Hi, I'm Michael Emery, an artist based in Santa Cruz, California. My crew and I are constructing a 70 ft. lotus flower to be installed on the Black Rock Playa for Burning Man 2011, with funding from a grant provided by the Burning Man organization. I am constructing this installation in response to this year’s theme for the Burning Man Art Festival RITES OF PASSAGE.
This installation uses steel, wood, mirror, fabric and light to suggest a lotus opening up and through the mud playa floor. By night, six of the lotus petals become screens upon which we project a variety of video images relating to rituals of passage. (This is where you come in, see above.)
As we all move through life we encounter a multitude of seeming trials, traps, disappointments and exhilarations. Life presses upon us various potential rites of passage, various opportunities for growth. In order to traverse skillfully through these opportunities, our wakeful mind becomes a powerful ally to guide our steps.
The Lotus flower has for millennia been a symbol of the quiet center driving the human process of evolution and awakening. This symbol is potent because the graceful opening lotus has its roots in the dark, rich unconscious muck and mud of real life. Our own graceful opening is possible because our roots sink deep into our animal source. Perhaps our task, with feet planted in the rich mire of monkey reality, is to open lotus-like into the full consciousness of interconnected mind.
With this installation we endeavor to provide a quiet resting place for Burning Man participants, a place to reflect and contemplate, to find the steadiness and trust within as we traverse the raucous playground of the Playa.