Mike Connor

Challenge Based Artist / Crossfit Enthusiast / Whitewater Rafter / Motorcyclist
Brooklyn, NY, and everywhere

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Whats your favorite thing about working on the projects you do?  

 I enjoy the problem solving challenges one encounters on large art projects.  Each is unique.

Many problems can be anticipated. Many cannot. Generators explode. Weather happens.

Law enforcement arrives and they have some questions. Solving these problems is part of the art.


Howd you get into it? 

 A group arose in NYC, inspired by Burning Man, Survival Research Labs, and Seemen Machine Art group,

and the resurgence of circus that was happening in the 90s.  We liked big, scary, fun art.

Pyrotechnics and pageantry. Costumed street events with marching bands. 

We were doing things that we wanted. Not trying to impress the art world. Just seeing how big, scary

and silly our projects could get without getting arrested.  People loved our stunts.

They’d fill the streets and dance and kiss. It’s fun inspiring stuff and very addictive.


Whats made you really proud/inspired/stoked about it? 

 I’m currently performing in a play set on the the filthy and beautiful Gowanus Canal.

 It’s a lot of Greek mythology.  Gods and demigods, except for my character. I play a certain 80s/90s punk rock icon. 

I sing - something I’ve never done - with a band behind me.I perform on a homemade pontoon boat with no guardrail -

crowded with about 6 other actors, a drum kit, an amp, and a long candle lit table. I was petrified with stage fright for

the first week.  


We had an actor fall off the boat into the toxic waters last week. There are real risks to what we are doing -

way more than just blowing a song verse.


And even though the waters are toxic, the trees and the moon - and even the lights from the concrete plant make

for a magical environment.




Probably this year’s temple at Burning Man. Our crew was asked to take the project on after the artist that originally

contracted to do the project dropped out.


Our crew is the original temple crew. Very few art crews come back and do a project more than once at Burning Man.

Our crew has done something like 9 temples?  I’ve been on 5 of those. 


So here we were, doing it again, but under a much much tighter time frame.  We have a crew that starts at about 20

and scales up to 80. All volunteers. We were hit by everything mother nature could throw at us.  Wind, rain, hail.

Everyone pulled together and worked with a sense of urgency. The camaraderie was over the

top and the drama was minimal.  People stepped up to the challenge.


For myself, I’m proud that I’m getting pretty good at cat herding. The crew are volunteers - not employees. 

There are tasks that require leadership from people with more experience. But you have to be able to remain unattached to that.


 If you can climb to the tallest parts of your project and bang nails in, you should be able to tackle a tub full of dirty dishes.

Working with a good crew until you are so tired you can just drop is one of the best feelings in the world.


 Any awards, recognitions, accomplishments or qualifications you want to mention? 

 I successfully completed two weeks of training to be a white water rafting guide -

including three days of swift water rescue.


What is some little thing in your life something that you do, or something that someone does for you, whatever - that gives you real joy? 

 I’ve been been traveling around the country for the last few months jumping on various art projects.  Friends have opened

their doors and taken me in. Sharing you home is a very personal thing, and I’m moved by the fact I have friends that don’t

mind having me around.


What do you love most about traveling? 

 Learning the ropes of a new town. I like exploring neighborhoods - looking for places that have their identity.

I look for places that have kids running wild and old people shooting the breeze. Birthday parties in the park. BBQs.

But even in some more grim places, interesting things are happening in garages and warehouses.



i’m not super pro-active about documenting my activities… but

 twitter @caution_mike