AS- IF SHRINE : BURNING MAN 2017
The AS - IF shrine takes its inspiration from Chinese philosophy - Confucianism.
It is a shrine to celebrate Confucius and his theories on rituals and the importance that they hold in cultivating humaneness.
This year's Burning Man theme is Radical Rituals. After attending an insightful lecture on Confucianism by leading Harvard professor Michael Puett, I was inspired to perform my own AS-IF moment by submitting a design for one of 30 shrines that will support this year's theme and the man pavilion. I was lucky enough to be awarded an art grant to build my design. Michael Puett's lecture explained Confucius's philosophy on rituals and how performing the every day little rituals with more meaning results in developing better sides of ourselves which has a greater impact on other's and society.
The AS-IF Shrine is a small pocket of order offering a quiet ritual space within the larger ritual space of Burning Man. It enshrines simple Confucian ideals educating through illustration, symbolism and quotations. It is a plywood hexagon structure made up of an intricate laser cut design. The shrine will have a small set of steps leading to it so that an individual can crawl in and use the shrine as a meditative space. Surrounding the shrine are four resin and wood totem poles designed around the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. On top of the shrine there will be a sphere representing the fragmented world that we live in. Participants will find ritual prayer tags at the shrine which they can attach to the structure. These tags and other offering will change the tapestry of the shrine through out the event.
The shrine is a celebration to this year's theme of Rituals. Through rituals better relationships can develop, enabling the cultivation of goodness and releasing haunting negative energies.The AS-IF Shrine represents reflecting on moments centred in our everyday messy world that over time go on to create new realities and new worlds.
Burning man has become a yearly ritual for myself and my friends at Panda Camp. It is a time when I break away from the everyday. Each year I try to participate in a new reality, to develop better emotional sides of myself. It creates a short lived alternative reality that returns us to our regular life slightly altered. These AS-IF moments lead to enhancing ourselves and bettering relationships. I hope that the shrine both at the festival and to the individual that knows about the project will be inspired to carry out the everyday little rituals with more meaning and purpose and to push themselves to participate in their own AS-IF moments.
"Our lives begin in the everyday and stay in the everyday. Only in the everyday can we begin to create truly great worlds." -Professor Michael Puett Christine Gross - Lohwww.asifshrine.com
Use of funds
Burning Man is a non profit organisation which hold itself to the ten principles.
Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, leave no trace, Participation, Immediacy
One of the most important features of the festival is the art, each year there is an impressive display of inspiring art installations that are constructed for the pleasure and enjoyment of others to see. This art continues to inspire the world through other mediums beyond the desert whether that be online, articles or community projects re-homing the art afterwards.
This project is partially funded by Burning Man festival, which is an amazing gift but will only cover a proportion of the build. One of the hardest things overseas artists face is the logistics of building art in another country not to mention it being in the middle of the desert. There is no room for error or popping down to the local DIY store. Contribution to this project will go towards materials, fabrication costs and transportation to the desert. A lot of time and effort has gone into organising this project so its build goes as smooth as possible. Please support in anyway that you can by funding or passing this page on. Be your radical self and radically include yourself in cultivating towards something amazing. By funding this project you are already participating in so much of what the festival stands for. If you can not be there in person you can still become part of helping to make it a reality.
Funds at 70%
From attending the festival many times before and being part of previous build crews for structures and art in the desert I have a good understating of the process and what it will take for the project to be achieved. I have a good network of people that can help and being a resourceful individual if it comes to a point where I have only reached 70% of the funds I will resort to making changes and scaling back some aspects of the design. This project means a great deal to me and I will make sure I achieve the goal of making it happen.
Hurdles & Hopes
My biggest hope for this project is for it to inspire people to educate themselves on the importance that philosophy can have on us and society. I hope that Confucius’s question of 'how are you living your life on a daily basis’ will make people think.
What everyday social conventions do you carry out by rote, that could be performed with more purpose? It could be the small everyday ritual of buying a morning coffee and asking the person serving you how they are? Or being more present with family members at the dinner time ritual.
I also hope that it might inspire the individual to take on new AS—IF moments. This could be putting yourself in the perspective of “the other person” when faced with a confrontation or performing a new self and taking up that hobby you have always wanted to do.
This and of course building my own As-If moment are my hopes for the project.
My biggest hurdle is engaging people in understanding the importance of this art, especially if they have never attended the festival and the importance of the struggle artists face when building art in the desert.