A Shout-Out to Mayhem and His Burning Man Project

A shout-out to my buddy “Mayhem,” whose whimsical yet pointed art project at the Burning Man festival this year noted the connection between tax dollars and torture. (Photos by “Mayhem”)

The festival’s theme this year was “the American dream” and this naturally invited some political commentary at a festival where “message” art is typically rare. In “Mayhem”’s installation, passers-by could give electric shocks to a mannequin representing the iconic Abu Ghraib prisoner by pedaling a stationary bike nearby. It’s participatory! And just as participatory (a placard explained) is the real-life torture policy, thanks to the tax dollars that support it.

Your tax dollars tortured innocent Iraqi citizens. Something is deeply wrong in America. Why are we not revolting? It is up to us to fix America. In the meantime: Sit on the bike facing the prisoner, and pedal to zap the prisoner yourself.

But we are revolting! Oh.