Words + Photography MANFREDI ROMANO
My very first Burning Man experience in 2013 turned out to be an unexpected shocking emotional journey. This huge temporary city in the dust immediately put me under its surreal spell and I quickly found myself on a constant mission to explore, absorb, and reorganize an ever-growing amount of stimulation.
Every individual there is completely devoted to creativity: creativity in art, technology, music and expression which led to my senses and my perception being reset to a primitive level. Every visual, musical and sensory experience was different and more intense than the one before….
Here are a few impression from this years magical journey that I wanted to share with you:
Among all the various ways to experience Burning Man, my favorite is always the good old RV. Doing groceries before leaving Reno on the way to Black Rock City is part of the ritual and often a surreal experience. Here’s Becks sorting the groceries while queuing (more than eight hours) near Gerlach.
Art cars became more and more part of the show. Some are huge and, in terms of technology, very advanced and impressive. Others are small; more like a golf cart, but the simple ideas are sometimes the best ones. Here I bumped into a fast and funny Pac-Man car in the middle of nowhere.
Sculptures and installations at Burning Man often hide secret doors or an interior room and it’s a good opportunity to take a break from the heat and the dust storms. Here we are inside the body of a wooden whale, listening to the sound of the wing and the cacophony of the sound camps far away.
Some people like it comfy; some like to work out.
Some of the installations are made of metal and reflect the surrounding landscapes so they perfectly match with the surrounding environment. The area where Burning Man takes place is huge; cruising around with a bike is one of the best things you can do as you often get lost in the beauty of one of a hundred art pieces.
Constantly meeting new people, or just hanging out with a friend camping next door in the middle of the desert. The interesting and unique part of Burning Man is that there simply is no schedule—no pressure and no rushing around is allowed. Meeting new friends and having long conversations can be an interesting journey sometimes.
There are not only sound camps, but also mobile stages, in most cases built around a modified huge truck. Here are two of the most famous ones: Robot Heart and Mayan Warrior, which joined forces here for a unique 12-hour event. These trucks seem quite safe and technologically very advanced.
The catacombs of Veils were burning while the sun is rising, symbolizing the past dissolving and the future arriving. The 10 principles that characterize Burning Man are radical inclusion, gifting, de-commodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy.
This is Eden and Niv (one-half of the electronic indie duo Red Axes). So many special moments to share with the people you love, far from the chaos and the distractions of everyday life.
Here’s Rebolledo, speechless watching the catacomb of Veils burning from the Mexican Mayan Warrior bus.
Many of the art installations are visible only at night. In this one, people meditate and relax under a net of led bulbs, changing color at the sound of classical music. One of my favorite things out there.
Sky goggles are the best way to protect your eyes during dust storms and from the very bright light of the day. In this picture we’re visiting the light house installation—one of the art pieces made of wood that got burnt at the end of the week.
Sunsets at Burning Man are just stunning and surreal.
While roaming around, our attention got caught by a little fantastic ceremony where a guy proposes to his partner in a circle of their close friends. He said yes and he screamed after this picture was taken.
Music has increased its importance at Burning Man, especially over the past five years. This is me playing the Robot Heart bus during a warm desert morning.
Me and my lady were camping in a Mexican camp, but with a very international community. One of the camp chefs, Bogin, is having fun during one of the parties here, right after cooking incredible Israeli food for 120 people.
Myself and Niv dressing in outfits that we found in vintage and ethnic shops around Los Angeles before heading to Reno. Clothes shopping is part of the preparation for the gathering and one of the most important aspects of Burning Man for me. Dressing differently should be part of our everyday life in my opinion.
Many people tailor their own clothes for Burning Man. Some of them spend the whole year collecting ideas, researching new materials, and putting together their unique and colorful outfits for this one week of the year.
Hours and hours of queuing, leaving the desert and heading to Reno and then back home. Always a sad moment, but one that is full of inspiration and new ideas.