Burning Man 2016 Theme: Da Vinci’s Workshop

Author : Jennifer Liu
October 27, 2015

Burning Man 2016 Theme: Da Vinci’s Workshop


“Five centuries later, we will attempt to recreate this potent social alchemy by combining Burning Man art, maker culture and creative philanthropy to make Black Rock City the epicenter of a new renaissance.” – Larry Harvey and Stuart Mangrum

The Burning Man organization has announced the art theme for next year’s Burn, titled Da Vinci’s Workshop. The theme is of course inspired by the fundamental inventiveness and social ideas of artisanship of the Italian Renaissance during much of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Renaissance can be considered the quintessential art period that is taught in pretty much every art and art history class around the world, so it is proper for Burning Man to dive into the roots of Western art’s greatest movement.

The Renaissance established the foundation toward technological advancement, the philosophy of rationalism, and eventually lead to the Enlightenment; it was the nexus that allowed Europe to move into modernity, thus redefining Western civilization. The 2016 theme focuses on the artist as a central voice for change, leading society through inspiration, creativity, craft, and the propagation of new ideas and methods.

The theme will mirror Black Rock City with the epicenter of the Renaissance, Florence, in both geographic and cultural aspects. Class barriers disappear for the sake of creation, and there is a respectfully established unity between art and science. The proposed design for The Man is modeled after Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and the Golden Ratio, and the interactive “Turning Man” will be able to rotate a full 360 degrees on a vertical plane by a system of human-powered gears and pulleys, an ode to the rudimental technologies that made man an immensely progressive species.