whatisburningman sectional graphic

1998 PERFORMANCES

Nebulous Entity (art installation/performance)

The nebulous entity is a mobile platform. The strategy of its structural and human design is to create a hyper-active interface between performers and participants. The entity will consist of four parts:

  • A central tower that will house a generator, lighting and sound system, laser and other equipment.
  • The moving platform and stage set, on which the tower is mounted.
  • Numerous and extensive tentacles that surround the platform at and above ground level.
  • Single and free-moving performers who will accompany the tentacles

In general appearance the entity will resemble a fluorescent form of sea life. It undulates in all its motions and it glows. All performers will be costumed or painted with fluorescent elements and other portable light sources. Like creatures of a coral reef, they form a significant part of the entities living architecture. At least six interactive performance stations will be located around the periphery of the platform and these will be flanked by tentacles. The entities' principle and most prominent tentacle will be borne overhead by tentacle bearers, allowing freedom of movement beneath them. The tentacles will extend to a distance of 40 to 50 feet. Cilia, Suckers and Feelers will inhabit the inner surface of each tentacle. It will be their job to gather participants in, like the lapping cilia of a sea creature that is feeding.

Feelers, their bodies bristling like sea urchins with luminous antenna, will sweep people into this current and suction cups or Suckers will take over, gently conveying participants to a performance station. Here, stage based performers will paint or stamp a florescent signs upon whatever part of their anatomy participants prefer (This sign will be a reverse or mirror-image question mark. Written freely, it will resemble Sanskrit. It will symbolize the fact that the participant has been drained of all information). As soon as each person has been painted they will be gently drawn out again and flushed, like roe, back into the surrounding space.

By means of our moving stage and through the actions of performers stationed on the ground, it is our goal to interact with the largest number of people possible. It will also be the goal of all performers attached to the entity to move in a coordinated manner, thus creating the illusion that the entity functions as a single and centrally animated life form. When viewed aerially, the entity will closely resemble those galaxies known as spiral nebula.

Days previous to the first appearance of the entity, detached groups of nebulous (field operatives) will infiltrate our city, minutely investigating all that they encounter as they suction information. These operations may be conducted at any time. The entity itself will only appear at night and will premier on Saturday night, traversing a course amid the art installations located in the public space of the playa fronting the Esplanade. It will move like a cursor upon a computer screen as it steers between these attractions, pausing briefly at each. Interactive scenarios will be be developed and played out at these stations. Having completed this survey, it will then trace a circular orbit around Burning Man. Finally, a deputation of nebulous will parade to the pyramidal platform which supports the Man. A laser and fireworks will be employed at the climax of this phase of the performance. On Sunday night, the evening of the Burn, the entity will reappear at the periphery of the crowd assembled to view the Burn. Once the Man has fallen, it will draw this audience away, siphoning existing crowds and leading participants toward other attractions.