Burning Man 2016. An open forum for anyone who has the radical spirit to wander to the desert in their Volkswagen van, set up a teepee made sustainably from the hides of rodents they collected along the way, and just fucking express themselves for days and days. It’s a true festival of the people! Its aims are nothing less than radical inclusion, self-reliance and self-expression, providing respite from the inherent corporatism in which we Americans’ everyday lives are ensconced. A temporary community whose sole purpose is creation: stripped of the vanity implicit in art created for longevity, this yearly event is a ritual representation of what art at its most organic, at its least capitalistic, can be.
This year, a slew of relatively unknown artists are predicted to be making their mark. We’ve gathered some of the most exciting up-and-comers rumored to be attending, and speculated on how they’ll be presenting themselves through dress, performance, and performative dress. (For added context, The Guardian has written a piece on the humble nature of Burning Man’s communitarian form of self-expression.)
Martin Shkreli, in a booby-trapped matroishka doll of Martin Shkreli body suits
Multimedia artist (common materials: rare pills, rare records, smirks) Martin Shkreli will be sporting a multilayered body suit in the shape of Martin Shkreli. When you unzip one Shkreli, it reveals another Shkreli, which itself is a faux-Shkreli skin. There is in fact no Martin Shkreli in the suit of many Martin Shkrelis, but rather just a box labeled, “Open if you want to finally hear it” — attached, sneakily, to a small amount of very smug dynamite. The detonation of the unheard Wu-Tang Clan album — for it is indeed Once Upon a Time in Shaolin that lies at the heart of the Shkreli concept — will catalyze a chemical reaction, transforming the scattered remains into piles of Daraprim, attached to tiny wheels that ensure they’ll zoom away from the charred limbs reaching for them, unless those charred limbs come presenting crisp intact hundos.
Peter Thiel, as a smug ice cube
Beyond pouring millions of dollars into a D-list celebrity’s lawsuits, threatening the fabric of freedom of the press and reinforcing the notion that everything, including the dissemination of information, is dominated by the 1%, performance artist Peter Thiel is a big financial supporter of anti-aging, and is registered to be cryogenically suspended following his death. As he’s pushing 50, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume he’s got the great ice cube of the afterlife on his mind — and in fact, at Burning Man our hero will be sporting a large ice cube, in which he will be, yes, frozen. However, the whole desert-setting situation will unfortunately thaw the Paypal CEO — a comment on the ultimate irrevocability of mortality — and lead him to begin aging once again, at which point he’ll funnel millions into a lawsuit against thermodynamics, and emerge victorious, with the laws of physics losing their autonomy and being purchased by Univision.
Ivanka Trump, as a feminist Donald Trump
Feminist artist Ivanka Trump will wear an orange wig of “discarded cat hair,” an attachable velcro neck wattle, and two poppy seeds for eyes, in a perfect facsimile of her father. As “Donald Trump, Feminist”, she will perform men’s rights activist poems by Eileen Myles, quote Madeleine Albright (“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help men”), perform impromptu reenactments of Eve Ensler’s revolutionary “The Dick Monologues,” grope any women who’re “leaning in” too far at the festival, and give an #important #empowering motor-boating to nearby Free the Nipple advocates.
The Koch Brothers, as free-spirited global pyromaniacs
Hot environmental art duo Charlie and Dave Koch will show off their tans and summer beach bods as they wield fire-ropes — but this won’t just be any old burner fire-twirling performance. No, these two will trap the whole Earth within their blazing rings. The demonstration will also include an interpretive dance number in which the bros set up drilling rigs in the middle of Black Rock City, deftly distill the gushing crude into gasoline — and with Koch and Koch having clandestinely siphoned the gas from all festivalgoers’ cars, attendees will only be able to leave by buying… Koch gas! Oh, and there’ll be twerking.
The Walton Family, as the ghosts of small business owners
Famous DIY artists the Walton Family will attend this year, and they’ll be appearing bedecked in the antiquated garb of hilarious, long-forgotten professions like candlestick maker, butcher, baker, and person-who-is-not-on-food-stamps. Their appearance will culminate in a performance art piece in which they run a faux mom-and-pop shop, alternately auto-decapitating, enacting possessions, and saying “boo” to customers. The expenses for the project will be billed as charity, and will be tax deductible.
Silvio Berlusconi, as a Bunga Bunga party made flesh
In a high-concept piece, Silvio Berlusconi will present himself as something of a walking bop-it, with miniature carnival rides attached to his erogenous zones that do loop-de-loops and make a series of lewd cartoon noises when activated. He’ll mostly be found walking around the festival, accompanied by a soundtrack of a mash-up of every instance of Lana Del Rey singing “Daddy.”