Launa Eddy was just trying to bring her art back to New York. As one of the Burning Man 2021 Honorary Recipients doing art no matter what, she was working in a Washington-based studio to build her artwork, Through the eye of the mind. It was taking longer than expected (as art usually does), and she decided to return home to New York City to finish the artwork. She raised money to buy a truck and trailer, then drove across the country to return home.
This is where his journey can begin to sound familiar to many Burners: the truck broke down pretty much every day.
There is a place in Oregon called Deadman Pass, a long section of road with a steep grade to the top and hairpin bends. The truck broke down on the way up the hill. The mechanics got in, got him back down the hill, fixed some issues. At the top of the hill, same story, different problems. Launa eventually limped the truck over the pass and into a small town, the truck spewing black smoke, where he was pronounced dead on arrival by another mechanic.
Momentarily short of options, Launa returned to New York after the mechanics agreed to put the truck and trailer away in the junkyard / store while she made a plan. “Everyone was nice, but I did not like the idea that my sculpture was sitting in a junkyard, ”she said. “I just told them: you can’t touch this. She didn’t know anyone nearby, and blackout week had already taken its toll.
Launa reached out to her Burning Man art project director Peter Platzgummer for help. He quickly put her in contact with the Regional network; from there it connected with the nearest local burners.
Enter Kaden Sinclair and Morgan Sherwood, Idaho Burners Alliance / Xanadu Community Center. Within a day of the first email, they worked out a plan and walked the five-hour round-trip route to collect and safely store his sculpture. “It’s just gone from a grueling experience of not knowing what to do, reaching out to the Burner community, and then having this flood of care and offers of help,” Launa said. “I just tried to figure out how to fix this on my own, and finally when I asked for help it was so beautiful.”
Launa has also received offers of help from the Burners in Portland, Oregon, in addition to help from the Idaho Burners.
“It’s a blessing to be able to meet these people and learn what they are doing. Here are all of those people I’m now connected with doing art on a large scale, and now I suddenly know people in Portland and Idaho who are building Burning Man art and my network is now richer … I’m not saying I’m glad I fell for it, but I’m saying I’m glad to have this community and that and something beautiful coming out of it. “
Launa was kind enough to share her story with us on the very day that Kaden and Morgan saved her sculpture. As we enter a season of gratitude and begin to turn the energy into Black Rock City 2022, it’s nice to remember how kind Burners can be and how vast our network of resources can be. if we don’t contact each other.
In the spirit of gratitude, please join us in sharing your stories – in the comments below – of times you’ve helped or been helped by other Burners, on playa or around the world.
Cover image of a broken down art truck (Photo by Launa Eddy)