This year, we will create a caravansary that occupies the crossroads of a dreamland: a bazaar of the bizarre, wherein treasures of every sort, from every land and age, flow in and out to be flaunted, lost, exploited and discovered. This is not a tourist destination, but a home for travelers who come here bearing gifts. Amid the twisting and the turnings of its souk, participants will come upon an inexhaustible array of teeming goods and unexpected services.
Anyone may pose as ‘merchant’ here, and anyone may play a ‘customer’, but nothing in this strange emporium shall have a purchase price — no quid, no pro, no quo — no trade at all will be allowed in this ambiguous arcade. According to a rule of desert hospitality, the only thing of value in this ‘marketplace’ will be one’s interaction with a fellow being.
Our desert inn will also be a scene of luxury and cultivated ease. An apron of fine carpets will spread out beneath the shade of portals that surround a courtyard. Here, travel-wearied pilgrims may relax, inventing pastimes as they watch the whirling world go by.
Workers of great wonders will be welcome here; fakirs, dancers, sadhus, seers and potentates will throng through this performance space, like figures that adorn the fabric of a silk brocade. The sounds of finger cymbals, chimes, and music of acoustic instruments will fill the air.
By night, bathed in the lambent glow of lanterns gently swaying overhead, fire spinners will perform around the Burning Man. This year’s Man will rise directly from the desert floor and tower many stories high. Its massive torso will evoke a tiered pagoda; its ornate head will be a lamp that welcomes people home.
Bystanders become participants; participants share in the burning, spinning cacophony on the virtual Playa.