Aluna is a 26ft interactive installation designed for Burning Man 2017. The structure sits on its own reflection and stands as a unified entity on the Playa. Upon entering, two pairs of seesaw swings hang from the ceiling, inviting you to find counterweight in a partner, who will collaborate and engage with you in a game of balance and trust. Prehispanic melodies converge with experimental sounds and techniques to accompany the breath and silence of the Black Rock Desert. As dusk approaches, Aluna will be illuminated by hundreds of LED lights that line its frame and body, reflecting and challenging the sounds of Aluna, creating a complete interactive experience for participants.

The structure and it’s octophonic sound installation spatialize a rich cosmological environment based on the wisdom of the Arhuacos, an indigenous community from the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, Colombia.


Aluna is the Arhuacan word for the spirit of the Sierra Nevada, and is designed to create awareness about two subjects. First, the importance of trust and reciprocity in building and preserving the balance the world needs to function harmoniously. Second, the relevance of balance as a ruling principle of the world. With this installation, we want to express that in the same way as with physical forces, this universe is made of inherently diverse beings that have an obligation to give and cooperate with each other in order to succeed and so, reach equilibrium.

Aluna is an incredible opportunity for its artists and audience members. As an international collaboration and the first Burning Man Project from Colombia, we have an important international window through which we can share with audiences a message of coexistence and harmony,  an often unseen part of our culture and the doctrine of a community whose entire purpose is to preserve our reciprocal relationship with the planet. Just as taking care of the earth requires purposeful energy, Aluna demands that audiences actively engage with the installation while offering a unique immersive experience.

The Inspiration

Aluna is inspired by the wisdom of the Arhuacos, an indigenous community living in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, Colombia, the highest littoral mountain chain in the world. This community sees the plane and world we live in as the innermost of eight different levels of the universe. The four upper levels represent the enlightened, visible part of the universe, its highest values. The four lower levels represent the negative, invisible but darkest portion of the universe.

The Arhuacos and the other three communities living in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta (koguis, wiwas and Kanquamos) work together to preserve “The Black Line”, a territory in the form of a triangle, 100 miles on each side which connects 54 sacred points of the Sierra Nevada and works as its spiritual boundary. The spiritual leaders of these communities, the Mamos, have made journeys through the Black Line for centuries, making offerings to mother nature as payment for all of its gifts to humanity. They are active caretakers of the environment and natural resources of Colombia.

The Team

Team Aluna is made up of a core of 10 passionate individuals: architects, engineers, musicians, and designers. The diversity of our team symbolizes the message our project has to offer. We combine our vast set of skills and approaches to bring the dream of Aluna to life.

Juan David Marulanda, lead artist and creator of Aluna, is a Colombian architect who received his education from the National University of Colombia. Marulanda is the Director of Design for the Lehoucq Architects. He made his graduate thesis dissertation about the architecture of the Arhuacos and the current public housing policies in 2009. Since then, Marulanda has collaborated as the editor of two books aimed to preserve the oral tradition of this community.  Through his work, Marulanda is interested in sharing a message of civic duty, social consciousness and the importance of collaboration.

Brayan Orjuela, our structural engineer, has collaborated with Marulanda in the construction of cultural spaces for vulnerable Colombian communities for more than five years. They are both members of the Arquitectura Expandida collective, which recently built the first community cinema in Colombia: “El Potocine”

Camilo Montilla, our music producer, is the owner of Sonica, one of the two authorized recording studios by Dolby in Colombia.

aLma.MaddR, our team of sound artists and composers, is lead by Anabel Romero and Christina Ward in collaboration with Dan Gonzalez Hernadez. 

Leo Vilar, our lighting director and designer.

María Paula Martínez, our fundraising manager, photographer and graphic designer, is documenting and sharing the Aluna journey. Additionally, Martinez is first Secretary of Cultural Matters in the Department of State of Colombia.

Rebeca Victoria, our production manager, is a fashion and costume designer and one of the founders of Nuvula, a cutting edge brand that collaborates and participates in diverse productions for fashion, music videos, performance and film.

María del Pilar Sandoval, our project manager, is an economist and political scientist working for the Colombian National Procurement Agency, an organization dedicated to the transformation of public procurement in the country.