Zach Smith Tenere

Zachary Smith
Creator & Co-Lead Artist

When I set out to build Tree of Ténéré, my first installation for the playa, I never could have imagined the incredible team and hundreds of volunteers and donors that would play a part in making it a reality. I'm humbled by the talent and generosity of this community, and grateful for your support.

I live in San Francisco with my wife Sophie. You can contact me by emailing

Alex Green

Alex GreeN
Co-Lead Artist & Symmetry Labs CEO

My work as an artist and technologist bridges the digital and physical worlds. Before pursuing interactive art I was a physicist and jazz musician; both science and music are sources of inspiration in my work.

In recent years I've been focused on building modular "light instruments": volumetric lighting blocks with software that can be played like a musical instrument. My work has been featured in GizmodoCreators Project, Discovery Channel’s In The Making, an upcoming PBS documentary on the future of art called Ineffable with violinist Tim Fain, and in music videos for Eric Prydz and Cathedrals.

I've had the chance to perform at festivals around the world, including the Treasure Island Music Festival and Cannes Lions Innovation Festival, where I gave the keynote on “Beyond Sound: The Music Experience of the Future”. 


Mark Slee

My visual art draws heavily on a background in computer programming. I develop algorithmic patterns inspired both by organic and mathematical process, employing procedural motion, subtle variation, and evolving shifts in form and hue. My goal is to create vivid, colorful experiences that are pleasing both aesthetically and intellectually.

I've been developing an open-source stack for LED animation called LX Studio since my first playa light-art installation at my second Burn in 2010. The system has seen use in a variety of major installations, and it now powers the modeling, pattern animation, and real-time performance of the tree. Ténéré has to be one of the most audacious canvases I've ever seen envisioned, and I'm super excited to be creating for it.

Patrick Deegan

Patrick Deegan, PhD

I build intelligent and self-sovereign robots and am fascinated by the potential of technology, applied to the advancement of society for the benefit of all. I have been attending Burning Man since 1996. This year, I'm excited to bring a wealth of technical experience to the task of creating an open-platform that is at the intersection of art, interaction, and digital identity.  I'm inspired by an amazing team and the really beautiful vision we share, to illuminate and support transformational synergies with technology and offer an experience of transcendent oneness with nature and each other.


Shlomo Zippel, Hardware Engineer & Artist

I really enjoy combining art and engineering, and Burning Man provides ample opportunities to do so. I brought various projects to the playa over the years: climbable installations, art cars, and shiny wearables. It is great being part of a team and a project that is combing all of the above.

You can find me at various hackerspaces in San Francisco working on Light Layer, helping makers add interactive LEDs to their costumes and art installations.


Tanner Beree, digital Media lead

After my first burn I knew that becoming involved with an art project was in my future. As always the Playa provided; this time with The Tree of Ténéré. I work as a visual storyteller and couldn’t be more excited to document the journey of bringing this amazing piece of artwork to the people of Burning Man.

Come find me under the LED canopy of Ténéré!


Josh Elbaz, Project Manager

I manage hospital construction projects in Montreal. Throughout my career, I've learned to appreciate how beautiful art and light can affect the lives of patients and staff, and how these can help to heal the mind, body, and spirit. My hope is that the Tree of Ténéré will too have this effect on many Burners this summer, and so it is my great pleasure to collaborate with this amazing team to help bring this vision to fruition.

Riwa Harfoush

RIWA HARFOUSH, Community Builder

If the playa has taught me anything, it's the exponential nature of generosity. My fiancee Alex and I have felt how worthwhile our time, effort and love has been in building our camp (The Pineapple Motel) when we see our family of Pineapples come together each year to build our home in the dust. This year, we're looking beyond our little community and are so excited to rally an even larger family around this beautiful piece of art that can be experienced by all.


Nathaniel Hedges, Build Lead

I moved to San Francisco from Honolulu. For eleven years I was a trauma medic/deep-sea-diver in the United States Navy, and recently I made the transition to studying furniture/product design at California College of the Arts (CCA). I love to bike and sail, and I'm passionate about Muay Thai and avidly committed to physical fitness/personal wellness.

With encouragement from friends and family, I ventured into developing large-scale art installations for the Burning Man community. I'm grateful for an amazing community of Bay Area Burner friends and can't wait to see you all under Ténéré!


Matt herrick, Fundraising Lead

After running fundraising for 2016's "Catacomb of Veils," I swore that I would take this year off. However, Ténére's beauty and audaciousness inspired me to join the team. I am also a lead for Epic, Burning Man's "World Series of Poker" theme camp. 

In the default world, I live in San Francisco and work in enterprise sales.

Jeffrey Ord

Jeffrey Ord, Build Team

Coming soon


Clay Sader, Programming lead

I'm so incredibly excited to be a part of bringing Ténéré to the Burning Man community. Last year while being a small part of building Catacomb of Veils, I learned about the power of building spaces for healing and exploration. This year I'm proud be be bringing some of what I learned to help create this space of beauty, magic, and community. I cannot wait to lounge in the shade (and light) of Ténéré and see the community experience it for themselves.

I live in SF, but I spend most of my time in the default world in Africa and elsewhere, working to build software in the developing world to strengthen healthcare, crisis response, and development systems.

Steve Tam

Steve Tam, Community & Crowdfunding

I help organize the Pineapple Motel camp and am excited about building the narrative and community around Ténéré. 2017 will be my fourth burn and I am looking forward to finally contributing to an artistically and experientially driven piece of magic on the playa.

During the day I work in brand and marketing for an AI company. I helped launch Daybreaker in Toronto and now live with my wife in NYC.

Alex Terrien

Alexandre Terrien, Fundraising

I'm the co-founder of the Pineapple Motel camp and better known as "Monkey" on the playa. I'm a dedicated Burner and community builder and so excited to bring Ténéré to the playa.