Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Susan Richmond

Second Advisor

John Decker

Third Advisor

Kimberly Cleveland

Fourth Advisor

Jeffrey Trask


Since 2000, artists have built elaborate temple structures in the Black Rock Desert during the annual Burning Man festival, the purpose of which is to act as ritualized spaces to experience catharsis by way of contemporary death rites. The temple is destroyed on the last day of the week-long event. The method by which both the space of Burning Man in the desert and the temple structure operate is by facilitating a negotiation in participant identity through liminality and self-enacted identity negotiation, both of which, as well as the event and the art, are ephemeral. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the 2012 Burning Man Festival (themed “Fertility 2.0”) with a specific focus on the Temple of Juno by artist David Best. This thesis will examine how this artifact is activated through a multiplicity of audience participation while simultaneously allowing the participants to further explore their negotiated identity.