Last Updated on August 19, 2023

The Temple of the Heart is a large-scale art installation that will be built at Burning Man 2023, the first physical Temple at the festival in three years.

The structure was designed by Ela Madej and Reed Finlay Design, and it is made of wood, flowers, and Eastern European lacing. The temple is intended to be a place for people to connect with their hearts and to heal from grief and loss.

The temple will be open from Sunday, August 27, 2023 to Monday, September 4, 2023. It is located in the center of Black Rock City, when the festival takes place.

Named ‘Temple of the Heart,’ the structure takes the form of an upside-down desert flower, designed by Polish-born lead artist Ela Madej and California-based co-lead Reed Finlay.

This temple aims to be a space for reflection, resolution, release, and renewal, and it’s definitely gonna make a statement.

Design rendering of the exterior of the Temple
Design rendering of the exterior of the Temple. Source: Ela Madej and Reed Finlay

Temple of the Heart

The Temple of the Heart is an intricate structure, designed to resemble an upside-down desert flower. The floral lace patterns used on the ceiling panels and cladding pay homage to Ela Madej’s Polish heritage, creating a unique aesthetic that’s sure to catch the eye. With a long, prominent spire reaching skyward, it doubles as both a beacon and a sundial.

The temple is built on a 12-star base that forms a central gathering space known as the Heart Chamber. In the center of this chamber is the Rose Altar, a beautiful decorative element that emits a soft light.

The Rose Altar is going to be filled with around 100 large and medium-sized roses, as well as smaller flowers designed by volunteers and community members. At night, the temple is going to glow warmly, providing those seeking comfort and tranquility the feeling of being ‘near a heart, wrapped in love.’

The Heart Chamber is surrounded by a walled outer ring, containing 12 niches with built-in seating. This space provides a place for reflection, movement, and stillness.

The four entrances are surrounded by an ornamental fence with corresponding gates, creating a courtyard that surrounds the main building. Each gate is crowned by additional wooden roses, making the temple an eye-catching work of art.

According to Burning Man representatives, the selection committee is “thrilled” to have a woman as the lead artist for this year’s temple. The temple’s feminine aesthetic and exquisite floral motifs are going to be beautiful elements, both up close and from across the playa, day and night. It’s also relatively modest in scale, allowing for many offerings from the community without pushing to be bigger than ever. It strikes a balance between tradition and environmental sustainability, making it the perfect choice for Burning Man 2023.

Selecting the temple for Black Rock City is a challenging decision, as it must be creative, beautiful, and simple, but also safe and sustainable. The Temple of the Heart ticks all of these boxes and more, making it a standout choice for Burning Man 2023. With its intricate design, stunning floral motifs, and warm glow, the Temple of the Heart is sure to be a memorable part of this year’s festival.

Design rendering of the interior of the Heart Chamber
Design rendering of the interior of the Heart Chamber. Source: Ela Madej and Reed Finlay

Burning Man 2023: ANIMALIA

Get ready to join thousands of people from around the world in creating a temporary city that celebrates community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. The annual event, Burning Man, will take place from August 27th to September 4th in 2023 with the theme ANIMALIA.

The theme is intended to explore the mental constructs that allow us to believe that imagined animals are real and real animals are imagined, as well as the belief that humans are somehow separate from the animal kingdom.

The festival is a showcase of the human imagination and creativity, and the theme of ANIMALIA provides a rich source of inspiration for artists, builders, performers, and attendees. From ancient myths and fairy tales to modern television, there is a long history of animals that speak and act like humans, which will be reflected in the installations and performances at Burning Man 2023.

The theme also highlights the traditions of tonalism, where every human has an animal counterpart, and astrology, where the sign of the lion or the monkey is thought to shape one’s innate character. It is also related to the tradition of shape-shifting or therianthropy, which can be seen in forms such as werewolves, nagual, and kumiho.

The festival provides a platform for a variety of animals, both real and imagined, to be brought to life and celebrated. The 1.5 million identified species of animals and the potential for millions more yet to be discovered are a testament to the boundless creativity and imagination of the natural world. The festival will showcase this diversity and encourage attendees to reflect on the relationship between humans and animals, both real and imagined.

As always, Burning Man is a place where attendees can connect with each other, with the environment, and with their own creativity, and the theme of ANIMALIA provides a unique opportunity for exploring the boundaries between humans and animals, and the ways in which these lines blur and intersect.


Read also: Desert Festivals in the US

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