BLACK ROCK CITY, Nev. — The burns have begun at Burning Man, and will accelerate through the weekend before the 70,000 participants flood back out of the desert.
Artists on Friday morning incinerated two wooden pyramids as thousands of Burners watched, dance music chugging rhythmically in the morning sun.
Friday night, artist Kate Raudenbush plans to use pyrotechnics to consume her Helios sculpture, the final act of the white, wooden installation that’s drawn large crowds.
Helios required the participation of six people, standing in the pose of the Vitruvian Man, to illuminate its lighting.
“The greatest currency of Burning Man, the greatest currency we have, is creativity,” Raudenbush said. “It’s how much you can give to blow people’s minds with an invention of your own.”
Burning Man attendees for a week build and occupy a temporary city in the desert two hours north of Reno. The event formally ends Monday, but two major burns remain: Saturday night’s fireworks-laden destruction of the actual Man himself, and then Sunday’s more subdued burn of the Temple.
Burning Man has its roots in a 1986 San Francisco beach bonfire in which some of the group’s founders burned a 9-foot-high wooden effigy.
This year’s Man towers about 100 feet above the desert floor; it was designed to rotate but the mechanism jammed upon installation, temporarily leaving the effigy stuck upside down.
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