The installation was already awarded one of the largest grants from the Burning Man foundation, but we need your help to make this project a reality.
The project is run in collaboration with Pintó International, a non-profit foundation and art gallery devoted to the promotion of cultural diplomacy between Asia and the West through contemporary art.
Mebuyan is a spherical architectural installation that encourages community and interactivity. A creative imagination of a "multi-verse," Mebuyan stitches together several bubble structures that allow people to move throughout the structure's different universes. This monumental structure will span 40ft in height, 55ft. in length and 35 ft. in width.
Suspended approximately ten feet above the ground, Mebuyan will look like a colony of interconnected bubbles of varying sizes. This network of spherical structures evokes an imaginative, three-dimensional visualization of a “multi-verse” that burners can experience firsthand. Each individual sphere will be made of different materials: a wood and metal structure will support spheres made of collected materials and discards. Inside, the spheres will be imprinted with cosmic, psychedelic patterns not unlike stained glass, transforming each pod into a kind or isolation or meditation room. Consequently, the sculpture will offer different visual experiences externally and internally.
Mebuyan will create an interactive space that permits a variety of engagement in tune with the freedom and needs of Black Rock City citizens. The structure will be a kind of "performative space" allowing citizens to merge with the sculpture; anything from a collective meeting space or as an individual site of meditation, prayer, or contemplation. Being both an environment and an architecture, the level of interactivity is flexible and nearly infinite, adaptive to the spontaneous needs of burners.
Artist Leeroy New says: "As a practicing artist that deals with transforming spaces, I engage in the building of immersive installations that respond materially and contextually to the site or my current working environment. The Mebuyan vessel can be understood as a continuation of this project. Mebuyan is a goddess of death and fertility from Bagobo mythology(The Bagobo constitute one of the largest groups among the indigenous peoples of southern Mindanao, Philippines), who is described as having breasts all over her body to nurse the spirits of children into adulthood, providing them with the strength to continue their journey in the afterlife. It's my hope that the Mebuyan vessel becomes a nourishing, transformative, and cosmic place for citizens of Black Rock City for their personal & collective growth. As a Filipino artist, this engages my project Aliens of Manila, in which I create wearable sculptures from dollar-store materials, discards, and assorted found objects that transform wearers into "aliens". I am personally interested in the interplay between & politics of the "alien" and the "native," especially since Burning Man is a space that suspends hierarchy among people."
Leeroy New (b. 1986, General Santos City, Philippines) is a Manila-based multidisciplinary artist whose practice overlaps and intersects with diﬀerent creative industries, including installation, sculpture, fashion, production design, costuming, and performance. This inclination to move from one mode of creative production to another has become the spine of his practice driven by concepts of world-building and hybrid myth-making.
Leeroy worked at his commissioned immersive, psychedelic, arresting installations all over the world: New York, Paris, L.A., Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taipei, Melbourne, Sydney, Thailand. Among his most notable collaborations and projects: he designed the costume for Lady Gaga that appears on the cover of "Marry the Night"; had a solo show at Pintô International in New York in March 2019 that was featured on Artnews, Artnet, Brooklyn Rail, amongst others; exhibited at the NoMad Hotel in Los Angeles in May 2019; exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in June 2019; was part of the Singapore Biennale 2008 and Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale 2009; was the recipient of the Asian Cultural Council residency in New York in 2015. Leeroy was also a recipient of a grant from Burning Man for a large-scale installation in Manila, the Pasig River Floating Island project in 2015.
Over the course of a 15-year creative career, New has built approximately 30 immersive and interactive installations, of which 10 were of dimensions comparable or larger than the proposed project. These were built often in very inhospitable settings, including a 40 feet tall and 60 feet wide bamboo spaceship-like structure called “Chrysalis” in the sand dunes of Paoay in the Philippines, that safely hosted and supported 50 people and was left to evolve and decompose with time, eventually lasting fully intact for more than a year; a floating island on the Pasig River in Manila capable of hosting 10 people; an immersive extension of an island on a river at Wonderfruit Festival that could support a large number of visitors passing through it daily.
- Ted Schundler
- Lena Gomes
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