Photos From Glow, Santa Monica’s Burning Man Attempt

Chal Pivik has an excellent writeup on the all-night Glow event that took place last Saturday night on and around the Santa Monica Pier.  I was there too, along with what looked to be at least 10,000 people, and I agree with Chal’s assessments.  I took some pictures, and hopefully Chal won’t mind if I post them here to add to his description of the event.

The installation above is called Primal Source, by Usman Haque.  This loungey structure is made with white balloons, and is described as allowing “the public to participate in the making of the art,” although I didn’t see that happen.

This next photo is of the Dunnage Ball by Peter Tolkin Projects.  It is “composed of 30 dunnage bags (used to isolate and stabilize cargo during transportation,” resulting in “a 22 foot diameter molecular-like structure” that “the public can sit within … and gaze out to the ocean and beyond.”



By far the most interesting installation we saw was EX-SE-08 by Shih Chieh Huang.  This exhibit, along the path directly under the pier, is described by the artist as “an installation of common objects, such as water bottles and plastic bags, … transformed through light, air (directed by small fans), and fanciful constructions into an underwater grotto, at once enchanting and unnerving.”  It reminded me of the E.T. Adventure ride at Universal Studios in Florida.



The Pier got to show off its new Ferris Wheel and its lit self, but it was strictly for those who like tightly packed crowds.  To me, like a Monet, it looked better at a distance.


It was fun to join the Santa Monica community for this well-attended innagural outdoor event.  With some improvements along the lines that Chal suggested, I think Glow could elevate itself from goofy evening beach outing to significant Los Angeles area cultural happening. 

9 thoughts on “Photos From Glow, Santa Monica’s Burning Man Attempt”

  1. Hey Matt, thanks for the kind words. So they have two years to make the next one better. Given the hellacious traffic situation in that area, Glow could easily become a victim of its own success as it becomes more popular. This could be remedied by the mythic Subway to the Sea, something I don’t expect to see in my lifetime. And if the NIMBY crowd has their way with that, then I expect they could also make a future for Glow difficult too.

    What seems odd to me is the scant attention paid by local media. I’m wondering if that’s due to no celebrity names being attached to it, which is one of Glow’s refreshing aspects– at this point anyway.

  2. Chal, I got caught in that traffic, but it was my fault for trying to head south on Lincoln instead of a more easterly street.

    The lack of celebs. and corporate sponsors was different, but they could have gotten some more funding and been more successful with just a smidgeon of business sense. For instance, they had great-looking glossy brochures, but no stations to give them away, and no way to read them in the dark. I saw zero signs pointing to any aspect of the show. And the table up at Ocean Blvd. where they were selling t-shirts and other items was miniscule and pathetic.

    As for lack of local media coverage, I agree. That’s what hopefully makes we at Metblogs valuable.

  3. I had dinner in the area Saturday night, and my wife and I took our kid and walked around–this was around 7:30pm, a half-hour after it was supposed to start. There weren’t any crowds besides the usual ones at that time, but unfortunately nothing was really up and running then.

  4. by the looks of the photos you were taking pictures before it got dark (when things really got going… police estimated about 200,000 attendance and had to close down the pier at one point because there were so many). did you stick around for the event to start? because i know for one thing that the piece you refer to as ‘primal source’ was not in fact ‘primal source’. this is:

  5. Changa, I was there before it got dark and stayed until well after it got dark and the start of the event. I saw tons of people streaming down onto the Pier, and as I wrote, this was a well-attended event. I wouldn’t be surprised that there were 200,000 people there over the course of the whole night.

    Some of the photos that I took were of the exhibit called “Primal Source” according to the official Glow brochure and map. That map could have been innacurate or incomplete. As I mentioned in the post, one problem with the event was a dearth of signage indicating just what exhibit was what.

  6. i think the map was inaccurate, primal source had a big sign right next to it with appropriate credit. from what i heard, that balloon thing was actually a wedding party, not part of the official glow projects…..

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