Burning Book Club – Chapter 4: Sweeping the corpse of God under the rug and pretending it never happened

Book-Burning(This post is part of our continuing “Book Club” reading of Terry Eagleton’s “Culture and the Death of God.” Read all the book club entries)

Many of the kinds of people who would ever bother to wonder “who was the first real atheist?” think that the answer is Nietzsche.

History’s highlight reel would tend to confirm the call: the very words “God is dead” are captioned “Friedrich Nietzsche.” He kind of owns the franchise.

But in the first chapter of “Culture and the Death of God” to really approach modernity, Eagleton has his doubts. These doubts reveal just how difficult it is to live in a world free of religion, given just how conditioned the culture we live in is by its assumptions and epistemology.

Nietzsche himself understood these difficulties better than most. “Nietzsche sees that civilization is in the process of ditching divinity while still clinging to religious values, and that this egregious act of bad faith must not go uncontested,” Eagleton writes. “You cannot kick away the foundations and expect the building still to stand.”

You can’t base morality on something you believe to be false without living in a constant state of hypocrisy. But no one has convincingly rethought moral principles from first-principles … or even agreed on what those would be.

It’s like saying: “we want to live in a world free of air.” That’s all well and good, but how exactly would we breathe? Assuming it can be done, that Man does not breathe by air alone, it would be a radically different world. (more…)

Midburn 2015: Seeking Transcendence at the Israel Regional Burn

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This spring, in a desert halfway around the world from Black Rock, another Man will burn. The second Midburn, the official Israel regional event, is May 20–24, 2015. The theme is Transcendence. There is now a beacon of Burning Man culture in the Middle East, and may it be a force for peace.

Ha’ish (the Man) burns on the night of Shavuot. It’s the holiday of the gathering at Mount Sinai, the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses, the bonding together of a holy community through an earth-shaking mass revelation in the desert. This Biblical event underlies all the faiths — Islam, Christianity and Judaism alike — that call these flowering deserts the Holy Land. People of all those faiths — and plenty of people from non-faiths — Israelis, Palestinians, and international travelers will share the burn that night. (more…)

Artist Update: SoundScope by Kate Kowalczuk and Elyne Legarnisson

SoundScope
by Kate Kowalczuk and Elyne Legarnisson
2013 Black Rock Arts Foundation Grantees

The SoundScope artists are are pleased to announce their eminent exhibition at the LondonNewcastle Project Space in Shoreditch, London from the 22 to the 31 of January, 2015.

Come and experience the art installation if you are around! Otherwise keep an eye on the Facebook page where you will find pictures and videos very soon.

All the exhibition details on the website: www.SoundScope.london.

SOUNDSCOPE, Music as an Imaginary Space.
January 22 – 31, 2015
Hours open to the public: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
LondonNewcastle Project Space
28, Redchurch Street. E2 7DP London
www.SoundScope.london
www.facebook.com/Experience.SoundScope

SoundScope Flyer
2013 BRAF Grantees, SoundScope, debut their piece in London, UK.

About SoundScope

What if Sound was Space?

SoundScope is an art installation offering a spatial journey through music. This imaginary space is an alternative to conventional configurations of music performances. It translates music into an immersive landscape of lights in motion. Merging sound and space, SoundScope proposes a synaesthetic experience to the audience.

The Art Installation uses multiple projections onto translucent materials alongside surround sound technologies to create an augmented 3D environment responding to music. The amplitude, frequency and duration of each note is translated into a unique pattern in motion. The sound, visual and spatial language of SoundScope is inspired by water motions, from rain to storms, agitated to calm seas.

This mathematical and emotional translation aims at providing the visitors with an intuitive spatial insight into music. It is set in a reflective environment enhancing the endless nature of this imaginary journey.

This project is supported by Burning Man Arts / Black Rock Art Foundation and Londonewcastle Project Space.

Artist Update: Micro by Purring Tiger

Micro
by Purring Tiger / Aaron Sherwood & Kiori Kawai
2014 Burning Man art project

MICRO has been commissioned by Federation Square’s Creative Program for the Pause Festival 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

This interactive tactile and auditory installation, exhibited at 2014’s Burning Man event, continues to gain momentum and exposure. Its interactive glowing orbs, activated by touch and responding with sounds, are irresistible to dancers and performance artists. The MICRO crew will be hosting a workshop for dance students of Deakin University, working with them to create new interactive performances to share.

MICRO in Melbourne, Australia
Performance – Feb.12-15, 2015 – 9:00 p.m.
Installation – Feb. 9-15, 2015 – 8:00 p.m. -11:30 p.m.
Federation Square
Corner Swanston St & Flinders St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Australia

Watch this compilation video of performances with MICRO at Burning Man, 2014.

MICRO Performance – Burning Man 2014 from Aaron Sherwood on Vimeo.

Thanks For Your Support!

bm_logoBurning Man gratefully acknowledges our many valued participants, volunteers and supporters who joined us in 2014 in celebrating and exploring the limitless creative possibilities of our community.

We’re a community-based organization, and everything we do is driven by community participation, communal effort and gifting. While ticket sales cover the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City, your generous donations support our year round work directly, as well as our organizational capacity to execute them.

Read on for a look back at a just a few of the highlights from our 2014 community-based programs and projects. We couldn’t have done it without your support!

New in 2014

From launching our new burningman.org website to creating a new Burning Man Arts Program that will inspire and fund art projects for years to come, 2014 was a year of accomplishments and growth for Burning Man.

Thanks to your support, in 2014 we were able to build our infrastructure so we can be responsive to the needs of our community as it continues to grow. Our new website is symbolic of this growth as we start our first full year since the merger of the Burning Man Art Department and the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) to create Burning Man Arts.

Thanks to the merger we are now able to provide more grants to artists than ever before, bringing more art to Black Rock City and offer more opportunities for artists to create and exhibit work outside of Burning Man.

Arts

Global Art Grants – Artichoke

David Best
David Best

In 2014, in collaboration with the UK-based Artichoke Trust, Burning Man provided its first grant under the newly reorganized Burning Man Arts program to bring an ambitious community art project to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland. This David Best temple will turn the notion of bonfires and burning in Northern Ireland upside-down. Read more here.

In addition, Burning Man Arts has awarded a grant to support documentary filmmaker Laurent LeGall, who is working on a full-length film about David Best’s life and work. He will shoot the temple project in Northern Ireland for the film, which is expected to be released sometime in 2015.

Big Art for Small Towns – Desert Tortoise

Desert Tortoise, Fernley, NV
Desert Tortoise, Fernley, NV

As part of the Big Art for Small Towns initiative, we collaborated with the City of Fernley to create the “Desert Tortoise,” an impressive art piece composed of mosaic tiles prepared by 2,400 Fernley school children. “Desert Tortoise,” a reflection of Nevada’s wildlife, was selected as the third, and permanent, art installation for a new park being constructed on Main Street, across from City Hall and the courthouse in Fernley. The project unified the community around Burning Man art principles to create a civic project. The other two art installations, which are temporary, “The Bottlecap Gazebo” and “Rockspinner 6,” are interactive large-scale art pieces that will also be placed in the park for the next two years.

Civic Engagement

Burners Without Borders

Due to this community’s relentless participation and support, 2014 was an incredible year for Burners Without Borders.

BWB provided over $15K in grants to over 20 new projects that wouldn’t otherwise been possible, and long-term programs have blossomed in beautiful and unexpected ways. BWB’s Detroit Backpack project, now in its sixth year, experienced unprecedented growth thanks to a significant financial donation that enabled over 700 backpacks full of winter survival supplies to be distributed to Detroit’s homeless. BWB’s Motomoto fire spinning program, serving street youth in Kenya, has now expanded to encompass robust interventions that include teaching the life skills and job skills that will help them get off the dangerous streets of Nairobi.

Jacmel Ekspresyon
Jakmel Ekspresyon

The work that BWB began in 2013 continued to grow in 2014, most notably BWB’s Hurricane Sandy Relief program and the Jakmel Ekspresyon Screenprinting project in Haiti. In 2013, BWB gifted over $2.5 million in free demolition and house removal to low-income residents of Union Beach, NJ who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy. This gift enabled these families to quickly take advantage of federal funds that were crucial in helping them get back on their feet. In 2014, fifteen of those residents received the first modular homes in the region, and more homes are on the way.

BWB will be inspiring more community projects and bringing innovation to disaster recovery in 2016. You are invited to participate. Join us!

Civic Art Program – The Bike Bridge

Bike Bridge
Bike Bridge

The Bike Bridge is both an art piece and a collaboration project with the youth of Oakland, artist Michael Christian, and with partner organization The Crucible. The twelve enrolled participants, all young women, began the project with classes in welding and art-bicycle creation, generously hosted by The Crucible. The program culminated in the collaborative creation of a large-scale sculpture made of reclaimed bicycle parts. Check out the documentary.

Global Network of Emerging Community Leaders

Regional Network

The Regional Network is the year-round embodiment of the Burning Man experience, supporting it as a global cultural movement. In 2014 more than 250 volunteer Regional Contacts in over 125 regions in 34 countries help local Burners connect with each other, while bringing Burning Man principles and culture into their local communities through community initiatives, collaborative projects, art, creative self-expression and communal effort.

Last year, new Regional Contacts started igniting activity in small, but growing communities like Finland and the United Arab Emirates. Regional groups across five continents collaborated to produce over 65 official events in the spirit of the Ten Principles including AfrikaBurn to the first Dutch Decompression. They brought their local flavor to the ring of interactive Caravansary Souk tents at the base of the Man. You can learn more about the Network and plug in at regionals.burningman.org.

Global Leadership Conference

glcteamIn February 2014 the Burning Man Global Network hosted its first overseas conference – The European Leadership Summit – in Berlin. Participants addressed the global growth of our culture, the 10 Principles, interactive art and transformative experiences. Burning Man community organizers and thought leaders registered from 23 countries. Representatives from Austria, Holland, Spain, Belgium, England, Czech, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Sweden, Poland, Sweden, and Latvia, and the USA shared ideas, skills, and worked together towards a shared vision for the future. Burning Man staff and the local Burner community in Berlin provided a platform for these leaders to convene and collaborate.

European Leadership Summit

In April 2014 we hosted our 8th Annual Global Leadership Conference (GLC) in the Bay Area. Over 300 Burning Man community leaders from around the world gathered in San Francisco to connect, share ideas and develop collaborative projects.

Education

Desert Art Preview

Additionally, for the past two years we’ve held our “Desert Art Preview” at San Francisco’s De Young Museum, a lecture series and art exhibition, which offers a sneak preview of some of the many notable art projects in progress for Burning Man 2014. This event is one of the many opportunities we offer urban communities to learn about new projects and how they can get involved and support up-and-coming, highly collaborative artists.


Please help us spread the word about the many ways Burning Man is changing the world for the better. We appreciate your participation in our community and we appreciate your help in extending our work beyond Black Rock City.

Again, all of us at Burning Man extend our deepest gratitude for the great work all of us did together in 2014, and we hope you will join our efforts in 2015. Please keep participating!

 

Harley Dubois Shares Burning Man with ‘The Feast’ Attendees

feast logoBurning Man Founder and Chief Transition Officer, Harley K. Dubois, spoke at the 2014 Conference of The Feast in Brooklyn, New York. The speakers in 2014 were asked to address building new skills, offering and receiving each other’s new perspectives, and supporting projects and innovators in realizing the future together.

The mission of The Feast is to connect makers, doers and innovators around shared vision and to work together to transform each other, communities and the world.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.14.45 AMHarley began her talk (which you can watch online) by asking how many attendees had been to Burning Man, and if they had not, had they heard of it. Lots of hands went up in the audience.

In her presentation, Harley referenced the image of Black Rock City, and how the horseshoe shape of the City centers around the Man as a constant reminder to be present and participate. And she explored the 10 Principles and how they infuse themselves into daily life in Black Rock City and beyond.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.29.25 AMHarley noted that most of the attendees were at the conference because of a shared desire to make the world a better place — when you met someone in the hall, you could assume you have this mission in common.

That should ideally be the case at Burning Man as well. The 10 Principles are the same kind of shared context, making it easier for Burners to trust each other’s intentions and strike up an interesting relationship. And in their various, sometimes counter-intuitive ways, they’re also all about improving the world.

Crimson Rose’s Interactive Art Panel at the International Sculpture Center Conference

Burning Man founder Crimson Rose continues her tour of urban art conferences, this time appearing on a panel at the International Sculpture Center Conference in New Orleans. Here’s what she had to say about her visit:

1743654_10153417647764056_6112845274064115113_nI saw that the theme for this years ISC’s Conference, now in its 24th year was Sculpture, Culture & Community. I knew that Burning Man needed to be involved and successfully applied for a panel called “Ignite the Art Spirit through Interactive Community Collaboration:”

“Interactive Community Collaboration is the context for creativity that blurs the distinction between audience and art form. People are transformed from spectator to participant and are given permission to become active contributors to a creative process. Gifting the experience of interactive art to a community is a way that is inclusive rather than exclusive, that permits spontaneous and immediate opportunities to interact with the art and to create ritual around such engagement.”

I was joined on the panel by David Best, the great sculptor who created the Temple at Burning Man, Sean Orlando from Five Tone Crane Arts Group, and Delaney Martin of New Orleans Airlift. We discussed the ideal vessel or receptacle for allowing interactive collaboration to flourish — be it Black Rock City or a public square in New Orleans — as well as the art of setting your art on fire, a practice of impermanence that’s far from the norm in the art world.

While in New Orleans, we also had an opportunity to take a tour of the Public Art of the City, which I truly enjoyed.

Burning Man as a Maker Movement for Jungian Archetypes – the return of book club!

Burning BooksHi Everybody:

Last year I started reading literary scholar Terry Eagleton’s book “Culture and the Death of God,” and I was so struck by what I saw as its relevance to Burning Man’s place in the modern world that I said “I’ll start a book club on the Burning Blog so anyone interested can read it with me!”

It was a terrible idea.  Just terrible.  And then Burning Man happened, and I was so busy that I stopped reading the book for a while and … just terrible.

It’s 2015 now, and I’d really like to finish the book, and as long as I’m reading it, I might as well finish the book club thing to.  Why?  Because my parents always said “Eat everything on your plate, young man,” and that’s why I have high blood pressure today. 

Going over old book club entries, I also continue to be impressed by what I see as a connection between the long-standing cultural movements that Eagleton is incisively presenting and the potential place for Burning Man in contemporary culture.  So .. what the hell.

The next book club entry, on Chapter 5 (“The Death of God”) will appear in about two weeks.  In the meantime, if you don’t want to read (or re-read) all the previous entries, here’s an “our story so far” summary – not, strictly speaking, what Eagleton is saying about history and culture so much as my gloss on what the subjects covered all suggest.  (more…)