Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fleeting Cities: Burning Man 2011 Timelapse

For something as big and powerful as a city of 50000+ to emerge and then vanish so quickly is proof that our cities could adapt to changing conditions and a cycle of temporality far more than we let them today. That nearly nothing exists there 27 days before the man burns still blows my mind. I love how the exodus appears as late day duststorms that blow away a bit more of the city each night before darkness falls.

With some very dramatic, but perfectly synchronized music, the editing of this video is superb. I love the brief pauses that highlight some the key moments and the ebb and flow of the diurnal cycles really captures the compression and expansion of time and contrast between day and night in Black Rock City. Really well done to whoever hiked the hills and devoted the effort to editing this together.

via Gawker

Embracing the temporary could be liberating, and it would further augment the great spectacles and mutual value we find in living so closely together in the cities we inhabit. What if San Francisco celebrated the transitions of the seasons with spectacles and structures that transformed public spaces like Justin Herman Plaza or Civic Center into celebratory events? Perhaps we should light up Market Street every weekend as a glowing promenade of larger than life vehicles and pedestrians celebrating the end of busy week before returning it to a bustling Financial District of business people every Monday. Maybe everyone in a Pac Heights school could trade places with a school in the Mission for a week-long annual learning exchange that shared what was great about both neighborhoods with one another. Perhaps large fog collectors could unfurl each afternoon in June July and August spanning between tall buildings to collect water before vanishing again before lunch.


  1. Haunting, ethereal, and just enough words to make sense. I really enjoyed this too, but merely let it wash over me. I like the urban planning ideas though--you run for Mayor and I'll vote for you.

  2. Thanks, Nate! Being mayor here probably isn't the quickest way to get ideas like that implemented, but it's nice to know there is momentum for changing the city. I agree that the emotive quality of the video really works. I could watch it over and over.