burning man 2017 art installations and architecture: a preview of this year's 'radical ritual'

burning man 2017 art installations and architecture: a preview of this year's 'radical ritual'

right now, thousands of people-packed caravans are slowly making their way to nevada’s black rock desert to participate in burning man. the temporary metropolis, erected annually, draws colossal crowds of devoted ‘burners’ who come to experience spirituality, community, and art. guided by the ten principles — first documented by co-founder larry harvey in 2004 — participants build the city, and then burn it to the ground 9 days later. while the community aspect is at the core of this global cultural movement, a yearly ‘art theme’ has become an important part of the city, where creatives from across the globe take part in building monumental works across the arid landscape. as creatives prepare their installations, sculptures, observatories and participatory experiences for the event, we preview the art and architecture highlights below. 

burning man 2017 art
this year’s ‘man base’, a symbolic structure that serves as an observatory and meditative space
image courtesy of the burning man journal (also main image)



this year’s theme is ‘radical ritual’, ‘an attempt to reinvent ritual in our post post-modern world,’ the burning man team describe. ‘for this purpose, we will disregard assertions of belief and concentrate instead on the immediate experience of play. beliefs contain, define, and limit meaning. they can reduce truth to a rational commodity. but play can free us to envision truths of which we have no proof or warrant. such play, as we conceive it, breaks down the distinction that divides belief from make-believe. whole-hearted and creative play induces self-surrender to experience that is beyond the scope of reasoned thought.’

burning man 2017 art
rendering of ‘the temple’, burning man’s annual ‘place of refuge, mourning, and healing’

burning man 2017 art
installation underway on the 18th incarnation of ‘the temple’
image by @temple_2017

burning man 2017 art
‘temple’ takes shape at black rock city (the installation will later be burned as a symbolic gesture of closure)
image by @benb_sf

burning man 2017 art
each of the installations are presented under the theme ‘radical ritual’ 
image by @leahwanders

burning man 2017 art
‘charon’, a 30 foot zoetrope with posed skeletons on its inner edge, by peter hudson returns to burning man
image by @frequentcyclist

burning man 2017 art
phoenicopterus rex by josh zubkoff, a giant flamingo-shaped observatory

burning man 2017 art
‘aqueous’ by jen lewin is an interactive landscape of meandering pathways of light

burning man 2017 art installations and architecture: a preview of this year's 'radical ritual'
peruvian-american artist dicapria is creating a 14-foot tall gummy bear light installation
see more about the project on designboom here 

burning man 2017 art
panels of dicapria’s gummy bear pyramid take shape before their installation at burning man
image by @dicapriaart

burning man 2017 art
tree of ténéré by alexander green, mark slee, zachary smith, and patrick deegan

burning man 2017 art
the enormous ‘tree of ténéré’ is a climbable habitat filled with 25,000 LED leaves
image by @_killerwhalen_

burning man 2017 art
‘the flower tower’, a cathedral devoted to happiness by kevin clark

burning man 2017 art
‘bloom’ by peter hazel is a 42-foot tall glass jellyfish with huge steel and fabric tentacles floating in the wind


    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    503,284 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    designboom magazine