-section of a zero-emissions vehicle turns the image on its head. The auto is being reborn as an environmentally friendly descendant of gas-guzzling ancestors.

“Fractal Rock”

by Pooja Shah and Stijn van der Linden

Appearing as a twisting ebony helix of fluid, organic shape, “Fractal Rock” is a climbable structure built by math-y art aficionados using custom equations, thus perpetuating the centuries-old claim that math can describe phenomena both comprehensible and unfathomable, mesmerizing and beautiful.

“HYBYCOZO—Heart of Gold”

by Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu
San Francisco • Hybycozo.com

Sculpture 1: “The Improbability Drive” creating a 4D hypercube effect. Sculpture 2: “Heart of Gold,” a rhombic, triactohedron dome-like jungle gym. Sculpture 3: “Hyperspace Bypass,” a stacked set of 11 HYBYCOZO rhombic dodecahedrons like a gleaming gold multifactor pyramid.


by Kirsten Berg
Berkeley and SE Asia • KirstenBerg.com

Blue mirror-steel butterflies hover 17 feet over the desert with arching wingspans scattering vivid blue light and metaphoric imago reflections.


by Will Buchanan
Oakland • Buchananwp.com/intention

Threading the intersections of art, engineering, and science, “Intention” is an immersive and interactive tensegrity structure that disrupts the horizon in jumbled symmetry.

“The Light Is Inside You”

by Yelena Filipchuk
San Francisco

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. . . . As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” —Marianne Williamson

“Lord Snort”

by Bryan Tedrick
Glen Ellen • BryanTedrick.com

As a gathering point for unimagined interactions, “Lord Snort” is a wild boar 20 feet tall and 30 feet long made of climbable steel rotating 360 degrees.


by Leo O’Brien and the Lumen Crew
Oakland • [email protected]

Participants create and manipulate a fire tornado sculpture mechanically spun by a stationary bicycle, serving too as a gathering spot on cold nights.

“Sharky-Go-Round/Ghost Shark”

by Kirk McNeill, Ocean Awareness Group,
Santa Cruz Shark Shaggas
Santa Cruz • Freedom-Forge.com

“Sharky-Go-Round/Ghost Shark” purports to raise awareness of the human-induced devastation, notably the horror of shark finning, being wrought on the very oceans which give life to our planet.

“Shrumen Lumen”

by Foldhaus Artist Collective
San Francisco • [email protected]

Building off the aesthetic of “Blumen Lumen” in 2014, “Shrumen Lumen” will be a garden of oversized mushrooms made of folded geometry to undulate in kinetic patterns.

“Temple Project”

by David Best and The Temple Crew
Petaluma • TheTempleCrew.org

With eight altars placed around the walledoff courtyard, the hand-built temple takes on an air of ancient patina and will serve as a source of solace for the community to come and express their emotions, reflect on the losses of friends and family members, and celebrate the lives of people around them. To conclude the weekend, it will burn on Sunday evening.

“The 10 Benches of Sitting Man”

by Art to be Continued . . .
Santa Cruz •

Each bench represents one of the 10 principles of Burning Man.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Join our once-monthly newsletter to get all the latest news & resources

No spam. Unsubscribe any time.