Varanasi Sage, the first art installation by Namaste & Chill, will appear in deep playa at Burning Man 2019.
Custom-printed prayer flags create a pyramid around a fawn resting in a lotus flower, on a platform decorated with glyphs that convey a message: True wisdom belongs to the natural, non-human world. Each flag helps the participant dive deeper into the meaning of the piece, and one even has a guide to decode the glyphs. Lights illuminate the space and lights behind the lotus make the petals glow. A speaker within the platform plays sacred sounds. On the platform, a red button reads “Do Not Press.” A suggestion box below the fawn asks: “Why are you here?” A door in the back of the platform opens to reveal a zine stand, filled with zines written by me. These elements deepen communication and facilitates interaction with the curious.
A fawn does not belong in the desert, nor does it lay in lotus flowers, so it must be a magical, enlightened creature! And it’s smallness and vulnerability in a harsh environment make the participant feel compassion for the creature. Humans must choose not to destroy the natural, non-human world and instead revere it as the divine. These contradictions jar the participant, creating a sense of vulnerability, which encourage authenticity, tenderness, and the wisdom inherent compassion, harmony and gentleness.
In the spirit of this year’s theme, Varanasi Sage explores the reality that deep transformation can come from a place of peace. Even in the chaos of the playa, one can find peace. Varanasi Sage provides participants with a beautiful, peaceful place. People may feel overwhelmed or lost in deep playa — this is a refuge. It provides comfort and calm and shows that peace is always available.