The House of Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga is an ancient mythos at the intersection of the mechanical (the moving chicken legged house) and the natural world (Baba Yaga herself, the classic representation of the witch in the woods). It is a story of the coexistence of technology and nature within the realm of magic and the human psyche.
The Mythos of Baba Yaga
The story of Baba Yaga has been passed down through generations in both slavic and baltic countries. The first written account of Baba Yaga appeared in 1755. The fable of Baba Yaga has been adapted and retold in countless forms including books, movies, plays, even a symphony. She is seen as an ambiguous, complex figure. She is the crone living at the edge of the woods that encompasses many tropes: the trickster, the fairy godmother, the witch, the evil hag. The version of Baba Yaga you will meet is determined by your character. If she is helpful or harmful is up to you.
Baba Yaga's House: Construction and Design
Our version of Baba Yaga's Home will be 28ft tall with 12ft chicken legs covered in plasma-cut gears. Although the traditional Baba Yaga Hut doesn't have a front staircase to discourage unwanted visitors, we've decided that for safety reasons and to help with the flow of traffic two staircases creates accessibility and additional support.
Interactivity: Meeting the Yaga Herself
Our goal is to have crew members and volunteers play the role of Baba Yaga at various shifts throughout the Burn. We hope to even have passionate participants become enthralled with the project and offer to become the crone. People will be tested by Baba Yaga and will need to offer up a story, joke, action or talent in order to gain access to the second floor of her house. This interaction will create a deeper experience for all who witness.
Inside the House: Treasures and Trials
Our inspiration for the top level is the wizard's bedroom from the Miyazaki film, Howl's Moving Castle. We want to re-create a dragon den feel; covering the walls and ceiling with trinkets, glistening baubles, giant paper flowers, sparkling doodads and other gilded items that will offer a fascinating contrast against the stark, barren Playa.
Beyond Burning Man: The Permanent Installation of Baba Yaga's House
I am the public programs & outreach coordinator as well as a resident artist at The Generator Inc. Community Maker Space in Sparks, NV. We are currently developing the Generator Phase Two; a permanent artist live-work space with a sculpture park in Reno. Our hope is that Baba Yaga's House will eventually be installed on this property for all to enjoy.