Our community has known Kristal Light for a long time. She exemplifies the Burning Man 10 Principles through the artistic gifting nature of her personal lifestyle, and over the years she's volunteered to work First Aid at more regional Burning Man events than we can keep track of. If you've been to a Midwestern or Southern regional Burning Man event in the past 10 years, chances are good you've met her! She also became one of Kentucky's first official Burning Man Regional Contacts, and was one of the founders of Reclaimation, Kentucky's first official regional burn.
Currently living in Lexington, Kentucky, Kristal received a Large Art Grant to bring her vision for The Temple of Unobtainable Expectations to life. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, and sent us a few pictures of the work in progress (but nothing too specific, she's not going to spoil the secret!)
How did you first get involved in all this Burning Man business?
My first burn was Transformus in 2005, but I heard of Burning Man years prior from an article published in Wired back in 1996. I moved from my birthplace of Louisville, Kentucky to San Francisco in 1998 and attended some fundraiser parties for Burning Man, thought hadn't yet made it out to the actual event. It took finding community in the woods (at Transformus) to inspire my first journey to the desert. My first actual Burning Man was in 2008, and like with so many others, it radically changed my life. Finding others who are inspired by large art, blank canvases, and vision, I started to make big art of my own for regional burns, not to mention participating in Burning Man's first historic C.O.R.E. (Circle of Regional Effigies) project in 2011. The project was called the F-N Bourbon Barrel and was a 16ft tall by 16ft wide Bourbon Barrel that housed 350 individual art pieces from people here in Kentucky and some native kids in Canada.
Would you mind telling us a little about your project for Mosaic Experiment?
I'm building a temple for Mosaic called The Temple of Unobtainable Expectations. The vision for this art piece came to me while doing 108 days of mantra meditation earlier this year. I wanted a way to help myself and others to let go of the expectations of others so that we can be free to feel more joy and love.
I was inspired by my meditation , my job and my life to make this project. I wanted to use recycled materials from my workplace in a way that dresses them up from their original use. I also wanted to show the art that anyone can make if you make the time to do it.
Our families and friends think they are helping us when they tell us we will be judged by others around us. Sometimes, we are filled with these expectations by friends who want us to do more and more for them. It's when we realize our truths and let go of these expectations holding us back that we can be free to be whatever we choose to be.
The art is very personal for me as I work through the thoughts and ideas that have held me back over the years. I just hope this project helps others to know even well-meaning expectations can be harmful to the psyche and transmutation is the way of freedom.
I look forward to seeing the reactions of others as they interact with the piece and hope we are all healed as this burns at dawn Sunday morning.
This sounds like a profoundly deep project for you. May we ask how much time you've spent on it so far?
Wow.....good question there.....I started with the vision in February this year (2015) and started the work in March. I knew I wanted to bring this piece to Mosaic all along and I'm grateful that I'm getting closer to making my vision a reality.
Are you collaborating with anyone on this you'd like to mention, or working primarily alone?
I've been working on this piece alone, for the most part. I did consult two friends on the building/spiritual parts of the piece, but this has been a single person build all along. The Sacred Grove camp has taken me in as a member this year and have offered to keep sacred space around the piece when I need a break.
Have you run into any unexpected obstacles while building / designing this Temple or has everything been going to plan?
My main challenge has been making sure I collected all the recycled materials to make the project. Luckily, I have done that, and now my only challenge will be muscle help on site to help me lift pieces while I put it together/break it apart.....want to help out? I'd love volunteers.
Would you mind sharing any advice or wisdom to other participants considering a major project like this for a future Mosaic Experiment?
Dream big! Don't be afraid to try something out of your league. It's just a new thing you've not tried yet. Don't give up on yourself or your art. Anything is possible when you have dreams!
One last question: Mosaic's theme for 2015 is "Defying Gravity." How does your Temple defy gravity?
I've decided to look at the world differently than before, and part of doing that is baring my soul for all to see. This project is a sort of therapy for myself dealing with loss, depression, and abuse. As you walk into the project, you'll see several phrases in negative tones. Those words are from the heart and I cried as I let the pain come through me and be placed into the wood for you all to see. Likewise, I have positive phrases inside the heart of the piece to show the healing that has taken place in my life so that it helps others to not suffer as much. We have so much in common and yet we forget that we all hurt, cry, bleed the same. Life is a terminal illness. It's time we fly beyond our faults and embrace our beauty in those differences. Letting go is the hardest part. Dream big and believe in yourself.....that's how true miracles happen.
I hope this temple helps someone not feel alone, ashamed or afraid of those dark things inside. I hope this temple is the vision of beauty I've seen in my meditations. I hope this temple helps heal others as I know it will help heal me.
Remember, this isn't magic, this is your life. Your game, your rules. You can change those rules you've set for yourself if they hold you back from your highest potential. Don't give up on yourself. Don't stop believing. Never stop dreaming.
Thank you, Kristal, for sharing your vision and gifting of yourself with an art piece we can all participate in. The Temple will burn on Sunday morning, October 4, 2015. We look forward to sharing this experience together.
Are you ready for Mosaic Experiment and all the beauty and creativity you'll experience? Be sure to come prepared so you can fully enjoy it! Check out our Weather Preparedness & Self Reliance post, and of course, don't forget to read the Survival Guide.