Slightly Off Center
—by Dennis Hinkamp
Why would anyone build a giant shark that you can drive around with 50 people in it? Why build a typewriter the size of a house or a temple that takes three weeks to build only to be burned to the ground?
Why would any sane organization build a city with streets, a fire department, medical centers, Department of Public Works and 10 radio stations that only functions for a week? And why drag all this 100 miles from the nearest Starbucks-sized town? Because, why not?
I have been attending and writing about Burning Man for 18 consecutive years now and I’m still not sure what it is. That is the beauty of it. Though thousands have tried, There’s no correct set of words to describe it. It shouldn’t exist at all because it serves little function other than to allow people to express themselves in ways not always be acceptable outside this context. Yes of course that may include some unpleasant and offensive ways but there is far more whimsy than darkness; more creativity than crazy; more of the sublime than shocking. Burning Man is not perfect but it is a near perfect attempt.
It’s hot, dusty and downright miserable for at least four hours of the day. Everything you bring back from there is permanently stamped, if not ruined, by the alkaline Black Rock Desert dust. So why would you even want to go? Because why not?
Dennis Hinkamp hopes these photos give you a taste of the “why not?”