The Burning Man organization, host of an annual event expected to attract over 60,000 participants to a dry lakebed northeast of Reno later this month (see: http://www.burningman.org) has provided funding to an art project titled “Burn Wall Street” with the following description:
Burn Wall Street is a large scale, outdoor art installation that is sprouting powerful conversations countrywide. By bringing individuals from the Occupy and Tea Party movements together, this project asks participants to put their political identities aside in order to talk about common principles and goals for financial reform. Forged from the financial unrest and injustice that has incensed the American public, Burn Wall Street’s core intention is built on participation, one of the Ten Principles of Burning Man. . . . This art project is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, a 501c3 non-profit. . . . We see the Tea Party and the Occupy movements as very similar. They are both well-intentioned groups of Americans that know that things must change. Unfortunately, one group has been hijacked by Right-wing extremists and the other by Left-wing extremists, and both groups have been used as pawns through the use of political wedges to keep each other from the actual goal of reforming Wall Street and saving our economy. . . . So BWS is asking these disparate groups to put down their Bibles and their Communist Manifestos in order to unite, share ideas and come up with actual solutions from a rational perspective.
BWS will consist of 5 buildings and a central park. . . .
The NYSE. The main building is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Its façade will replicate the infamous porch under a giant American flag where people can dress for success and be or pretend to be 1%ers jeering at the hippies across the way. Inside the NYSE will be the stairs to the balcony and the deck where “the bell” will be wrung each morning at 9am. At that bell ringing, there will be a key note speaker who will discuss their viewpoint and present possible solutions. Every day, this guest will address one of the many issues that affect our economy. Speakers will share diverse perspectives, and each intends to provoke meaningful conversation.
The Park. The center part of the art installation is the park. We are naming this community space “Tecate Park” after the cheep Mexican beer (which conveniently rhymes with the iconic Zuccotti Park). It will be ringed by lights and benches with a bull sculpture at the front center. The bull will have internal lighting and will glow red at night. We will also be setting up a small mock encampment in the center of the park. We are confident this encampment will attract participants to protest.
The Bill of Rights. On the ground in the park and in front of the entrance to the NYSE building will be the Bill of Rights. Its location represents how bankers and traders tread on the Constitution on their way in to sell off our country. We hope that participants will take a moment to study the Bill of Rights, understand their own rights, and how this vital document is key to both the Occupiers and the Tea Party. We are particularly curious to see who goes around it to enter the NYSE, and those who tread over it. If the Bill Of Rights is in good enough condition at the end of the event, it will be donated to a high school inOakland,California, so the students can be reminded of their rights every day.
Bank of UnAmerica. To the left of the NYSE building will be the Bank of UnAmerica building. This towering red and blue building will have tellers inside to receive participants’ foreclosure notices and bank statements showing bad banking practices. Of course, we advise everyone to be radically self-reliant and black out their social security numbers on any printed material they give to us (not that we are worried about identity theft, but this art piece is all about practicality–and you are better safe than sorry). These foreclosure notices and bank statements will be glued all over the inside of the Bank of UnAmerica where they will remain until they are burned with Wall Street. The reason why they are glued on the inside is so that the Burning Man community can see how these banking practices are affecting people in our own community; participants will be able to release the negativity of their experience when the building burns. Wouldn’t you want to burn your foreclosure notice in a giant towering Bank of UnAmerica?
Goldman Sucks. To the right of the NYSE is the huge shiny Goldman Sucks building, representing the huge power that Goldman Sachs wields in our world. The inside, however, will be a giant jungle gym representing how twisted Goldman Sachs is on the inside, as they sell stocks to their customers while betting against those same stocks. If one can climb this corporate ladder, they will be rewarded with corner office view; at 72 feet, this is the highest point in Black Rock City that you can get to this year.
Merrill Lynched. In the front left will be the Merrill Lynched building, with its grand top and pristine white outside, it will house four giant murals on the inside that will be painted by different muralists whose artwork will combine at the top. These murals will be accented by four search lights pointing up inside the building that will go through the four open spaces in the roof, creating a beacon of light at night. We will be projecting images of riots and fire on the building at night.
Chaos Manhattan. The last building, at the front right, is the Chaos Manhattan building. Here, donors will be able to turn in their receipt for the collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) for Burn Wall Street bucks. But be forewarned–the Chaos Manhattan will be a bank that will also have tellers, but these tellers will be charging participants schwag (gifts people give out at Burning Man) and Burn Wall Street Bucks for outrageous things like using the pen, standing on the floor, and breathing bank air – just like banks seem to do these days. When we were young, banks paid you money in the form of interest to keep your money in their banks. Now it seems that they charge so many outrageous fees and give little, if any, literal or figurative interest. You lose money by putting it in a bank, which is wrong.
We are planning to blow the whole thing up in a spectacular show at 9pm on Friday night of the event!!! (August 31st)
All in all, this project will take around 50 people throughout three months of laborious volunteer work and about $100,000 (yes, real live money) to build.
More information on this Burning Man Funded Performance Art Project is available here:
IPR readers and other interested Third Party supporters attending this year’s Burning Man who would like to attend the August 31st 9PM show as a group, and/or meet up at Burning Man earlier in the week, are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org prior to August 25th.