Burning Man

Black Rock City, Nv

(Installation Collaboration)

Day Three: The Swarm has Landed

"Building a container for something (literal or figurative) can be tricky, but with the hand-woven walls and open central ceiling, the Bee Divine Hive Temple became a soft, inviting oasis on the Playa. The Playa is the name Burners use for the ground at Black Rock City, but it is also a name for the dusty matter that is everywhere. You would assume it was sand, but it is actually dust and it is a part of you (every nook and cranny) from the minute you arrive until the first shower after.

The process of installation was a full collaboration like the rest of the temple experience. Everyone was working on different parts of the temple interior at the same time. One of the first things I noticed was that we had jumped into a collective, female led experience. I often seek the wisdom of wise women, but The Good of the Hive has a male artist at the helm and a male media and logistics person capturing the story. I don’t want to speak for Zach, but I noticed a difference. Elizabeth Heubner was the lead and the visionary behind the temple. But rather than tell everyone what to do, she invited the collective in at every turn. I’ve worked for women in the past that have multiple covers of Architectural Digest under their belts. I understand how to let them lead when they know what they are doing. I am always in awe of that energy. But this was different. Although the beauty of the creation was hugely important, it seemed as though it was not as important as the collective experience of doing it while creating a space that would allow the embodiment experience to be as incredible as possible for the women who would be participating throughout the week. I had not yet figured out that the Playa has a way of molding things into exactly what it needs to be. These women arrived to the job site already connected to Mother Earth. 

I got an ego check for sure as I felt rushed and was beyond over tired. My perfectionism was rearing its ugly head and I was worried the bees were not going to ‘look right.’ I had to let go of my own idea of how it would be ‘seen’ and surrender to the collective’s idea (with a little hand holding from one of the priestesses). Although it is never fun to face my ego, I was grateful. I was held in that process by these women without judgement to allow the energy to shift to humble participation (and joy) in a hive mentality. I was raised in the days of art school where they talked a lot about facing a blank canvas alone with pride. I still value that, but I feel the need to be more a part of these days. There are things that happen in the collective experience that cannot ever b found alone. I am finding that all I need to do is follow where the bees lead and I am awakened to this kind of experience over and over again. Although there is a point of focus in a hive (the Queen) the collective is where peace and balance are found. 

We were only just beginning to see what these women had in mind for the space when the bees were finally up. But when I looked at the bees in the evening with Orielle Cookie’s small but profound sculpture of the Divine Feminine center stage underneath, I could see that the parts were becoming a whole. People and things in relation to one another were starting to buzz. Little did we know that what was about to happen inside that tiny gem of a temple would easily rival the beauty and awe of some of the 50 foot high sculptures at Burning Man." - Matt