WORDLESS: Sacred Sanctuary of Being

WORDLESS is a large three-dimensional word made out of wood.  It stands 8 feet high and 40 feet wide.  The word that is displayed is “WORD” and the surface of the structure is covered in pages of scripture from all the world’s major religions: the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Dhammapada, and the Tao Te Ching.

Word is a biblical reference to the sacred source of creation.  From within the structure emanates a deep rumbling “OM” vibration, widely considered to be the cosmic sound of the universe.  A circular perimeter around the structure is lined with meditation benches.  As you come into presence with this structure, you are submerged in a sacred sound field that is emanating through thousands of years of ancient scripture.  There is so much activity on the playa around you, but you take a seat and allow the Om vibration to take you on a journey inward.

The work is illuminated with soft yellow light to create an almost temple like experience that evokes a deep sense of sacred space.  Whenever you come here, you will have a place to sit and just be.


This work will be displayed at the 2017 Burning Man Art Festival in the Nevada desert.  The theme of this year’s burn is Radical Ritual.  Burning Man describes it briefly as follows:

Beyond the dogmas, creeds, and metaphysical ideas of religion, there is immediate experience. It is from this primal world that living faith arises. In 2017, we will invite participants to create interactive rites, ritual processions, elaborate images, shrines, icons, temples, and visions. Our theme will occupy the ambiguous ground that lies between reverence and ridicule, faith and belief, the absurd and the stunningly sublime. The human urge to make events, objects, actions, and personalities sacred is protean. It can fix on and inhabit anyone or anything. This year our art theme will release this spirit in the Black Rock Desert.


On Thursday at sunset we will organize a large sound healing and singing bowl ritual gathering.  Leading up to Burning Man, we will invite people to bring their singing bowls and participate.  This will, of course, be a wordless ceremony tuning in to the sacred sound current of tens or hundreds of singing bowls and gongs playing simultaneously in a circular formation around the structure.


On Friday morning, as the sun is rising, we will burn the word.  Burning scripture is widely considered an act of sacrilege and the intention here is to deeply honor the underlying message of scripture while challenging the observer to consider the common essence behind all spiritual identity.  Out of respect for the religious traditions represented in the scripture, the layer of scripture will be removed from the letters before burning.  It will be packaged and respectfully buried outside of Burning Man.  The naked word itself will be burned as we aspire to come to a deeper sense of being and spiritual identity that cannot be conveyed with words.


Scripture speaks of word, vibration as the source of all creation. Humans are endowed with this power of spoken word. We use words to create the world we live in.  Our understanding of ourselves as an expression of creation, created in the creator’s image, and creators in our own right is the foundation of conscious creation.

Thus we are confronted with the power of our own words. And we burn the word to reestablish our connection to the word, to the purity of our own use of the word, and the purity of our own understanding of ourselves as expression of God's vibration. We let go of all the concepts that we have created on top of the word to just be as we are.


Issues of religion are sensitive and this project is particularly provocative in that regard. The intention here is not to offend, but rather to encourage deep exploration and dialog around the meaning of spiritual values and identity.

Religious conflict has been a central theme of human history for thousands of years.  Today religious conflict is on the rise with violence and discrimination against religious groups by governments and rival faiths at an all time high across the world.  WORDLESS aims to put emphasis on the common essence behind all religious and spiritual identity.

The Tao Te Ching begins with the following words: 

The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name

This project emphasizes that God, or whatever notion of creation origin we might have, is inherently indescribable.  Thus we acknowledge the word and simultaneously burn it to acknowledge the wordless source from which all words and things emerge.

The deepest intention behind this project is to create a sacred space for contemplation and being.


August 18th – Commence build at a ranch near Black Rock City

August 24th – Arrive on playa to set up installation

August 27th – Installation complete and ready in time for Burning Man opening

September 1st – Early morning sunrise burn


  • Sam Ben avraham
    • $200 
    • 7 yrs


Lorenz Christian Sell
Northwest Harbor, NY

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