The Effigy burn is the climax of our festival. On Saturday night the energy builds and gradually people from all different walks of life trickle down to stand around the perimeter. This is the first time during the event that everyone comes together. Witness the collision of subcultures, the roaring of fawns on bouncing stilts, an epic fire-dancing performance and await the hush before ignition. Then we watch as the structure catches alight. This ritual means whatever you want it to mean: combust in unity, burn your fears, free your radical self-expression – but, whatever you do, don’t cross the burn perimeter until the fire-safety people say you can.
The Temple started at Burning Man, as a one person’s monument to a lost friend, and quickly became a shared project. It is a place for letting go of grief. Visit the Temple during the event. Write on the walls, leave a shrine to your dearly-departed, leave your old diaries, grieve. You don’t have to, but it is a truly wonderful thing to have a space for emotion at a festival. The Temple doesn’t belong to any religion. It means what you want it to mean. Please be respectful of other people’s offerings. Do not deface them. Show some empathy. The Temple burns on the Sunday night. Unlike the epic Effigy burn party of the night before, the Temple is about quiet reflection. Silence is part of the process of letting go.
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The 2018 Effigy and Temple
Construction has begun on this year’s Temple, The Temple of Perennial Bloom. The designer, BJ Wilson, has wanted to build a temple ever since his first burn. He discovered Burning Man on the internet in 1996 and longed to go, though due to a move to New Zealand from Canada he didn’t manage to actually visit Black Rock City until 2009. Coincidentally, he met Kiwiburn’s founder, Yonderman, on the playa and found out about Kiwiburn. BJ has since returned to BRC five times, joining Stalker Camp, founding Affectionate Anarchy and most recently following The Giant Weta to the playa in 2016 after helping build her in Auckland.
This year will mark BJ’s eighth Kiwiburn. He was osmotically assumed by Camp F*ck Yeah in 2011 and the following year abandoned his art car plan, bringing the carcass to the Paddock in its static alternative form, The Mini Bar. Auckland Burners are familiar with the bar and BJ’s famous punch – a staple of the Auckland Decompression and Precompression parties.
Temple provides a space for consideration, reflection, celebration and closure. BJ swells with gratitude as he relates how each temple ritualistically impels him to mark rites of passage, celebrate his loved ones, embrace internal questions and notate the annual chapters of his own personal growth. Temple burn night has become his de facto New Year’s Day.
The Temple of Perennial Bloom’s design has a botanical motif which first sprouted in BJ’s mind during his drive to Kiwiburn 2017. Fertile with metaphor, the design aims to plant a seed in the Temple-goer’s mind, offering a chance to consider their roots, their growth, their soil, how they’ve bloomed and how they reach out to the light.
And construction is about to begin on the 2018 Effigy, also at the Auckland Burners’ Space in Mt Eden. The designer and Team Lead is Andrew Benson, who has been attending Burning Man and Kiwiburn since 2011. In recent years he has taken a more active role in making art. Co-pilot and co-builder of Kiwiburn’s first official art car, ‘The Flaming Tea Cup’, he also helped brew the Cup’s beer and cider!
More recently, Benson was the designer of the ‘The Giant Weta’, the incredible steel bug built by a team in Auckland and shipped to the playa, then back again. Inspired by this grand achievement, or bitten by the creative bug, he went all out and put in a (successful) proposal to build the Effigy for 2018. He’s keeping the design under wraps for now so we all get a surprise.
We cannot wait to share in both of these experiences on the Paddock!