London comes to Burning Man

London. Black Rock. City. We brought you news of this way back in January, when Whatsblem the Pro conducted an in-depth interview with London BRC’s Alan McCann.

Now the Daily Mail in the UK has picked up the story:

A group of artists are planning to set the Houses of Parliament ablaze but this time Guy Fawkes won’t be around.

Instead, the visionaries plan to build replicas of London’s Tower Bridge, the House of Commons and the Tower of London at the Burning Man arts gathering in the Nevada desert this summer.

Though the impressive installation will cost top dollar and take hours to construct, it will all go up in flames at the end of the experimental arts event, keeping in line with the festival’s motto to leave no trace.

Lead designer Alan McCann plans to recreate some of the most iconic sites from his homeland at the Burning Man festival in Nevada

For Queen and Country: The artists want the more than 50,000 people who gather at the arts festival in Nevada to experience the significant sites fundamental to British culture

Alan McCann, a Dublin native, is leading the project to bring London’s most iconic sites to the week-long annual event in the Black Rock Desert, 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada.

Though initially a Burning Man skeptic, Mr McCann attended the gathering in 2012 and became a believer.

‘The beauty is you always come back to a blank canvas,’ he said in a promotional video for the effort about how he decided to bring a bit of London to the southwest.

After admiring the displays from the 2012 gathering, which included a replica of Wall Street, he realized the wisdom of destroying the art installations at the end of the event because it provides a clean slate for new ideas to be born.

‘My background being from the UK, I really wanted to plant something from where I’m from on the playa and I have a strong heritage that I’d really like to bring to the playa.’

The plan to recreate the UK monuments includes four phases with a pricetag of $20,000.

First on the schedule is the construction of a working House of Commons.

Hoping the place will be ‘energetic, vibrant, loud’ and a center of debate, the artists want people who can’t voice their opinions in their home countries to experience a forum where ideas are freely exchanged.

The second phase is the construction of the full Houses of Parliament, with an Ale House, an indoor theater and spaces to display portraits of Britain’s most celebrated monarchs and historical figures.

Next is the construction of Tower Bridge, which will include an actual drawbridge that will open and close in order to allow art projects to pass under the suspension bridge.

Though the bridge will stand over sand instead of the River Thames, the designer hopes visitors will sit on the bridge and imagine the cool water beneath them.

Last is the construction of the Tower of London, showing the darker side of the city’s history with its dungeons and even a brothel – which seems like a welcome design for those festival goers for whom the event is just a week long orgy and drug fest.

Mr McCann has joined forces with nine other enthusiasts to help make this project become a reality.

Under the auspices of Fractured Atlas, a UK based non-profit, they are raising money for their LondonBRC project. 

via London comes to Burning Man! Artists plan to construct full-scale working models of the House of Commons, Tower Bridge and Big Ben¿. just to set fire to it all at the end of the festival | Mail Online.

If they really wanted to bring the best of London to Burning Man, they should open a Hakkasan and build a replica Stamford Bridge. Maybe throw in Selfridge’s and Cyberdog, those convenient taxis everywhere and some pouting Eastern European supermodels.

Is this another overly-ambitious Burning Man pipe dream, being overhyped in the media before it’s even remotely being built? Anyone notice how Bliss Dance didn’t need to do this? London BRC certainly need some help in their Indiegogo project, I think most Americans feel that we already helped you guys out in World War II, so why should we do it again? But perhaps some of the UK Burners would like to chip in to make this project a reality.


4 comments on “London comes to Burning Man

  1. I totally agree Squachek!
    I respect and admire Alan McCann’s passion and energy and anyone else who brings big ideas to the Playa. But I thought Burn Wall street was weak, poorly conceived and poorly executed – it was like pandering to the masses. This concept has the same problems except it’s more like bringing Disneyworld to the playa. What next? ..a reproduction Red Square? a White House?
    I think Alan should check out a few more Burns and scale it down a bit initially. Maybe just come up with a new concept for a debating chamber?

  2. Spectacular large-scale art is great, but huge boxes like this are boring as hell and really wasteful compared with artistic and technical accomplishments like Bliss Dance, last year’s spectacular Temple, Charon, 2008’s Rubber Duck, Walking Beast, Pulpo, EGO with the cool take-home fired art component, Zonotopia, Robot Heart…the list goes on. This project doesn’t have anything to do with the Cargo Cult theme, it’s not innovative in any way, and it’s going to end up as a pale shadow of this presentation because there’s zero chance that a $20k budget will allow them to source and ship materials and build plans of this scale and finish.

    Further, why does literally everything have to be burned now? Zonotopia and Otic Oasis are wooden but don’t burn, they collapse into a really small shipping footprint so they’re less environmentally impactful, and they’re modular so they can provide the cornerstone for expansion. How about re-using materials for future projects or donating it to BwB?

    Given the positive impact these millions of burned dollars could have on the world, I think playa artists need to hold themselves to a higher standard. If London BRC really wants to have an impact on the world, they could spend, say, $5000 to make one really cool tower, and then use the remaining $15k to develop a clever way to teach kids about British architecture.

    Sorry to be a cranky naysayer. I’m using this post as my DPW application.

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