Burning Man Theme 2019: Metamorphoses

When I first saw what the 2019 Burning Man theme was Metamorphoses, I immediately thought of my sophomore year english class and the famous line from Kafka’s Metamorphosis:

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
— Franz Kafka

Of course, when I think about transformation I tend to imagine a beautiful butterfly rather than a cockroach. But even that metamorphosis isn’t as easy as it seems.

Before a caterpillar becomes a butterfly it spins cocoon and from there, it doesn’t just grow wings, it instead loses all form and dissolves into a cell soup. Once it has lost all of its former shape it reforms from the goop into a butterfly.

After having been to the burn seven times, I can honestly say this is my favorite theme. Burning Man is our cocoon. We arrive as little caterpillars, even if we’ve been before, and we dissolve for a week and forget everything we know, and remember things about ourselves long forgotten. Then sometime shortly after the burn we spread our new wings and fly.

According to Burning Man “This year’s theme is a celebration of change, and an exploration of uncertainty … Transformation happens whether we believe in it or not; but if we have learned anything in our Burning Man experience it is that we do have a say in our own futures, that agency is ours if we choose to pursue it. While we may never know the ultimate outcome, there is a shared belief that our dreams matter, and that together and as individuals we have the power to shape our own stories and transform ourselves in positive ways.”

They also add that “this year’s theme is an invitation to explore new forms of alchemy, reliant not on some elusive Philosopher’s Stone but on the limitless powers of the heart.”

It will be interesting to see how artists and participants represent the future with both art and fashion.

“When the butterfly takes wing, nothing of the caterpillar remains.”
— Alejandro Jodorowsky

Looking for ways to incorporate this year’s theme? Check out these outfits for women.