Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.
In 2010, 30th August, more than 50,000 people gathered at Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, USA. They erected a city on the 400 square mile emptiness, and proceeded to survive 8 bohemian days in this makeshift community experiencing creativity, spirituality, and sexuality. Many ideas are explored including traces of the hippie movement, sustainable living, nudism, religion, socialism, anarchy and many others.
Part settlement, part large scale installation exhibition, part festival, the Burning Man experience cannot be simply described. As you help build and live in Black Rock City, you enter another world along with a new identity. Forget social norms, express yourself freely and try to understand what life means to you. Nobody stays a spectator, everyone is expected to participate in any method a man can imagine. And at the climax, a 12m effigy is set on fire, a ritual started in 1986 by founders Larry Harvey & Jerry James, and people begins to party throughout the desert night.
When dawn comes, the huge city is torn down and the desert returns again to its emptiness as the last of the inhabitants withdraw back to their normal life. This has to be one of the most crazy and successful creative act in the century.
Photos courtesy of Keith Pomakis, Stewart Butterfield and Zoshi