A Data-Based Interpretation of Burning Man

The annual week-long art festival Burning Man is kind of hard to define. This infographic provides some data and context about the event and the temporary city it forms in the Nevada desert every year.

SPUR Urbanist points to the work of Flint Hahn, who sifted through the data to create this infographic of the temporary city in the desert.

"Over the course of two weeks, from conceptualization to final graphic design, Flint Hahn, a six-year veteran of the event, put together this infographic. He gathered the data needed from post-event after reports on the Burning Man web site, contacting various departments in the organization, the Nevada Bureau of Land Management, NASA historical astronomy data, online population sources, Flickr, Wikipedia, among a variety of other sources. Regardless of the amount of data collected, Flint was well aware that displaying the true essence of Burning Man through data could never be achieved. Flint stated, 'This is an event based on personal experiences. I could produce many interesting statistical trends, eye-catching illustrations, and visual charts, but it would never capture what the event is. It's a common question with unlimited answers, 'What is Burning Man?' If anything, this infographic may be the antithesis of what Burning Man is.' As we at SPUR found out this past spring when we hosted Burning Man's founder, Larry Harvey, some questions are better left unanswered."

Full Story: Datablog: Creating framework without a frame - the Burning Man infographic



Burning Man Infographic

Unfortunately the Burning Man Infographic does not include the total CO2 emissions in tons produced each year by vehicle travel to and from the event, whether by car or by plane.

Reno hosts Hot August Nights every year, an event which results in thousand of cars driving to Reno for the express purpose of driving around Reno to display the latest in auto craftsmanship, is another enormous generator of CO2.

These types of events, including NASCAR, result in tens of thousands of tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.

While Burning Man is in a different category from Hot August Nights and NASCAR, I submit that they are still gratuitous events which are speeding up climate change. The Russian heat wave, an unprecedented event not seen in a thousand years, and the floods in Pakistan, should give all of us pause.

Dealing with climate change means that we will have to find other ways of having fun which don't involve burning fossil fuels.

Len Conly

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