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Watch a Crowd Build and Burn a Giant Wooden Temple

15,000 people gathered in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland to witness the symbolic burning of David Best's 75' tall wooden temple.

by Beckett Mufson
27 March 2015, 8:00pm

All photos © Matthew Andrews, via

A massive wooden sculpture rose in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland, built, intricately carved, and then set ablaze by sculptor David Best, 100 community volunteers, and large-scale public art producers, Artichoke. Known simply as Temple, the 75' tall temporary structure was a memorial to the victims of The Troubles, the decades-long ethno-nationalist conflict between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Irish nationalists during the last half of the 20th Century. 

David Best has a history of building and burning intricate wooden temples that dates back to Burning Man 2000, making Temple his ninth scorched structure. Two years of planning, a $45,000 Kickstarter, and six weeks of construction were consumed in the single blaze, along with messages to loved ones and mementos that tens of thousands of visitors left inside during its week-long lifespan. A crowd of 15,000 watched it burn it to the ground, and now you can watch it in all its glory above.

The crowdsourced construction was as important as the structure itself, says Artichoke founder Helen Marriage. "There was this sense that everybody had decided to let go of the memory of a divided Ireland," she tells The Creators Project. "When the spire in the Temple folded, you could hear an audible cry from the audience."

"The project isn't just about the burning," she continues. "It's about the cathartic moment when everyone collectively let's things go."

Learn more about Temple on the project's website, and visit Artichoke to see what events they're organizing next.

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