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THE OTIC OASIS: A New Civic Refuge – BURNING MAN 2011

THE OTIC OASIS: A New Civic Refuge – BURNING MAN 2011

There is one constant at Burning Man and that is the ubiquitous thump/thump of the deep bass beat of the electronic/trance/Burning Man branded music. Unbelievably, in such a vast arena, air space has become a premium. As the event’s population has grown to 50,000 and higher, the sounds pumping from massive DJ speakers have filled all the remote crevasses of Black Rock City, and it has been virtually impossible to find a quiet space to escape these sound blasts and commune with our internal and external environments. But we bring you hope! This year we hope to install an oasis in a zone free of motorized vehicles and loud amplified music, lights, and energy: the walk-in camping area of BRC. Larry Harvey had the insight years ago to preserve this area, so there still remains within our City a tableau where the aural options are in keeping with the indigenous stillness and aesthetics of the Black Rock desert.

The OTIC OASIS (o•tic [oh-tik,ot-ik] –adjective. Anatomy, of or pertaining to the ear.) is comprised of a 35-foot geometric cluster structure that provides shade, shelter, comfort and individualized spaces for quiet and contemplation of our natural surroundings. The OTIC OASIS is made completely of interlocking wood, with no nails, glue or metal fasteners, with the struts fastened together with patented “connectors” that fit together in an ingenious manner, and provide a great deal of strength and support. It will be a crystalline structure of interwoven modules for individual, as well as group use. Sound familiar to our Burning Man ethos? The “burningmimicry” and biomimicry of the design will complement the Black Rock Desert backdrop and offer a manmade structure that takes inspiration from the rocks, mountains, caves, and plateaus found in nature.

This project was created by The Connection Crew – a group of artists, architects, dreamers, thinkers and community members who coalesced when they perceived a need in Black Rock City for a tranquil desert sanctuary. Following the traditional pilgrim’s journey in the pre-dawn moments to the perimeter fence at 12:00 to await the activating rays of the sunrise, they found themselves somehow in the orbit of large art cars playing Sunrise Sets in the same location. Though the music was captivating, it interfered with the activating. So a few pilgrims wandered, in a trek to find a location that still maintained its primitive condition, and stumbled into the quiet mecca of a reserved parkland — the walk-in camping area. It was obvious that the spiritual travelers that will make the journey to this remote area would need shelter from the sun and wind, as well as comfort, carpets, places to lean on, and the idea for the Otic Oasis was born. Artist and architect Gregg Fleishman – who has been building geometric wooden interlocking structures based on natural mathematical curves and shapes — designed the most incredible refuge, to provide both solace and solitude.
The Connection Crew hopes to bring the civic space of the Otic Oasis back each year, helping it grow and flourish like a desert flower.

The OTIC OASIS can be reached only by foot or bike, enhancing the desert calm. And in keeping with the walk-in regulations of this area, all materials will be hand-carted in to the Oasis’ wilderness location, and it will be erected without use of any motorized vehicles.

If embraced by the community, the OTIC OASIS is intended to be a perennial structure: to return each year, as the Center Camp Cafe does, to continue to provide shade and shelter to weary travelers who might require a bit of tranquility in order to recharge. In future years, we hope other artistic pioneers will provide art in keeping with the OTIC OASIS’ intent, as “slow art” naturally populates this terrain.

The Connection Crew, composed of artists, builders and dreamers in both Los Angeles and the Bay Area, plans to enhance the OTIC OASIS in subsequent years, adding seating and other comforts to assist citizens to find even more diversity from our city’s ever evolving options.

With your help, the Connection Crew can not only create the OTIC OASIS, but we can help build a civic center that will continue to grow and blossom each year. Donations may be tax-deductible, since the OTIC OASIS is fiscally sponsored by the non-profit The Immediate Life, Inc., due to the Oasis’ civic, spiritual, environmental and educational nature. This initial funding is necessary to procure all tools and materials for the Oasis structure, and to set up our construction base. We will continue to fundraise until our departure for Playa, but making a donation now is essential to provide liftoff to this civic project.

Click here to support this project.


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