burning man founding member larry harvey speaks at design indaba 2015
 
burning man founding member larry harvey speaks at design indaba 2015
apr 21, 2015

burning man founding member larry harvey speaks at design indaba 2015

burning man founding member larry harvey speaks at design indaba 2015
image © designboom

 

 

 

as the chief philosophic officer and founding member of the annual burning man festival, larry harvey knows more than most about hosting a huge cultural event. more than 70,000 participants from across the globe meet in the middle of nevada’s desert to build black rock city, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art and self-expression. in its most recent editions, many have flocked to the festival in anticipation of the monumental, participatory and immersive art installations sited throughout the vast natural landscape, each making an ephemeral, yet memorable, mark on the temporary community. three designboom editors visited the most recent edition of the festival under the theme ‘carnival of mirrors’, experiencing first hand the collaboration, creativity and distinctive cultural engagement that is an essential part of the social environment.

 

in a video by design indaba, harvey — a conference speaker at the 2015 edition — reflects on the spiritual impact burning man offers for those who experience it, the culture of sharing and gift-giving, and how the international event has courageously changed the face of the art world.

 

 


larry harvey: artists deserve to make money
video courtesy of

 

 

 

harvey is concerned that modern economics is negatively impacting the value of art in society. ‘the art market is largely about commodity transactions,’ he says. ‘I think the economics of the art world have grossly distorted art and made it much less relevant to people’s lives.’ this kind of thinking makes art more about the creator’s accolades than the work itself. the collaborative art typical of burning man therefore has a lower market value, since its assembly is comprised by teams of people, rather than a single artist.

 

‘we changed the face of festival cultures, because they’re all doing art now. many people come for the art and stay for the community.’ the burning man project, which funds artists building installations at the event, has widened its support beyond the event to include interactive artworks in cities around the world. burning man champions art by people with no credentials or recognition in the traditional art world. ‘we are a nursery for art. we are making it more possible for artists to sell their art such that they can live off their art. and that’s a terribly hard thing to do. that’s like trying to become a movie star!’

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visitors spend quite some hours in a queue to enter the event
image © designboom

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visitors mainly move around with individually decorated bikes
(the unicorn seems to be one of people’s favorite spiritual animal)
image © designboom

burning man larry harvey design indaba designboom
photo by trey ratcliff

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hundreds of mutant art vehicles, artists, installations and sculptures form the playa’s landscape
image © designboom

burning man larry harvey design indaba designboom
‘church trap’
image courtesy of gruntzooki

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anita hackethal (designboom) after sunrise with the man in the background
image © designboom

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image courtesy of design indaba

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la playa in the morning hours – in the background (left): the ‘temple of grace’
image © designboom

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image courtesy of design indaba

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thousands of people celebrate the spectacular performance of the rising sun
image © designboom

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attendees are welcoming the sun and cheer to the breathtaking nature’s performance
image © designboom

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people climb on top of their RVs to watch as the golden sun disappears behind the mountains
image © designboom

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stunning color spectacles in the sky at sunset and sunrise
image © designboom

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the giant wooden burning man sculpture is the center of all happenings
image © designboom

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fireworks accompany the burning ritual of the man, celebrated by almost 70,000 people
image © designboom

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the burning man is the effigy of the event – the festival is coming to an end
image © designboom

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heavily modified road vehicles become art installations that can be driven – some of them are made from scratch
image © designboom

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the camp site in the evening hours
image © designboom

burning man larry harvey design indaba designboom
burning man from above

  • Techno Man or Yuppie Man would be a more appropriate name. Too bad, there only is a house/techno version of this festival idea.
    How can we support art if we cannot sell? Why can’t tickets be cheaper? Why aren’t there other festivals like this, more affordable, not in a desert?

    Critic

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