Andromeda Reimagined pays homage to heroic women, while providing respite to fellow Burning Man participants in the Nevada desert.
In keeping with Burning Man’s art theme of “Metamorphosis,” this reimagining of the Andromeda myth challenges the classical patriarchal Greek myth of Andromeda, wherein a young woman is chained to a rock, left to be devoured by a sea monster that was sent by the Gods to punish her mother for the arrogance of proclaiming her daughter’s beauty. She is later saved by Perseus from a death sentence before attaining celestial immortality as a constellation. In the reimagining, the story evolves from a classic male hero narrative to a story of female empowerment as Andromeda—a strong, independent woman—saves herself with the help of a supportive community. The “rock and chains” have been morphed into a story of her inner journey to find strength and purpose in a world of chaos and absurdity.
Intended to provide introspection, the five-sided pyramid structure boasts ornate CNC-cut patterned walls meant to evoke the starry heavens. Exterior fins line the pyramid’s vertices, mimicking the swirling trajectories of the cosmos. When illuminated from within, the installation projects its whimsical light onto the nighttime desert floor. The structure beckons attendees to its plush interior, which pays homage to Andromeda with four oval paintings depicting the reimagined narrative, and a fifth hanging panel displaying the structure’s thematic poem, “How Brightly.” An eight-foot-high, 2000-pound concrete sculpture called “Freedom and Awaken” anchors the center. Markers hang from the walls, prompting visitors to proclaim their own female heroes along the walls.
The structure itself relates to the infinite potential of the stars in the sky—specifically the Andromeda constellation, but not in any literal way. The white star-shaped cutouts and the dramatic swirls represent the arc of planets and stars as they move across the sky.
Type monument, civic
Location Black Rock City, NV
Image Credit Photographers John Marx and Hannu Rytky
Design Team Architect/Lead Artist: John Marx Producer/Visionary: Brian Poindexter Consultant: Derrick Roorda, Burohappold Structural Engineer Artist: Mary Graham, paintings Artist: Mischell Riley, concrete sculpture called “Freedom and Awaken” Poem by John Marx
2020 Third Place, Pop Up-Culture Built, Re-thinking the Future Awards