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Doing the Big Rig Jig on the Playa

Discussion in 'Reality Check' started by NameLeSS, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. NameLeSS

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2005
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    Hawks landing ,Priddis
    BLACK ROCK CITY, Nevada -- Two 18-wheeler oil rigs smash into each other at Burning Man to represent the precariousness and danger of the oil economy in a piece called Big Rig Jig.

    Bigrigjig_2_2 But it's a surreal truck crash. One is nosed into the ground, its body curving in a C shape back and to the right. Its back end is smashed into the middle of another, dangling in the air with its cab facing down and its tanker curved up and to the left.

    Mike Ross, a New York sculpture artist, and a rotating crew of four to 16 friends, many also from New York, built the piece in an Oakland, California, work space called American Steel, also used for many other large-scale Burning Man projects.

    Ross had conceived the project before hearing of Burning Man's "Green Man" theme this year. He and his crew repurposed decommissioned trucks they found while driving around the San Francisco Bay Area. "We drove the trucks right into the warehouse and started chopping them to pieces," Ross says. They recombined the sections into the curled trucks now suspended in the Black Rock Desert.

    "When people stand under it and see a big truck hovering over you, it should give a sense of danger and fear and that something is wrong," Ross says. The piece also provides a real sense of constriction from the oil economy as attendees climb up the inside the tankers, crawling through what looks and feels like a truck's filthy undercarriage. They gingerly feel their way up and down through random cross pipes and structural corners, trying not to step on the hands of people below. The occasional plastic plant wrapped among the metal summons the trapped aura of nature into the cramped trucks.

    The piece received funding from Burning Man but, as is often the case, exceeded its budget. Ross and crew managed to take Big Rig Jig to completion after a plea went out through Burning Man's mailing list, generating a handful of substantial donations and hundreds of small ones. In the Burning Man spirit of art on the fly, how the piece will even leave the playa, much less where it might live afterward, is still up in the air, Ross says.

    Late Friday afternoon after interviewing Ross at the foot of his sculpture, I was stuck up inside the cavelike top of the hollow sculpture, huddling with people who called themselves Mr. Delicious, Ribbit and the Candyman. While powerful winds that shook the sculpture and turned the entire city into a thick yellow-gray mist raged outside, Mr. Delicious said he needed a double-A battery for his camera.

    A voice through the small hole in the top of the chamber startled us. An unidentified man who had climbed the outsideof the trucks and was crouched on top of the 38-foot sculpture in the wind -- a use not intended by its creators -- told us, "Sorry man, I don't have any batteries on me."

  2. Jester


    Jun 22, 2006
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  3. JB_


    Jan 1, 2007
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    Halifax NS
    Now that's neat
  4. dpwu32

    Trash elf

    Aug 25, 2003
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    Looks cool....

    ...for something hippies made... :lol:
  5. Burrahobbit

    Lebaneser Scrooge

    Mar 27, 2006
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    I am not willing to read past "...represent the precariousness and danger of the oil economy in a piece called Big Rig Jig."

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