Six Questions for David Best

Q: Fast Forward: How do you feel about something that you put so much time into being burned?

David Best: If your mother or father is a cook, and they prepare a really lovely meal for you, and there is no compromise in the preparation of the food, that meal is eaten and then disappears. …To be honest, it’s pretty tough to watch something that you’ve worked on disappear, but it’s also really rewarding to watch so much pain disappear. So, it’s a trade-off.

FF: Is there a certain reason that it’s called the temple of Juno?

DB: Yeah, there is…Juno was the goddess who protected women in marriage, and I thought this year, because the theme of Burning Man was Fertility, I felt I would address the feminine aspect of the temple.

FF: Can you explain the gift economy?

DB: Not all gifts are necessarily good, but we have to accept what life gives us.

FF: What was your inspiration for the design of this year’s temple?

DB: Well, desperation is a good catalyst for design. I have to make something that’s 80 feet tall, and it has to be beautiful, and it has to burn. So, those are all issues I have to face, and then there is availability of materials. So that influences me. What happened this time, is that you came up here and saw all this material, this was a company that was going bankrupt or closing up it’s doors, so I was able to buy a lot of surplus material from them. So that dictated, if nothing else, the color of the temple, because I’m using cedar. So that set the pace for me. It dictated that the wood was so beautiful that I could magnify the structure of the building, instead of decorating the structure; this time the form is going to be attractive. …In building, one of the issues I concern myself with is not making the temple perfect, but the people that go in it perfect. Perfection should be in how people experience the building, not the building itself.

FF: Has building the temple changed your personality?

DB: Yeah, you know, you get older, you mature…certain days you feel really special, and then you get your [butt] kicked and you realize you’re not. So, I’ve certainly had my ego trips, where I think I’m more important than I really am. But, I only feel really grateful that I’m able to build something that alleviates so much pain.

FF: What are some of the good things that come out of Burning Man for you and most people?

DB: I’m talking to you guys! That’s a result of Burning Man. It’s the interaction, the communication that it opens up throughout community—outside the desert.

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