Burning Man 2008 Preview: Hippies, Robots, Crazy Cars and Flaming Fine Art

Once again, the week before Labour day brings offbeat art lovers from around the world to Black Rock City, Nevada, for a seven-day event that immerses the senses in radical artistic self-expression. Actually, its pretty hard to describe Burning Man unless you have actually been to one, but it is certainly a far cry from the stuffy art museum atmosphere most of us are familiar with. Plus, there are enough flaming gadgets to keep any nerd entertained. Hit the jump to see some of the unique projects on display this year.

Other projects to look out for:

I Heart Lamp by Blue Lake Iron Works by Joel 'Fatboy' Brown, Mark 'F St' Whitman, Spike Foster, Tisha 'Mortisha' Sloan: "I Heart Lamp is a super-size sculpture of grandma's living room floor lamp. More than 10 metres tall, the lamp sits on the playa as a reminder of the cushy living rooms that are the American Dream for the mainstream, but with a twist to fit other dreams. Made from a scavenged Douglas Fir pole and recycled box pipe and lumber, this lamp, besides being surrealistically large, does not contain an electric light bulb. This lamp is lit by a propane fire cannon that turns on the same way the light would... when someone pulls the chain hanging from under the lampshade almost 20 feet in the air." (It may also be an homage to the movie Anchorman. I hated the movie, but anything Steve Carell says is OK in my book.)

PlaySoundGround by Sasha Leitman and Michael St. Clair: "PlaySoundGround is an adult-sized playground that is also a musical instrument. It consists of three large pieces: a merry-go-round, a slide, and a teeter-totter. These pieces are equipped with sensors that convert the motion of play into music. The installation provides an arena for chaotic improvisations, synesthetic experiences and pointless fun."

SOL by Alex Nolan and Justin Grant: "SOL is a groundbreaking piece of kinetic art, pushing the limits of sound, vision and motion in art. The sculpture is a nearly 25' tall robot, sensing the location and motion of nearby observers to track them with a highly directional sound system. The work is powered by an array of solar panels, drawing energy the sun to fuel its sensory output."

Tetrion by Jim Abrams: "The Tetrion is a tremendous representation of the pieces from the original Tetris game."

[Burning Man Image of 2008 Burning Man designed by Rod Garrett and Larry Harvey]

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