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The Evolution of Constellation City: From Petroglyphs to Now
by Mathew Gilbuena

Published on April 4, 2024

This is a story of ancient petroglyphs depicting the night sky transforming into a vibrant glowing geoglyph in the Black Rock Desert. It's a journey that spans millennia, connecting the dots between our ancestors' reverence for the cosmos and our contemporary quest to encapsulate the universe's beauty.

Temple of Everywhen 2019 Concept

Petroglyphs in the Everywhen

During the Summer of 2019, the crew that would go on to create the Temple of Everywhen finished building another art project: the Chapel of Chimes. Having completed the work, and with a strong desire to continue building together, we began to conceptualize a new vision: a Temple that would celebrate humanity across time, be environmentally conscious and reusable, and be accessible to all. It was initially called the Celestial Temple, but later took on the name Everywhen.

The Temple of Everywhen, which evolved into the Everywhen Project, was to be a temple to cyclical cataclysm as described in the Thunderbolt’s Project “Symbols of an Alien Sky” documentary. This became the basis for Everywhen’s foundational Tall Tale:

The documentary, serving as an introduction to the Electric Universe (EU) model, presents a radical reimagining of cosmic history, connecting ancient myths, petroglyphs, and the formation of civilizations to electrical phenomena in the solar system. At its core, the theory suggests that planetary instability and electrical events shaped early human culture and mythology, diverging from accepted astrophysical views.

The theory posits that planets, once moving on different paths, engaged in catastrophic encounters, dramatically affecting Earth. This ancient sky, alive with electric activity, contrasts sharply with the stable solar system we observe today. Ancient observers, witnessing these chaotic celestial events, revered the planets as powerful gods, directly influencing human fate and civilization's dawn.

The ongoing cycle of cataclysms caused by planetary turmoil, a theme echoed in global myths, from Greek Ekpyrosis to Hindu and Mesoamerican legends, stem from these celestial events. EU argues that ancient petroglyphs document intense plasma discharges, while monumental structures and myths served to memorialize this turbulent past and the celestial bodies involved. This collective memory helped ancient civilizations make sense of drastic changes in the sky and their impact on Earth, preserving knowledge through stories and monuments.

“Wow! This could be really cool art,” I told myself after watching the YouTube video.

Tremendously inspired by this wild idea and my recent trips to Taiwan and India, I began making a computer model for the Temple. My art team reached out to the producers of the video, and one of their researchers joined our team. Incredible!

As part of the creation process, I researched petroglyphs found throughout the world and re-interpreted them to make original versions fitting for a temple depicting humanity’s relationship with nature, honoring our ancestors, our present and the future.

It’s a funny thing -- the temple for remembering human’s relationship with cataclysm began building in early 2020. We had a plan, a team, a build site and a network of supporters. This was happening! All that was left was the art mural for future cataclysm. And it was in that moment that we were halted by the next event in human history: Covid.

The first Constellation Cities

As we’ve written before, the (temple of) Everywhen team went out to the Black Rock Desert in July 2020 and built a small village with the finished components from the Temple. This foundational village created the blueprint for how we would lay out the next four villages in the Black Rock Desert, which would eventually adopt the name Constellation City in 2022.

The name "Constellation City" was selected to celebrate the small camps that formed near Everywhen Village, serving as intriguing points of interest and community-building waypoints. These connections mirrored the way stars are connected as Constellations in the night sky. Naming our event "Constellation City" pays tribute to these camps that later unified under the Everywhen Project, permanently honoring these experiences into our name.

The integration of these camps facilitated community growth and scalability, with immediate and clear benefits:

  • Accessible bathrooms for everyone

  • A dedicated citizen ranger team for de-escalation and safety

  • A communication network essential for survival in the Black Rock Desert

  • Common infrastructure, including shade

  • A vibrant mix of art, activities, and community

  • A culture rooted in generosity and sharing

Pleiades Petroglpyh
Pleiades Petroglpyh

Pleiades and CC24

Remember those petroglyphs from our project in late 2019? One is thought to represent the Seven Sisters, or the Pleiades Star Cluster. It’s humanity’s oldest story, and our representation of this petroglyph is derived from the Forsyth Rock.

The Forsyth Rock is located at the University of Georgia in Athens, and features what is believed to be the Pleiades asterism. In addition, it includes a speculated depiction of a 536 AD comet impact. Drawing inspiration from this ancient celestial map, we are adapting Constellation City to mirror the Pleiades petroglyph as carved, symbolizing a bridge across time—linking the ancient sky watchers' connection with the stars to today's explorers of the universe.

This year marks a significant transformation in the layout of our city, evolving it into a constellation visible from the night sky. By camping in Constellation City, you’ll be part of a large-scale geoglyph art project! The four stars in the Petroglyphs will be represented by the Temple and the three neighborhoods: Cosmic Carnival, Constellation Core and Tranquility Zone.

2024 Infrastructure Projects

We have a LOT of projects underway at Everywhen this year, as part of our ongoing efforts to meet the changing needs and desires of our patrons. These initiatives are in progress at our build sites in Reno, Nevada, and the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Gopherland HQ: This will be a central hub of facilities for Constellation City, featuring a lounge, a space for construction workshops, our power plant (if you're bringing art and need to connect to our electric grid, please get in touch), the dining hall, and the meal plan distribution point.

  • Main Stage: Our community's top request. For the first time, we're setting up a stage for talent shows, performances, and community-building activities.

  • Everywhen Gateway: An eye-catching art installation using upcycled materials, providing seating, lighting, and murals.

  • North Star: Your go-to spot upon arrival for any questions, assistance, or to report lost and found items.

  • Promenade Lights: A ring of lights that will create the Constellation at night, and provide warm-white lighting for our campers.

  • More Seating: Our butts need somewhere to rest. We’re evolving our bench design to be more reusable and configurable.

  • More Camp Fires: We plan to upcycle oil drums and adorn them with petroglyphs to give our patrons more sources of heat and places to gather in the evening.

How can you help?

As a nonprofit, the funds we raise are directly invested back into the community that comes together in the Black Rock Desert. Our aim is to facilitate camping on public lands, to elevate human potential, and to leverage the desert pilgrimage as a transformative experience. We are committed to slow and steady growth, with funding being our primary limitation. Here are a few ways you can support building the community:

  • Buy a ticket. Join our event by grabbing a ticket. The sales cover essential expenses such as insurance, transportation, and storage, in addition to funding improvements in infrastructure.

  • Donate (materials or money). Your contributions, whether in the form of materials or financial donations, have a direct impact on enhancing the community. Even small donations can elevate our event from a modest stage crafted from upcycled pallets to an immersive experience featuring star shades, domes, and more.

  • Join the Team. We are a passionate but small team of volunteers that bring this experience to the Black Rock Desert every 4th of July. If you’re a creator or simply curious about our project, we would love to hear from you.

  • Grab some Merch. Grab a T-shirt, a beanie, and more! The online merch store helps provide funding for creating community services.

Online video phone call
Your 2024 Constellation City Planning Team

Long Term Vision

Constellation City has a three year permit (until we need to renew) and we will be increasing the population by 300 every year. This slow but steady growth allows us to increase the level of detail year over year, transforming our modest gathering into one that grows into an ornate level of richness.

Our focus is on easing the experience for our patrons, aiming to add amenities like water and shelter in response to community requests. The desert journey is transformative, but in line with our ethos, we're committed to leaving no trace and minimizing environmental impact. We're investing in reusable infrastructure and centralizing utilities and storage, allowing our community to benefit from economies of scale. This approach makes adopting eco-friendly solutions more feasible for individuals who might find it costly to do so independently. Future plans include implementing a shared solar power grid, waste diversion, and other environmental initiatives.

We value your feedback regarding the importance of maintaining intimacy and a relaxed atmosphere at Constellation City. To preserve this experience as we expand, we'll grow our neighborhoods to their optimal size before intimacy is compromised. Instead of expanding beyond this limit, we will introduce new neighborhoods as additional "stars" in the Constellation. This strategy ensures each neighborhood retains its unique theme and vibe, offering patrons a choice of experiences that resonate with their personal objectives.

See you there!

I’m looking forward to Constellation City 2024, and I can’t wait to meet you all out there!

Mark your calendars for July 3, 2024, to July 9, 2024, for an unforgettable journey in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada. Tickets are available, offering you a gateway to a world where art, community, and spirituality converge.

Purchase tickets here. Questions? Check out our FAQs. Here's what to pack and the event regulations.

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