Burning Man Art

I made art on the playa! The theme this year was Rites of Passage, so it had to have doors in it. I could probably fit doors into any artwork, though. They are endlessly evocative.

The installation turned into a collaboration with Karen and John and that was an interesting process. I liked seeing my idea through the eyes of others but I realized how hard it can be to communicate subtle ideas. I’m used to making decisions because they feel right and not having to explain them.

It was also a new thing for me to build a structure, to have people help me go from concept to physical object. I don’t think I could have done that on my own. Then, on the playa, we were lucky to meet up with Jay Hall who volunteered to lend his construction expertise to the enterprise (and had fun doing it despite his feeble protests to the contrary). So nice to have a construction guy!

The location wasn’t right but it’s a good piece. I want to install it somewhere else where it can have space around it. It also needs quiet because (of course!) there’s a recorded narrative that goes with it. In the meantime, I’m creating a movie with stills of the installation and the narration.

So, what is it? It’s hard to tell from the photos, I know. It’s a room outlined with metal conduit. Each of the four sides has a door. The walls are strips of mesh that blow in the wind. When you go through a door, are you somewhere different?¬† Are you different?

A door is a marker that indicates passage. We mark time as we pass through life with doorways. This happened before. This happened after. Without those landmarks, we have no way of perceiving change, or progress. A rite such as a wedding or funeral has meaning only because we give it meaning. If we didn’t, our lives would be placid streams with no scale, no way of identifying what we are about and what we want to become.

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