Saturday, August 21, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal  and cheer and give strength to the body and soul. — John Muir

This will likely be my last post before heading into the wild, wild west.

Promise me you'll miss me when I'm gone and that you'll read me (again) when I return.

Trying to explain what Burning Man is and why I go to Burning Man is, well... complicated.  

Each year I walk away from the experience mentally and physically exhausted but knowing that I took part in something BIG. 

There is a deep level of personal growth that takes place here - sometimes its hard and sometimes its joyful beyond words.  

The human connections are deep and sincere.  People give freely of themselves.  

I'd go if for no other reason then to photograph the art and the people.  Both, are amazing!

Exactly how many people does it take to build a temporary city in the middle of a barren, wasteland?  50,000  
And we each play a vital role in making this city thrive!  

Simply put, it's radical self reliance... 

and radical self expression...

rolled into one.

It doesn't always make sense...

but, damn it's fun!

This year I am taking part in a project called WDYDWYD? - A worldwide comminity-art project that combines image and text when asking the simple question "why do YOU do what you do?"  I'll be taking pictures and acting as a "conversationalist" - trying to get people to reach down deep and pull up something real, raw, and true to themselves. 

by Renee Benes | graphic design & mother

I will also be taking part in Live Brush Strokes, a living design collaborative painting using GPS technology, people and data visualization software.  I will be one of many who will be wearing a GPS tracking device during Burning Man that will track my movement and translate it into a visual narrative.  How cool is THAT!

(first test drive)

One of my favorite things to do at Burning Man is something called Monkey Chant. MOnkey Chant is an amazing kinesthetic meditation where movement and overlapping vocalizations come together.   It's energizing and entertaining.

Monkey Chant at Center Camp photo by Gabe Kirchheimer

Each year at Burning Man a Temple is constructed so that people have a place to reflect and honor those they have lost.  This years Temple is called Temple of Flux.   My gift to the Temple is a collection of letters, pictures, poems and names submitted by people who have lost someone they love to suicide.  My project is called Love Letters to the Temple.  This will be my 6th year compiling the book.

This year a talented artist and Burner, Frederick Jay (aka Jaybird) has dedicated one of his amazing Temple flowers to my son Kerry.   Thank you Jaybird!  

I will be spending the next week sewing, packing and fine tuning all the projects and preparation necessary to make this amazing journey inward, outward, upward and beyond!  

Until next time....  Monkey Love and Laughter,  Shannon

The original Green Monkey tagged with a red heart - Temple of Honor - Burning Man 2003
Someday I hope to meet the person who placed the monkey inside the temple and sparked the beginning of my healing.

AMAZING photo's by Phil Steele at
Gabe Kirchheimer at
and Monkey ME


  1. That is truly beautiful. And I love,love,love the butterfly sculpture. I know, you are so surprised. How long is Burning Man, and I can hardly wait to here all about it when you get back. Love you.

  2. Have a really great time! We won't forget you!

  3. Shannon, have a wonderful time, and we'll be waiting to hear from you!

  4. I miss you already! This sounds like an amazing experience. I am looking forward to hearing more about it when you return.

  5. These pictures are incredible! I dream of one day attending Burning Man. Maybe I'll see you there :) Can't wait to hear all about it!

  6. I looked a little at the link....Wow..I hope you have a wonderful sounds really great....see you when you get back..!

  7. What an incredible endeavor. What a spectacular way to mesh your creativity with others. Can't wait to read about your adventures. Happy journey.

  8. We will be here waiting for more stories, enjoy the ride.

  9. Can't wait to read about your amazing experiences! Have a wonderful time...

  10. I will be here, waiting for you.. for your amazing stories. You left us with all these images and your spotless way of describing your journey... I am in tears (how moving this experience MUST be!!) - come back safe, renewed and even monkey-er than ever!

  11. Very interesting, I hadn't ever heard of that before. Looks full of creativity and art.

  12. I hope your healing continues.

    Have a great time.


  13. Have a great Burning Man experience, Shannon. I'm looking forward to seeing photos and reading about it.

  14. I'll be excited to hear how it goes this year!

  15. Just love the US peoples way of expression whatever it may either through test or voice, you all so friendly ..

    I just updated my blog too
    Hope u visit and comment on it

    more than that if u like the blog means follow in a friendly manner

  16. I know you'll have interesting stuff to share after an experience like this.

    Is Burning Man still growing in size every year? Also, compared to your past years is it getting better? I dislike big crowds (I know there's lots of space) but is there a smaller event like this?

  17. Thats an extremely cool place! Wish I could visit it someday!

    Scribblers Inc.

  18. WOW is all I can say! What a moving and beautiful expression of love and pain all in one! BUT also of healing and sharing! The pics are awsum my friend! I pray you got all you wanted from it this year, made your mark, met new friends and cont on this journey!! <<<>>>

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I was trying to make BIG HUGS TO YOU LOL But it wuldnt co-operate so ltlhugs <<<>>>

  21. Wishing you love & healing on this journey -- what a wonderful outlet and form of expression...

    Always wishing for you the best of all things -- and always so happy when I stop by to see you. :)

    Peace and serenity,
    'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'

  22. That was great - looking forward to your return. Cant wait to hear about the trip.
    Mr Monkey

  23. Amazing photos.... amazing words....
    All my best

  24. Amazing photos. Sounds like quite an experience. Hope you have a wonderful time.

  25. Have a wonderful time. Looking forward to reading about things when you return.

  26. At first I thought I was reading of Hippie times. This experience looks amazing. Want to hear about your GPS experience there! Those photos are so alive they pulse off the screen.

  27. Your blog is very impressive and i love it. Great inspiration and great enthusiasm to see more! Tim from the UK, x

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Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison