Enlightenment 悟, a 16 foot-high wooden man sitting atop a lotus flower base, offered participants a space to gather, meditate, reflect, and connect.
Enlightenment was sited within the Circle of Regional Effigies, surrounding the main Burning Man and achieved transcendence via immolation on Thursday, August 29, 2013, in the world’s largest synchronized art burn.
Constructed by a team with roots in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Enlightenment was among the first collaborative Asian installations to appear at Burning Man. The lotus flower was constructed from an eight-sided ba gua 八卦 wooden frame accented with unique cloth petals hand-drawn in Shanghai. LED ribbon lights illuminated the edges–one circling the interior of the alcove, and the other on the outside below the lotus petals. Incense and offerings were placed and burned inside and around the piece.
The structure was large enough for people to enter, allowing about seven people sitting cross-legged in a semi-circle to fit comfortably inside, where participants could touch their finger to a heartbeat sensor attached to a LED light controller. The lights were designed to glow synchronously with the participant’s heartbeat.
Photos courtesy of Kenny Yu