Burning Man 2013 theme announced

And the theme is....

"Cargo Cult."

* Image: Theme by Larry Harvey, text by Larry Harvey and Stuart Mangrum, illustration by "DA" Dominic Tinio


  1. larry’s ideas for themes almost always make me do a double-take, and this is no exception. it seems like he had someone help wrangle his explanation into something coherent this time, though, because the more i read, the more i was thinking: ….YES!
    tl;dr: great idea for a theme. love it.

  2. We are already striving to build the world we would prefer out of snips, scraps, chewing gum and baling wire. This is DEAD ON. 

  3. It’s Mitt Romney’s nightmare!  Shopping bag headed people expecting “things” with Obama as John Frum.

  4. Shall I be the first Burner to cry “PROBLEMATIC”?

    While the story of Frum sounds all cute and Maker-inspirational, its existence is due to European colonialism and American militarism combining to destroy an indigenous culture. Why on the Playa’s brown clay should we be honoring that? Especially, since, y’know, Burning Man is mostly white, mostly middle class, and happens adjacent to tribal lands?

    1. Because the theme was also once The American Dream (EDIT: also The Green Man, a year which featured an enormous crude oil explosion) and isn’t always necessarily something to be revered as much as something to spark artists’ inspiration.

    2. Let’s change the theme to “politically correct”.  I’m sure that will make for much better artwork and hotter parties.

      More seriously, “cargo cult” is a perfect burner theme — a religion formed when a primitive culture encounters futuristic (to them) technology and tries to make sense of it.  I don’t see how this denigrates the original cargo cults in any way.

    3. As the graffiti in the porta potty so nicely put it, “taking a shit on acid was better last year”.

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