Burning Man 2013

Looking beyond the sky.

Burning Man 2013


August 26-September 1, 2013


Black Rock City, Nevada

Pepe Ozan Memorial Procession


Image credit: Scott London


Our story begins in Melanesia during World War II. Thousands of American GIs suddenly descended on this South Sea island chain, bearing with them unimaginable riches: magical foodstuffs that never spoiled, inconceivable power sources. Just as abruptly the troops departed, leaving only broken, rusted Jeeps, crumpled beer cans, and the memory of Spam. To the astonished eyes of the natives, this was a miraculous occurrence, and they yearned for the return of abundance. Accordingly, they built totemic sky-craft in an attempt to summon back these Visitors and their legendary leader, the man the Melanesians called John Frum. They had formed a Cargo Cult.

This Myth of Return is no less relevant today. To put this in a modern context, what if your electricity went dead and stayed that way – would you know how to make the current flow again? Can you fix your car if it breaks down, or build yourself a new one? Like the islanders, most of us are many steps removed from the Cargo that entirely shapes our lives. We don’t know how it’s made, where it’s made, or how it works; all we can do is look beyond the sky and pray for magic that will keep consumption flowing.

Bad Unkl Sista offered processions and performance installations during its annual pilgrimage to the playa – including TEDx Black Rock City, Dustfish, and a spectacle-scale procession in memory of Pepe Ozan – while expressing this year’s theme, Cargo Cult.