Written by The Business Journal Staff
(AP) — A Los Angeles-based entrepreneur is turning part of a jumbo jet into an art installation and plans to haul it to Burning Man, a feat he failed to accomplish last year.
A 75-foot portion of a 747 airplane will be towed 450 miles from California’s Mojave Desert to northern Nevada in time for the annual 70,000-person gathering in August, Ken Feldman told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Feldman’s arts nonprofit, the Big Imagination Foundation, has secured the giant plane, and crews are working to gut it and transform the front top half into a work of art.
“The whole point of the foundation is to do insane projects,” Feldman said. “If we quit, we sort of defeat the purpose.”
The group initially intended the jet to be a “mobile art car” but decided to make it an installation after funding and time limitations kept it from using the whole aircraft.
Feldman said he was inspired by his first Burning Man in 2009, when he saw two bicycles decked with plane fuselages trekking across the playa. Friends and festival attendees have helped with the project’s design and construction.
“If I had any idea that it would take this long, I wouldn’t do it. I feel like I’m climbing Mount Everest,” Feldman said. “The community it’s built up around us, though, it’s incredible.”
Feldman and Big Imagination intended to haul the jumbo jet to Burning Man in 2015 but ran into logistical and financial setbacks.
Still, the group hosted a plane-themed installation at the outdoor festival in the Black Rock Desert, about 100 miles north of Reno. Campers dressed as flight attendants and asked people to go through an “insecurity checkpoint,” where they received hugs.
Participants also were asked to drop off emotional baggage written on a tag.
The experience helped people come to terms with issues in their lives, said Toni Alejandria, who joined the project last year to direct fundraising. “To be a part of something like this, it’s tremendous,” Alejandria said.
Feldman added the goal is to create a transformative experience for people.
“It’s not just a big party,” he said.