Burning Man is an annual event and a thriving year-round culture. The event takes place the week leading up to and including Labor Day, in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The Burning Man organization (Black Rock City LLC) creates the infrastructure of Black Rock City, wherein attendees (or “participants”) dedicate themselves to the spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, leaving no trace. As simple as this may seem, trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. In this section you will find the peripheral definitions of what the event is as a whole, but to truly understand this event, one must participate.
Burning Man Conversation
the greatest freedom is to put enough order into this so that it can go and it can spread..
a play of imagination – not creativity – but imagination – we need to play out imagination more..
Artists are not included in our debate on how we build the economy for the future.
how do you reframe the world – art as a technique to help us see differently
reimagine jane jacobs – how would she react to burning man… she would love the emergence..
how do we move from clocks to clouds… precision to emergence
art is something you do for yourself to see differently
what does it mean to be free..
if you are coerced – you’re not responsible… but to be free is to be responsible..
find/follow burning man:
The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. Burning Man is organized by Black Rock City, LLC and has been running since 1986.
The Burning Man event and its affiliated communities are guided by ten principles that are meant to evoke the cultural ethos that has emerged from the event. They were originally written by Larry Harvey in 2004 as guidelines for regional organizing, then later became a universal criterion of the general culture of the multifaceted movement. They are:
- radical inclusion
- radical self-reliance
- radical self-expression
- communal effort
- civic responsibility
- leaving no trace
Black Rock City, often abbreviated to BRC, is the name of the temporary city created by Burning Man participants. Much of the layout and general city infrastructure is constructed by Department of Public Works (DPW) volunteers who often reside in Black Rock City for several weeks before and after the event. The remainder of the city including theme camps, villages, art installations and individual camping are all created by participants.
The developed part of the city is currently arranged as a series of concentric streets in an arc composing, since 1999, two-thirds of a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) diameter circle with the Man Sculpture and his supporting complex at the very center (40°47′11″N 119°12′23.40″W in 2012). Radial streets, sometimes called Avenues, extend from the Man to the outermost circle. The outlines of these streets are visible on aerial photographs. (see pic on wikipedia page)
interesting post by Ian on fb feb 2014:
Facebook is alight with indignation around the Burning Manticket sell out. Pondering: success of the event speaks to the deep longing that inhabits those who grew up in the dominant culture. The children of those who fled their homelands only to dominate another, bereft of our own roots, we come from Nowhere. Little wonder that courageous and heart-broken souls cobbled together a type of escapist sanity in the desert over 25 years ago. Now, as more of us awaken to the poverty of our time, we are presented with a choice: do we further alienate ourselves by believing “Home” exists in a specific geography, or do we put our shoulder to the hard labour of making Home where we are – in our broken cities, in our streets, in our hearts? I hope to return one day. And my love for Black Rock City will never wain, only grow deeper with age.
Implications of the burning man economic experiment http://t.co/3PuIwr5Ti8 via @seanjoreilly
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/timoreilly/status/503238207643725825
“The term ‘gift economy’ is and isn’t an oxymoron. Certainly, the world couldn’t be run through a gift economy,” Harvey says.
“Nobody makes it to and from Burning Man without either a day job or the [labors] of people who have day jobs,” he goes on. “We’re nowhere close to describing, exhibiting, or participating in an ‘economy’ that truly relies on gifting. … What we do have is a compelling gift ‘culture’—and it matters.”
It matters, says Harvey, because it has potential to provide a meaningful counterpoint to the “default world’s” system.
“That spirit, if spread in the world and widely adopted, would condition how people, as consumers in the marketplace, behave,” Harvey says. “Whereas if all of your self worth and esteem is invested in how much you consume, how many likes you get, or other quantifiable measures, the desire to simply possess things trumps our ability or capability to make moral connections with people around us. There should be room in the world for both systems to flourish. If they did, they would inform one another.”
Donations cover the $330,000 in annual operating costs for the warehouse, which opened in 2012, and its users provide supplies, repairs and other necessities. Inside, fine artists and jewelry makers create beside computer tinkerers and car restorers. Nearby, an aquaponic lettuce and mint operation is under way, not far from an effort to turn a vehicle into a hot air balloon.
“We try to ensure that whether you donate an hour or $50,000, that your gift is taken with the same gratitude,” Schultz says, adding that the key to this formula is “that everyone gives back more than they take.”
The hope at The Generator is, Schultz says, at “to refine the economic principles of what a gift economy is and what a decommodified, year-round space is.”
There are various challenges with this. Everything is easier when there’s an expiration date, for example.
“We don’t think the world can be Woodstock,” he says. “Who’d think the world could be a perpetual carnival? But we do think that the world could rediscover values that used to be automatically produced by culture but aren’t anymore because culture is subject to the commodification in our world. Everything is sold back to us, targeted to demographics. What we have to do is make progress in the quality of connection between people, not the quantity of consumption.”