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A Burner Lexicon: Boosh Cannon

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

Burners surround the Gee-Gnome, a sculpture which shoots flames as high as 40' in the air from its hat. Black Rock City, 2009. Photo by Chris Rosakranse.

Boosh Cannon, –noun, At a burn event, fire isn’t just important in the destructive end of the central effigy. Performers spin fire and dance with it, participants play flaming soccer, and perhaps most of all they love to attach flame throwers to things. These devices are often called boosh cannons, an onomatopoeia referring to the sound that fire makes as it bursts out.

You can attach artistic flamethrowers to anything that moves, from massive bus-based mutant vehicles to tiny remote-controlled bad ideas. Or anything that doesn’t move for that matter — with boosh cannons added to everything from theme camp entrance gateways to flower sculptures to giant lawn gnomes. Boosh cannons become an interactive experience when the artist hands over the controls to spectators. Flames created by gases like methanol are sometimes colored by adding metal salts like boric acid and lithium chloride.

Despite this fiery chaos, events stay remarkably free of unintentional immolation of bystanders, camps or artwork. This is aided by the lack of natural flammable materials in Black Rock City and by common sense & an awareness of weather conditions at greener regional events.

The Flaming Lotus Girls, a female-driven, volunteer art collective creates amazing interactive fire sculptures while simultaneously encouraging women (and men) to become confident at metal work.

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