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WheresCherie.COM Quote
"The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse." -- Jules Renard

398--Nevada: Crude Awakening at Burningman 2007
@ CherieSpotting     Sep 09 2007 - 10:56 PST
cherie writes: “Crude Awakening” was an incredible, unforgettable art installation at the 2007 Burning Man. Set in the stark Black Rock Desert, nine steel sculptures (weighing 7 tons each) sprawled around a 90-ft tall Oil Derrek in various poses of worship.

According to the artists, “the postures were chosen to represent religions from around the world, as each continent has in some way been impacted by the oil company, some through great luxury and excess, others through bloodshed and profound loss.”

The sculptures affected BurningMan participants in different ways. Some burners sprawled themselves on the ground and joined the steel art, mimicking their devout poses. Others sat in awe. Many snapped photos. A few shed real tears while the 30-ft tall statues joined them, crying tears of fiery propane.

To see the metallic figures from another angle, I climbed the Oil Derek at dawn and watched the sunrise over the playa. Each steel statue had faithful flaming eyes. Fire pulsed from: the heart of “Epiphany”, the outstretched hands of “Eileen”, the rosary held between the palms of “Neela”, and the clasped hands of “Humble George.”

On Saturday night, just after midnight, an air-raid siren called the burners closer to “Crude Awakening”. A few minutes later, the area filled with smoke and the oil Derek was illuminated with a firework show and a blast so large, I got a complimentary eyebrow wax. The heat from the explosion pushed everyone back. According to the artists, it was the “largest flame cannon in history.” Then the tower collapsed; a splintered tangle of wood.

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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Sunrise at "Crude Awakening" in the Black Rock Desert.  Nine steel sculptures (weighing 7 tons each) sprawled around a 90-ft tall Oil Derrek in various poses of worship during Burning Man 2007.

Sunrise at "Crude Awakening" in the Black Rock Desert. Nine steel sculptures (weighing 7 tons each) sprawled around a 90-ft tall Oil Derrek in various poses of worship during Burning Man 2007.

We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“I don't want anybody to stand between the individual and existence. No prayer, no priest—you alone are enough to face the sunrise.”--Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“I don't want anybody to stand between the individual and existence. No prayer, no priest—you alone are enough to face the sunrise.”--Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Heart on fire. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Heart on fire. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Wake up and smell the oil. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Wake up and smell the oil. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“Watching the clock is not the same as watching a sunrise”--Sophia Bedford Pierce *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“Watching the clock is not the same as watching a sunrise”--Sophia Bedford Pierce *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Cherie by Crude Awakening, her favorite art installation at Burningman 2007.

Cherie by Crude Awakening, her favorite art installation at Burningman 2007.

The eyes of the faithful burn.

The eyes of the faithful burn.

“All things…are on fire . . . The eye is on fire; forms are on fire; eye-consciousness is on fire; impressions received by the eye are on fire.” –the Buddha

“All things…are on fire . . . The eye is on fire; forms are on fire; eye-consciousness is on fire; impressions received by the eye are on fire.” –the Buddha

Her heart is on fire. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Her heart is on fire. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Detail of foot on 7-ton steel statue. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Detail of foot on 7-ton steel statue. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” –the Buddha. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.” –the Buddha. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”--Marshal Ferdinand Foch. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”--Marshal Ferdinand Foch. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

According to the artists, "George strikes a pose of humility and surrender as he pays homage to the Oil Derrick. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

According to the artists, "George strikes a pose of humility and surrender as he pays homage to the Oil Derrick. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.” --Ralph Nader. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.” --Ralph Nader. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

According to the artists: "From his clasped hands, a propane-fired flame embodies his intense devotion to the scene before him." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

According to the artists: "From his clasped hands, a propane-fired flame embodies his intense devotion to the scene before him." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Before I read the artist's interpretation, I thought this statue reprented a Native American. (Notice the moon in the background.) *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Before I read the artist's interpretation, I thought this statue reprented a Native American. (Notice the moon in the background.) *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Ecstacy" and "Eileen" with the setting moon. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Ecstacy" and "Eileen" with the setting moon. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“The moon's an arrant thief,
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.”
--William Shakespeare 
 *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“The moon's an arrant thief, And her pale fire she snatches from the sun.” --William Shakespeare *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

A steel figure watches the moon set at dawn. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

A steel figure watches the moon set at dawn. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Manu", according to the artists, "exemplifies the peace, serenity and centered focus one can achieve when meditating." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Manu", according to the artists, "exemplifies the peace, serenity and centered focus one can achieve when meditating." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Neela" holds a flaming rosary. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Neela" holds a flaming rosary. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Metal making an offering. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Metal making an offering. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Climbing up the Oil Derrek, you gain a different perspective of Crude Awakening. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Climbing up the Oil Derrek, you gain a different perspective of Crude Awakening. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

The view of Crude Awakening from the top of the Oil Derrek at sunrise. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

The view of Crude Awakening from the top of the Oil Derrek at sunrise. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Achmed" according to the artists, "represents the essence of the Muslim posture of worship--touching one's forehead to the ground." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Achmed" according to the artists, "represents the essence of the Muslim posture of worship--touching one's forehead to the ground." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

The flaming heart of worship. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

The flaming heart of worship. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

 “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”—the Buddha  (Bonus points: find the fire-extinguisher in this photo.) *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”—the Buddha (Bonus points: find the fire-extinguisher in this photo.) *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”--Martin Luther King, Jr.  *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

“Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”--Martin Luther King, Jr. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Eileen", according to the artists, takes the pose of the free-spirited modern-day woman.  He joy is illustrated in her hands which stretch toward the heavens. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Eileen", according to the artists, takes the pose of the free-spirited modern-day woman. He joy is illustrated in her hands which stretch toward the heavens. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Epiphany", according to the artists, "is overwhelmed at the sight of the Oil Derrick and falls into a pose of rapture." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

"Epiphany", according to the artists, "is overwhelmed at the sight of the Oil Derrick and falls into a pose of rapture." *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Arms reaching for the moon. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Arms reaching for the moon. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

A couple stops to hug by "Manu." “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky”--the Buddha. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

A couple stops to hug by "Manu." “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky”--the Buddha. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

She's burning up for your love. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

She's burning up for your love. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

The nine steel statues were named: Achmed, Mumbaru, Manu, Humble George, Neela, Ecstacy, Schlomo, Epiphany and Eileen. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

The nine steel statues were named: Achmed, Mumbaru, Manu, Humble George, Neela, Ecstacy, Schlomo, Epiphany and Eileen. *Photo by Cherie Sogsti

Acknowlegding those who contributed to Crude Awakening.

Acknowlegding those who contributed to Crude Awakening.