CATHARSIS – A NEW MUNICIPAL BUILDING AT BURNING MAN

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
— Buckminster Fuller

ABOUT

Catharsis is an art project that will begin at Burning Man 2020 before being reinstalled and developed in new locations. The main structure is a new type of municipal building and collaborative artwork, the first of its kind to exist as part of a Burning Man Art Camp.

Alongside the structure, an interactive program of events will create a supportive space for cathartic processes, setting up various access points for creative engagement that build upon Burning Man’s radical approach to city planning.

Through the use of art, ritual performances, civic discussion, and meditative sauna experiences, Catharsis will explore how the power of these engagements can re-map consciousness and help us to re-envision our future cities.

DESIGN

Catharsis is designed by Architect Arthur Mamou- Mani, creator of the renowned Temple Galaxia at Burning Man, 2018 and Director of Mamou-Mani Architects. It will contain a fractal amphitheater and forum providing infinite possibilities to all artists. The project’s geometry is based on the Poincare disk, giving a model of the hyperbolic plane in which, the edge is infinite and where curves are shorter than straight lines. Using Roman amphitheaters and baths as a starting point, the Catharsis main structure will have a misting theatre where talks and events will be held to activate transformative mechanisms within BRC itself. In line with the Burning Man 2020 Multiverse theme, the structure is an amphitheater made of amphitheaters in which everyone is a potential performer.

Seven branches will create different universes filled with art by a range of International artists from a variety of disciplines. The journey will start with seven arched benches to park bikes and perform before entering one of the eight outdoor stages within columns or in the seven misting rooms leading to our lotus-root like art galleries. Nets above the stages will provide spaces to rest and exchange thoughts whilst providing unique views. Catharsis aims to activate creativity through multi-dimensional art for all of our senses. Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch are the layers of our perception creating our shared multiverse. Unlike previous Burning Man structures, Catharsis will continue its life beyond Black Rock City and used as a platform for future events around the world in the spirit of a new circular economy.

CURATORIAL CONCEPT

Catharsis is the purgation of emotions experienced through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration. The Catharsis interactive program aims to generate self-revelation and foster deep connections on a collective and environmental level. With new perspectives and insight, we have the potential to reimagine our future cities and how we can thrive within them, aligning our ways of being with sustainable living, nature and creativity.

The Catharsis misting theatre will create a setting for amplifying the symbolic dimension of Catharsis whilst cultivating transformative mechanisms within BRC itself. It will host events and a series of talks bringing together experts from a range of fields to discuss urgent and diverse topics concerned with sustainability and the future of our cities. The program will involve:

  • Visual art, media & performance art
  • Food art, with interactive tasting and cooking workshops
  • ‘Thermic talks’
  • Yoga, meditation & healing rituals
  • Sustainable living workshops

WHO WE ARE

Catharsis is co-created by artists and creative thinkers from a range of widespread disciplines who believe in building sustainable change through collective action.

The project will be led by architect and university tutor Arthur Mamou-Mani and will be co-curated by Svetlana Marich and Mikolaj Sekutowicz with the aim to connect artists from the default world and the Burning Man community around the topics of creativity and the future of our cities.

Arthur Mamou-Mani

Arthur Mamou-Mani (b. Paris, lives in London) is an architect and director of Mamou-Mani Architects. He has taught parametric design tools, digital fabrication as well as environmental and structural simulation at many leading academic bodies such as the Architectural Association School of Architecture and the UCL-Bartlett.

Mamou-Mani Architects helps people and companies to create inspiring spaces, product and visuals. They are an award-winning and international RIBA chartered practice with a fabrication facility called FabPub and have strong experience in digital technologies.
Mikolaj Sekutowicz

As Curator of Therme Art, Mikolaj Sekutowicz brings his unique artistic perspective and curatorial expertise to develop the immersive experiences and cultural program at Catharsis. Through his direction, Catharsis will function as an experiential and multi-disciplinary creative hub at Burning Man.
Svetlana Marich

Svetlana Marich is a curator, writer, and contemporary art expert. She is the Worldwide Deputy Chairman of Phillips Auction House, and the co-founder of Malevich.io, a curated online art trading platform built on blockchain technology. She will curates Catharsis’ program of art exhibitions, selecting artists and artworks that augment the Catharsis experience.