Project Aikido
Black Rock City

Project Aikido - Black Rock City

The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression. Burning Man Arts acts on the belief that community-driven, inclusive and interactive art is vital to a thriving culture. Through art grants, mentorship, and art management programs, Burning Man Arts supports the creation of impactful, interactive artwork around the world and at Burning Man.

Despite the many successful art installations in Burning Man, Africa has been underrepresented. Usha Seejarim’s “Ressurrection of the Clothes Peg” in August 2022 was the first major African art installation at Burning Man. On that note, the Sao Foundation and 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair would like to support the application of one African artist to exhibit at Black Rock City, the ephemeral town that exists for only one week each year, during Burning Man, from 27 August to 4 September 2023.


Deadline to apply: 7 November 2022

Full application can be found here!


Artwork must be sufficiently secured against high winds and intense weather conditions that often arise on the playa. If there are guy wires that are necessary to the construction they must be flagged.

Artwork must be sufficiently illuminated at night, including rebar, guy wires and any other part of the installation that somebody could crash into. This includes lighting build materials before finishing creating the art installation. Note that it’s a good idea to use something that cannot be stolen or removed.

To prevent irreparable environmental damage, no holes larger than three feet by one foot in either direction may be dug in the playa surface.

Live plants are not allowed at Burning Man.

Large scale sound art is confined to the 10:00 and 2:00 edges of our city. Art installations on the open playa may contain ambient sound elements that are integral to the installation, but we do not allow DJs, sound systems, DJ booths, or any kind of amplified dance music in the art area. Why not? Electronic music permeates our city, and the open playa is one place that is free of it. Some installations require a quiet area, and amplified music makes that impossible. With the nature of the open desert, sound carries far and wide very easily. If you are creating an art installation that contains amplified music, it must be located on or in front of the 10:00 or 2:00 edge of our city, and must adhere to our sound policy.


Creating art on the playa of Black Rock City is like no canvas or gallery that you may have ever experienced before. The challenges are many. You must consider the extreme physical conditions of the desert, the logistics of transporting building materials and equipment to this remote desert site, and the difficulty of maintaining tools and equipment in a place that has no service grid or ready market of resources.

You must also consider the inherently chaotic nature of Black Rock City itself. All of these challenges are aspects of the medium in which you are working, so plan carefully and be patient. Your creation may not happen in precisely the way you envision it, and that’s okay. The struggle to adapt and to survive is an essential part of this experience and can lead to unexpected discoveries, both about your art as well as yourself.


We challenge you to create something that will inspire, engage, question, puzzle, amuse, seduce and otherwise influence the citizens of Black Rock City. Interactive art is our particular obsession. Interactive work convenes society around itself. It generates roles. It provokes actions. It transforms participants into active contributors to a creative process.

The art work must be of significant scale and be assembled and fabricated in the United states. The proposal should include the production of an edition of 10 replicas and if required miniatures. The foundation can also support the production of NFT’s.

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