Stunning photos from this year’s version of Burning Man show a massive spacecraft-like construction engulfed in huge flames as a smoldering man stands atop it. The annual event, which draws in excess of 60,000 spectators to Black Rock Desert in Nevada and took place from August 26 to September 2 this year, is dedicated to “community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance.” For this year’s event, the “citizens,” who also actively contributed to the creation of the building and The Man, as he is known, based the idea on “Cargo Cult.”
In that story, the Melanesians built a giant, totemic structure -- the Cargo Cult -- in homage to a mysterious deity they called John Frum who, along with other American GIs, brought “unimaginable riches” with them to the South Sea island chain. In the hopes of summoning Frum back, the Melanesians built the structure to worship the man who, among things, brought with him “inconceivable power sources,” “crumpled beers cans” and “the memory of Spam.”
Despite the scale of the large inferno, the visitors leave each year with no noticeable trace of their presence.