Burning Man is a transformational festival in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, a few hours drive from Reno. The Black Rock Desert is a dry lake bed in the middle of nowhere, it is our blank canvas with extreme weather and dust storms where we for one week per year build Nevada's 6th largest city, complete with airport, post office and a public transport system consisting of art cars. There is no money and you are responsible for your own safety and survival. With exception of the porta potties, everything is created by it's citizens. I'll say that again: every participant is a co-creator of the event. There are thousands and thousands of art pieces and events happening at once. Walking around at Burning Man (especially at night) is like walking around in a collective 65,000 artist hive-mind.
We would say that Burning Man is an experiment rather than a festival. As participants, we create this experiment together by living by 10 principles, more about them below. Burning Man culture and regional burns exists around the globe including Scandinavia, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand, UK, Spain and many others locations.
Check out this blog post for a poetic rant on what Burning Man is for Almina.
The box is not much bigger than a porta potty, but the top is open and wider than the base to provide a spacious feeling. One person at a time fit at the top, and the door can be locked from the inside for privacy. Thanks to the height of the flower and the protecting petals, the squatter can enjoy privacy while still being immersed in the city and the sky. The squatter is able to glimpse parts of the Playa between the petals at eye-level or get a full view depending on squatting style. The perfect hiding-place with a view!
If you have never squatted before we highly encourage and warmly welcome you to squat for your first time. In our view, squatting to pee in nature is a kick-ass essential survival skill that makes our lives so much more convenient, easy and delightful. Not only that, but by learning to squat we are regaining knowledge about our body and its natural function that has become lost in the modern world. You may need some agility to climb the box and use the platform, but don't worry, we will provide you with something to hold on to.
The petals will be illuminated from the base (or potentially also around the edges) with LED:s. LED:s will also illuminate the stairs. We are working with Black Rock Labs to right-size a solar battery system to fuel the lights and the Biofilter fan. How much sun we capture affect the night-to-nigh color of Sanity. Low watt output after a dusty day will generate a pink glow, and a clear day will generate a white glow.
STRUCTURE & SAFETY
The Playa is a harsh and unpredictable environment. Our architect has made sure that we build Sanity to be wind proof and withstand the weight of more people than can even fit on the top. All to make sure the piece stands securely on the Playa floor.
The Biofilter tank is delivered to us by Ecozoic on the Playa, and the box is then built around it. The petals are made by us in Peter Hazel's studio in Reno and welded to the top platform. Once on Playa the platform will be completed on the ground and then lifted to the top of the box and secured. Tank installation will be inspected before opening. We are still looking for a few extra team members for build and maintenance.
If you are curious about joining our team, or about other details, don't hesitate to reach out!
When we share about this project with people we commonly get a two-step reaction: step 1: "what about if people poop in it!!??" step 2: "I love it! How can I offer my support?"
Technically you can't poop in the squatter because it is a platform with a fine-grain grate that only lets liquid through. There is no hole or trashcan to put neither trash, toilet paper or to poop into. You'd literately poop ON an art piece, and no we can't stop you if that's what you want to do. Also, if you need to poop you'd probably be on your way to a porta potty, not climbing a mysterious lotus flower. To make the experience sanitary and delightful for users, we do however service the squatter twice a day, or as needed.
Spill mitigation and Leave No Trace practices are at the core of our design and process, to make sure the Playa is clean and healthy.
Smell is mitigated through our daily maintenance, as well as by a fan in the bio-filter tank.
This art piece is an exercise in the principle of LEAVE NO TRACE.
If you are unfamiliar with the 10 principles of Burner Culture, the approach described above may sound confusing. In short, the principles guide all participants in the shared experiment that a burn is. The point is that they are different principles than we are used to in society. They are principles we choose for ourselves as a community, to serve transformation and freedom in ourselves and our fellow participants, as opposed the implicit and explicit rules and social norms we often default to in society. You can find out more about the 10 principles at Burning Man's website.
LEAVE NO TRACE is pretty straightforward: pack it in -pack it out. There are no trash cans or trash collection provided by Burning Man. Every single one of us 65,000+ participants take responsibility for our own trash, and take responsibility for the land and the shared experience by picking up MOOP (matter out of place) when we see it. Every responsible burner carries a MOOP zip-lock in their backpack/survival kit.
Sanity does not provide any toilet paper either. Pack it in - pack it out. Or drip-dry. A total hack and transformational experience in itself if you have not tried it before.
The collected liquid is processed in real-time through a 3-step process that mimics nature. Ecozoic collects the tank at the end of the burn together with their other units, which has collected both solid and liquid waste throughout the week. After the burn the tanks rest for a a few week for the process to complete. The end product is a fertilizer that provides essential nutrients for ecosystem regeneration, reforestation, or agriculture. Waste (read:resources) collected at the burn supports nearby farmland. Read more on Ecozoic Resources website.
Ecozoic will receive permits from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection prior to beneficial re-use of the resultant fertilizers.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Please party responsibly and opt for natural, pesticide-free and biodegradable molecules.
Go to our get involved page and check out how you can join us in our vision!
If you are a woman, try peeing outside an let us know how it goes!