take a 3D virtual tour of the 'museum of no spectators' proposed for burning man

take a 3D virtual tour of the 'museum of no spectators' proposed for burning man

before it was announced that the 2020 edition of burning man will be held virtually, architect john marx and artist absinthia vermut were working on a unique concept for the event — the ‘museum of no spectators’. marx, who has designed structures for burning man before, sought to question how the museum typology could be applied to the event, which usually takes place every year in the black rock desert of northwestern nevada. ‘what would a museum be like on the playa within burning man culture?’ asks the design team. ‘what would you do there? what role would art play, what role would people play, what role would you play?’

museum of no spectators burning man



‘museums are not neutral spaces,’ says john marx and absinthia vermut, who developed the project together with jerry james. ‘they position art and artists in powerful ways and are often perceived as elitist and exclusive. the standing they have in the art world can make it difficult to challenge the notion of ‘museum grade art’, yet anyone who has been to burning man will know that exceptional and powerful work is being created outside this context and work that has a profound resonance with society, so much so that it redefines our perception of what constitutes art.’

museum of no spectators burning man



the ‘museum of no spectators’ (MoNS) picks up on the nature of burning man culture, where each ‘burner’ is a participant rather than an attendee. this relationship is in sharp contrast to the default museum experience of a typical museum visitor who ‘consumes’ art. at MoNS, the visitor enters into what the design team calls ‘a radically inclusive space’ where the creative process is a key element in how the art is being shared with others. MoNS was originally going to be built for burning man 2020. however, once it was announced that the event was no longer happening as planned, the team worked on a digital version of the museum, which can be previewed in a 3D virtual tour here

museum of no spectators burning man



‘burning man as an event invites you to experience art as not just something you might passively appreciate, but as a joint enterprise that unleashes your own creative potential,’ says san francisco-based architect john marx. ‘this is why absinthia and I thought that a museum on the playa that encourages all burners to make works of art in an uncurated and spontaneous environment is an ideal way to reconsider what museums can be. it also raises interesting questions around the range of cultural inclusion and how this might impact society in general.’

museum of no spectators burning man



‘the museum of no spectators came about as john and I were talking about the burning man exhibit at the oakland museum of the arts,’ explains absinthia vermut. ‘I had attended and loved seeing the art on the walls but having lived in oakland and attended burning man as long as I have, I knew a lot of artists were not included. exiting through the gift shop where I saw items I had been gifted on the playa, commodifying them just didn’t align with the burning man principles. walking through a museum looking at someone else’s art was the definition of spectating. which was okay, because we were not at burning man. but what if we were? what would that look like?’

take a 3D virtual tour of the 'museum of no spectators' proposed for burning man


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