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The 5 Elements of Hip Hop

Lumenal Code created a series of murals depicting the five elements of Hip Hop for the Plug n Play art installation at Burning Man 2016. Here’s a description of the installation from the Plug4 website –

“A tribute to the essential power of hip-hop and its 5 foundational elements:
The MC (oral) • The DJ (aural) • The B-Boy (physical) • The Painter (visual) • The Producer/Knowledge (spiritual)

Plug ‘n Play is a countercultural interactive art installation at Burning Man 2016.
Within Plug ‘n Play, we represent, teach, and honor our analog past.

Plug ‘n Play comes to life as Plug4, the huge positive end of an extension cord plug, birthed from the playa, pointing to the sky.
Passersby can drop in on DJ demonstrations, live MC cyphers, lectures, films, and even ‘twerkshops,’ and other interactive moments.

Surrounding Plug4 are five Quad Boxes – where you can immerse yourself in a gallery;
each Quad Box visually represents one of the five elements of hip-hop.

We plug in; we explore & amplify the almighty vinyl record, the mic, and the crowd.
Feel what it’s like to drop the needle on the record and physically engage with music and hip-hop culture at Plug ‘n Play.”

We were excited to participate in the Plug n Play installation because it was an opportunity to play a creative role in a large-scale art installation at Burning Man, something the two of us have wanted to do since we first attended the festival almost fifteen years ago. We spent the next few months researching and brainstorming, sketching out ideas and trying to translate the five elements into something visual and compelling.

Here are a few images from the process, showing sketches and ideas as we honed in our our final compositions and set up a backyard painting studio.


Once we finished the murals in Portland, we packed them up and trucked them out to the Nevada Desert. Each mural hung on one of the five quad boxes (giant outlets) that surrounded the plug. During the week, the murals became a part of an interactive exprience for burning Man attendees that included DJ lessons with actual turntables and vinyl, break-dance and twerking classes, documentaries about the history of Hip Hop, and performances by a few Hip Hop legends. At the end of the week, we took down the murals, packed the rest of the quad boxes inside of the outlet, and lit the whole thing on fire in one spectacular burst of flames.