Yvonne Force Villareal’s Burning Man Dispatch

Burning Man

For Yvonne Force Villareal’s trip to Burning Man, Art Production Fund co-founder enlisted designer friends Bonnie Young and Lucy Barnes to create a custom “Playa Couture” wardrobe. Here, Force Villareal shares some pictures from her desert runway.


“The first thing I realized eight years ago when I got off the little charter plane that brought me right into omnipresent dust was ‘Wow, I have been so judgmental!’ This was an epiphany because I thought of myself as extremely open-minded. Burning Man is a gathering of people who are looking for an alternative to the intensely artificial structure of the popular culture we are embedded within.”

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Force Villareal.


“Leo just finished his 22nd Burn in a row and in those early years when only a few thousand attended, he created his first light sculpture to facilitate finding his RV.”

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Force Villareal.


“Here I customized my boots and designed my harness/shoulder pads with the guidance of Lucy Barnes. I was inspired by Barbarella, Mad Max and Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2015 tribal dresses.”

Photo courtesy of Flair.


“The Temple is the divine place where people go to honor those who have passed. In my bag I have a robe that my father used to wear, which I hung inside. The structure burns down at the end of week.”

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Force Villareal.


“Here I am in one of my modified quinceanera dresses coming out of my favorite art car: ENZO. Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.”

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Force Villareal.


“Leo co-founded a camp called Disorient, where we just had 200 international campers with strong New York, San Francisco, and Dubai contingencies. Many of these individuals have become our closest friends and now our Burning Man community extends into the ‘default world’ (the one we are in now). While it was activated in 1986, in 2004 co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the “Ten Principles of Burning Man” to help guide this spontaneously formed culture: 1. Radical Inclusion 2. Gifting 3. Decommodification 4. Radical Self-reliance 5. Radical Self-expression 6. Communal Effort 7. Civic Responsibility 8. Leaving No Trace 9. Participation 10. Immediacy. The ultimate personal challenge and true reason I participate in Burning Man is to practice living these principles in the difficult albeit beautiful desert environment, with the intention of bringing them back into my reality. “

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Force Villareal.


“In Disorient, every evening at sundown we hosted two hours of mega sound system karaoke. Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not anticipate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.”

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Force Villareal.


An unexpected visit from Chef Shintu of Japan who makes me, Dr. Deb and Mafia lunch in my RV. Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in Burning Man culture. We are in early morning RV loungwear, my gold dress is by Essa Walla of Dubai.”

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Force Villareal.


“A divine light sculpture. Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.”

Photo courtesy of Big B.


“I seek out works that artists have dedicated their own extreme resources to present in this most extreme environment. Here ‘Dream’ is backwards.”

Photo courtesy of Big B.


“This sculpture of Medusa is a highly produced miracle.”

Photo courtesy of Big B.