Tuesday, September 17, 2002
Steamboat Springs One week ago, 25,000 people gathered in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada for a festival known as "Burning Man." The name comes from the culminating event when thousands gather around a gigantic effigy and set it on fire.
The festival is billed as a celebration of human expression.
At 8 p.m. today, a few Steamboat Springs residents who went to the festival are going to bring an abridged version of the experience to the parking lot of the Depot.
Michael Moss and the performers of Highfire received a permit from the city to fill a large steel cauldron with wood and light it.
The sculpture is designed to look like an anchor with two chutes at the top that explode with flames when it is lit. As the steel heats, the metal turns bright red.
Drummers will perform and Highfire will spin fire around the burning sculpture that was created by Atlanta artist Charlie Smith.
Smith donated the piece to the city of Steamboat Springs via his friend Moss, whom he met at last year's Burning Man.
The piece is called "The Gantry" and is part of a larger piece called,"ENcompassMENT."
The work is a made of four steel containers representing each of the four directions. "The Gantry" is the southern section of the sculpture that surrounded the large Burning Man effigy, destroyed at the height of the festival.
Each of the four sections was sent to different parts of the country.
After the initial burning, "The Gantry" will rest in its permanent home visible from U.S. 40 near Steamboat II.
Today, it sits chained in front of the Depot its belly full of the ashes from the Nevada unveiling.
Every year, the Burning Man Festival has a theme and all participants are asked to contribute to the theme artistically through installations or costumes.
This year's "Nautical" theme is reflected in "Gantry."
It is designed to rock back and forth on gliders like a burning ship at sea.
By the end of the performance, the sculpture will consume as much as a cord of wood, Moss said.
He hopes the community will use it in the future for such events as Winter Carnival.
Its Steamboat debut marks the opening of the Depot's "Indoor Sculpture Exhibit," a juried exhibit of multimedia artists that opens Friday.
"The Gantry" will be on display for two weeks after the burning.