Category Archives: Travel

Burning Man in Pictures 2015 LXIV: The Teardown Begins!

Last time, our intrepid adventurers gave Mirror Blaze a sendoff with a last mighty *FOOM* on its last night in operation for 2015.

Today, we follow them as they start the teardown of the Charnival.

First, to set the scene, we have a pic of Evan working on the ‘big top’ outer casing of Mirror Blaze:

Evan starting to bring down the big top.
Evan starting to bring down the big top.

Then an important montage of S showing how a mirror is supposed to be detached from the posts:

S starts detaching the mirror...
S starts detaching the mirror…
One side done!
One side done!
The first side done, she starts detaching the other side.
The first side done, she starts detaching the other side.
S demonstrates the proper way to become mirrorximist.
S demonstrates the proper way to become mirrorximist.
The tube stands alone.
The tube stands alone.
Evan and Greg remove another mirror.
Evan and Greg remove another mirror.
Marc shows the proper technique for removing rebar from playa.
Marc shows the proper technique for removing rebar from playa.
Greg and Splat, serious as always.
Greg and Splat, serious as always.
Greg and Splat show the proper breakdown decorum.
Greg and Splat show the proper breakdown decorum.

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXIII: Sunlight Poutine and Mirror Blaze Final Night!

(Last time with our intrepid heroes…)

Midnight Poutine. There is nothing quite like it. You would think that the time of day would make no difference in the taste of a food, but you would be wrong[1].

Midnight Poutine.  A true institution.
Midnight Poutine. A true institution.
The Quebecois flag.  A welcoming sight far away from home.
The Quebecois flag. A welcoming sight far away from home.

[1]It could also be the temperature, or the altitude, or the (lack of) humidity,

The S3FA crew in a candid moment.
The S3FA crew in a candid moment.

Moving on from Midnight Poutine, our trusty crew traveled back to the installation, spotting some friends along the way:

Carberus!
Carberus!
The Charnival at night...but wait...who's that?
The Charnival at night…but wait…who’s that?
"Hello Adventurers.  You are almost at the end of your quest.  Remember all that you have learned, and to put all of the pieces together..."
“Hello Adventurers. You are almost at the end of your quest. Remember all that you have learned, and to put all of the pieces together…”

Climbing up on top of a shipping container, the crew watched for the signal that the Man was about to burn. And there it was! The arms were raised!:

After the Man burned, it was time to make a little fire of our own!

S went up to the top of the lifeguard stand to test the Blaze part of Mirror Blaze, blowing a fiery kiss:

S blows a fiery kiss!
S blows a fiery kiss!

We then went into the maze, to celebrate a final *FOOM* before teardown and cleanup:

Our intrepid heroes celebrate the final *FOOM* of 2015!
Our intrepid heroes celebrate the final *FOOM* of 2015!
Our happy and satisfied heroes!
Our happy and satisfied heroes!

Join us next time, when we start teardown and cleanup, the most important parts of any installation!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXII: Unnecessarily High Fives!

When we last saw our intrepid crew, they had just finished researching and learning about MOOP.

Today, we follow them as they explore more of the wild (and not so woolly) camps.

(Note that this post is many pictures and fewer words. With all the distracting things happening in the world right now, I’m finding it difficult to find the mental space to form and create. This is my way of getting that process restarted. Thank you all for your continued support.)

Today, their journey starts at Mazu, Goddess of the Empty Sea (Or rather, the skeleton left after the previous evening’s burn):

The burned-out husk of a fantastic installation.
The burned-out husk of a fantastic installation.
The Bronze Rhino Runs Again (now a major motion picture).
The Bronze Rhino Runs Again (now a major motion picture).
S being incredibly happy.  (She had just found an impromptu industrial 'radio' station.)
S being incredibly happy. (She had just found an impromptu industrial ‘radio’ station.)
Apparently, Gate is the new Rangers.  Unsure about what happened with fury road cosplay, tho.
Apparently, Gate is the new Rangers. Unsure about what happened with fury road cosplay, tho.
'Death Camp'?  No, it's 'Death Carp'.  Much more dangerous.
‘Death Camp’? No, it’s ‘Death Carp’. Much more dangerous.
Sketchy has supports in many places.  An eloquent sign for a more eloquent time.
Sketchy has supports in many places. An eloquent sign for a more eloquent time.
I think these high-fives are at an appropriate height.
I think these high-fives are at an appropriate height.
#babyfistbump
#babyfistbump

Then they played our (beep-filled) theme song:

"What happens when you cross a hexagonal prism with six tetrahedra?"  "I don't know, either."
“What happens when you cross a hexagonal prism with six tetrahedra?” “I don’t know, either.”
"I want to take you to...Janky Town!" #cliche
“I want to take you to…Janky Town!” #cliche

Stay tuned for next time, when we visit Sunlight Poutine, and see our heroes run Mirror Blaze for the last evening of The Burn. Stay tuned!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXI: The Essence of MOOP

When we last saw our intrepid adventurers, they had just found an incarnation of balance and harmony, then had that jarringly ripped away from them by an encounter with a MOOP sculpture:

This seems neither balanced nor harmonious. But what does it mean?
This seems neither balanced nor harmonious. But what does it mean?

So, a word about moop or MOOP. ‘MOOP’ is the abbreviation for ‘Matter Out Of Place’, the anti-thesis of ‘leave no trace’. It’s been an abbreviation for long enough that it’s become a word ‘moop’. Apparently, this had been a growing issue at Burning Man, finally coming to a head for 2006, when they decided to publicly measure the amount of moop left over after the event and start to name and shame:

Moop Map 2006.  Note the suffusion of yellow.
Moop Map 2006. Note the suffusion of yellow[1].

Already you can see the difference one year later, in 2007, after just measuring and enforcement:

Moop Map 2007 "Green Wins!": Note how one year of measuring and enforcement has made a noticeable difference.
Moop Map 2007 “Green Wins!”: Note how one year of measuring and enforcement has made a noticeable difference.

2009 is better yet again:

Moop Map 2009: Yellow and red patches are even smaller.
Moop Map 2009: Yellow and red patches are even smaller.

As is 2013, our first year at the Burn, this was the ‘norm’ we first saw, and wanted to help improve upon:

Moop Map 2013: This was our first year, and the 'norm' that we wanted to improve on.
Moop Map 2013: This was our first year, and the ‘norm’ that we wanted to improve on.

2014:

IMG_2384

The placement map for 2015 (I have no idea what the spoon was for):

Map 2015: Who was where?
Map 2015: Who was where?

If you look closely, you can see The Hive, at 8:00 and Esplanade!:

If you look closely, you can see The Hive, at 8:00 and Esplanade!
If you look closely, you can see The Hive, at 8:00 and Esplanade!

And the results from the 2015 after-event cleanup! You can see the continually disturbing red and yellow rings around Esplanade which only a very few groups were able to sweep to green status:

Moop Map 2015: Note the red and yellow ring around Esplanade. :(
Moop Map 2015: Note the red and yellow ring around Esplanade. :(

Next time, our plucky adventurers meet the golden rhino, and make the tiniest of fist-bumps. Stay tuned!

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Dark_Tea-Time_of_the_Soul I’ve always enjoyed this particular phrase, but it feels problematic for a number of reasons in the context of the book.

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LX: Finding Balance and Harmony

When we last saw our intrepid adventurers, they had just been told by the Oracle to seek out ‘Balance and Harmony’.

Not fully understanding this command, they continued exploring the art gallery where they had found the Oracle. Equally perplexing was the whispered comment “In seeking Balance and Harmony, you shall find meaning inside and outside yourselves.”

Searching through the art gallery, like in many good art galleries, they found myriad artworks neither balanced nor harmonious:

Not exactly the definition of 'balanced' or 'harmonious'.
Not exactly the definition of ‘balanced’ or ‘harmonious’.

Some where the balance had been shattered:

While perhaps harmonious once, liquid nitrogen has shattered this balance.
While perhaps harmonious once, liquid nitrogen has shattered this balance.

But eventually, they found their way Clear to find Balance:

If you are Clear, you may find Balance.
If you are Clear, you may find Balance.

And Harmony:

Thus invigorated, their purpose became clear. To add to the complexity and messiness that is human creativity:

The balance of the human condition.  Messy, creative, and *interesting*.
The balance of the human condition. Messy, creative, and *interesting*.

The journey within and without is the meaning inside:

The meaning inside.
The meaning inside.

So, our adventurers had found the meaning within, and had found a measure of peace. But they couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that there was something larger than them that required their attention.

They saw this piece, and it shook them to the core. The first time they had seen this type of detritus since leaving the default world, they knew what their next mission would be:

This seems neither balanced nor harmonious.  But what does it mean?
This seems neither balanced nor harmonious. But what does it mean?

Join us next time, when our adventurers discover what it means to Moop!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LIX: You too can Golf the Man!

When we last saw our intrepid heroes, they had just gone fishing!

Flush with success (and the blood rushing to their heads from being upside-down), they continue exploring.

Their first clue for their next quest comes from an unlikely source. A miniature Man informs them: “Your next clue requires you to possess my Visor of Seeing. To acquire this artifact, you must successfully golf me.”

Making her first attempt at golfing the ramp, S shakes her fist as the ramp thwarts her.

S shakes her fist as the ramp thwarts her.
S shakes her fist as the ramp thwarts her.

S tries again, but will it be enough?:

S tries again, but will it be enough?
S tries again, but will it be enough?

Perhaps a different angle will reduce the ramp to a more manageable incline?:

Wait, *that* was the ramp?
Wait, *that* was the ramp?

Over, around, and through! The man allows S to take her prize, the Visor of Seeing. So far, so good:

"Over, around, and through.  You may now claim your prize.  May it help you find what you seek."
“Over, around, and through. You may now claim your prize. May it help you find what you seek.”

S proudly displaying her prize:

S proudly displaying her prize.
S proudly displaying her prize.

The Visor allowed S to see something unusual here. She said it was too disturbing for mortal minds to know…:

The Visor allows S to see something unusual here.  She said it was too disturbing for mortal minds to know.
The Visor allows S to see something unusual here. She said it was too disturbing for mortal minds to know.

…but it directed her towards the giant robot ‘Tobor’, who told her to ‘seek the pincer’:

Seeing deep into the robot, he said "seek the pincer".
Seeing deep into the robot, he said “seek the pincer”.

“Pince, pince. Pince, pince. Pince, pince.” “To find Harmony and Balance, you must seek wheels within wheels within pincers.” “Where would that be?” “Seek next in the pincing wheel of art.”:

"Wheels within wheels within pincers.  Seek next in the pincing wheel of art."
“Wheels within wheels within pincers. Seek next in the pincing wheel of art.”

Unsure of what the Pincer meant, our heroes sought out the art exhibition at the center of the Black Rock City ‘Wheel’. Upon arrival, they noticed that they could now see an oracle where before there was only a blank painting:

Now visible to our adventurers, S consulted the oracle, who simply said "Balance and Harmony are the answer."
Now visible to our adventurers, S consulted the oracle, who simply said “Balance and Harmony are the answer.”

Join us next time, as our intrepid adventurers seek out Balance and Harmony, whatever that might be!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXIII: Achievement Unlocked: ‘Gone Fishing!’

When we last saw our intrepid heroes, they were teaming up with seahorses in order to search out the resting place of the Discofish. Today, we see what happens when they finally find it!

After hours of search, S spots the Discofish:

After hours of searching, S spots the Discofish!
After hours of searching, S spots the Discofish!

She hurries to investigate!:

She hurries to investigate!
She hurries to investigate!

And reaches her goal, the pole lodged in the maw of the Discofish! She then braces herself to perform that most dangerous of tasks:

She braces herself in the maw of the Discofish!
She braces herself in the maw of the Discofish!

The climb is tricky:

This climb is tricky...
This climb is tricky…

And success! She now has enough leverage to remove the pole. The Discofish croaks “Thank you.” “You must search out the cat lady, the vehicle with the horsepower, and Prometheus, before you can reach your ultimate goal.”:

Ta da! :D
Ta da! :D

So, our intrepid heroes continue on, finding the cat lady around a corner, trapped in an unfinished game of golf:

The Cat Lady, transfixed in an unfinished golf game.
The Cat Lady, transfixed in an unfinished golf game.

After freeing her, she tells them to look for the ‘truck with more horsepower than you expect’:

"How many horses does *your* truck have?"
“How many horses does *your* truck have?”

The little horsies sing out the chorus “Seek the Eagle upon the mount, where he feasts day by day…”:

This Metheus seems to have lost its amateur status.
This Metheus seems to have lost its amateur status.

Searching among the liver, our heroes find the final clue! It is at Ballyhoo!:

Delicious, delicious liver.
Delicious, delicious liver.

There, our heroes find their destination, where they will lead unsuspecting participants to their Waterloo!:

S reaches her ultimate destination!  (The world will never be safe again!)
S reaches her ultimate destination! (The world will never be safe again!)

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXII: Wolves, Seahorses, and Ramps, Oh my!

When we last saw our intrepid crew, they had just rewarded themselves with Midnight Poutine, after a long night exploring graffiti and dancing on the Discofish!

We follow as S travels away from camp on a secret quest:

She finds a sandhorse friend!:

S finds a sandhorse friend!
S finds a sandhorse friend!

Swimming together through the sand, they pass by the Rangers, undetected:

Don't mess with the Rangers!
Don’t mess with the Rangers!

Potholes are very important for the sandhorse ecology:

An important commentary on priorities (including signposts).
An important commentary on priorities (including signposts).

The sandhorses have a wary relationship with the sandwolves:

S is startled by the emergence...Yet intrigued...
S is startled by the emergence…Yet intrigued…

But because of the urgency of their quest, they are granted passage on the Wolfmobile:

#wolfmobile
#wolfmobile

They gather information at the sign depot:

Somehow, this collection of signs seems to capture the essence of Burning Man.
Somehow, this collection of signs seems to capture the essence of Burning Man.

Take some time to meditate and draw together the information they have discovered:

There are many days where Camp Sensory Underload would be a welcome respite.
There are many days where Camp Sensory Underload would be a welcome respite.

And finally end up at their destination, ‘Full Fractal’!:

I prefer to read this as 'Full Fractal'.
I prefer to read this as ‘Full Fractal’.

The Fractal Beings tell them that they must first pass the Trial Of The Ramp. Only then can they divulge the location of the Discofish!:

Stay tuned for next time, when our intrepid heroes discover the home of the Discofish!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXI: Groovin’ Out on the Discofish!

When we last saw our intrepid heroes, they had just finished perusing all the graffiti in the maze-like structure at the base of the Man.

But then they saw something in the distance! The Discofish[1] again!

Quickly, they ran[2] towards it!

Climbing aboard, they were immediately swept up in the joy of being inside the Discofish[3]!:

A happy M on the Discofish!
A happy M on the Discofish!
S is beaming with glee on the Discofish!
S is beaming with glee on the Discofish!

While being inside the Discofish was fun, dancing outside in its gaping maw was even better!:

Groovin' out!
Groovin’ out!

Dance!
Dance!

Even the eyes of the Discofish danced:

The dancing eyes of the Discofish!
The dancing eyes of the Discofish!

Flush with success, our heroes checked in at the Carnival, saw some creepy flaming clown heads:

The spooky, creepy eyes of 'Go fly some flaming clown heads!'
The spooky, creepy eyes of ‘Go fly some flaming clown heads!’

Paused to let the Electronik Firebug pass by:

Then went for well-deserved Midnight Poutine[4]!:

What better way to end off a successful night than Midnight Poutine!
What better way to end off a successful night than Midnight Poutine!

[1]The Discofish is not just another art car. Each of the scales are individually addressable, the ‘car’ is totally autonomous, and can navigate and avoid obstacles automatically. Check it out!

[2]Biked.

[3]Discofish loves you!

[4]The best poutine in the world!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LX: Graffiti at the Base of the Man, Part Three!

When we last saw our intrepid adventurers, they were investigating the ‘interesting’ keming present in the maze at the base of the Man. Today, we follow them as they enter a more disturbing part of the maze:

Important words to journey by.
Important words to journey by.
I'm not sure which is more disturbing: the writing or the words...
I’m not sure which is more disturbing: the writing or the words…
This was my favourite installation at the Ontario Science Centre 'A Question of Truth'.
This was my favourite installation at the Ontario Science Centre ‘A Question of Truth'[1].
Some directions.
Some directions.
First one to decode this message gets a prize!
First one to decode this message gets a prize!
:o
:o
The maze is at an end!  We have gazed up and beheld the Man!
The maze is at an end! We have gazed up and beheld the Man!
This was the most beautiful sound and visual installation, mixing paper with wood and organ music.  We wanted to stay here forever.
This was the most beautiful sound and visual installation, mixing paper with wood and organ music. We wanted to stay here forever.
The regional burns[2] were starting!  Time to get moving!
The regional burns[2] were starting! Time to get moving!

[1]Ontario Science Centre’s “A Question of Truth”, exploring subjectivity and other difficult topics far before it was customary to do so (IIRC, there was a large controversy over it, when it opened in the ’90s.)

[2]Saturday night was traditionally reserved for the Man burn, Sunday night for the Temple burn. Many people brought other installations to burn at the end of the festival, some of these were burned on Friday night. (In 2013, each or many of the regional Burns sent an installation to be burned on Friday night, hence it being known as the ‘regional burns’.)