‘Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger’ documents the historical and contemporary evolution of Burning Man

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

Home » Compass of the Ephemeral

Published: 20 April 2019

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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Smallworks Press, an independent publishing company specialising in limited edition books focusing on contemporary art and culture, has announced it is producing and distributing the highly anticipated Compass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger, the first book of aerial and drone photography by cultural co-founder of Burning Man, Will Roger.

Compass of the Ephemeral includes a collection of Will Roger’s photographs chronicling the ever-changing cityscape and transformation of Black Rock City, home to Burning Man and one of the harshest climates in the continental U.S. The book traces the history and transition of Black Rock City from a few thousand people in the late 1990s to the growing metropolis required to support over 70,000 citizens today.

‘A blank canvas’

As the first director of operations of the Burning Man event, Will Roger worked alongside the other five founding board members and all others involved to ensure that Black Rock City becomes a reality each year and then vanishes without a trace.

He was instrumental in creating numerous foundations for the event; he established the Department of Public Works (DPW), a workforce of volunteers dedicated to building and deconstructing the physical infrastructure of Black Rock City. Will also actualised an FAA approved airport, and conceived traditions such as the Gold Spike Ceremony, a pre-event commemoration for the builders of Black Rock City, as the first stake is placed in the ground to survey and build the future city.

‘Burning Man is a blank canvas for people to come and create on. Burning Man creates a human empathy, then serendipity and creativity happens. Burning Man is the real world; everything else is the default world. People come away with changed lives and a changed culture because at Burning Man, everyone is human . . . there is no class, no color. You become family: human family, world family, global family.’

Cultural co-founder of Burning Man

Compass of the Ephemeral also includes interpretive essays by William L. Fox, director of the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment; Alexei Vranich, American archeologist at the University of California, Berkley; Tony ‘Coyote’ Perez-Banuet, city superintendent of Black Rock City; Crimson Rose, cultural co-founder of Burning Man; and an introduction by Harley K. DuBois, cultural co-founder of Burning Man. Each essay explores the physical, cultural and artistic context and impact of the Burning Man event.

Smallworks Press will publish Will Roger’s autobiography, In Search of the Common Shaman, in December 2019.

Click here to find out more about Burning Man

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