Event: “The Founders Speak: Burning Man, Technology, Religion & the Future”

Event flyer
Ooooh! Event flyer!

The Burning Man Project is proud to join Columbia University’s Department of Religion and Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life to present a forum on Burning Man, technology, religion and the future, featuring panelists Larry Harvey (founder of Burning Man), John Perry Barlow (founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation) and Peter Hirshberg (disruptive cultures and technology expert).

Dr. David Kittay of Columbia’s Department of Religion will moderate a lively conversation about Burning Man as a philosophical movement, its history, and its predicted global applications.

This event is free and open to the public. Reserve your seat here.

The Founders Speak
Tuesday Nov. 19th
7-9pm
Altschul Auditorium (directions)
Columbia University
New York, NY

Much of our use of tech these days is disembodied, and some of it is alienating. Both tech and Burning Man have deeply religious aspects involving sacred spaces (virtual and playa), and his his class, Dr. Kittay looks at whether the 10 Principles could have a corrective effect on the disembodied and alienating tendencies of technology. Additionally, many of the leaders of the tech movement are Burners, so there’s a sociological as well as theoretical and practical aspect to the intersection of Burning Man and technology.

Larry Harvey is the Founder and Executive Director of the Burning Man Project and Chairman of the Board of the Black Rock Arts Foundation. He co-chairs Burning Man’s Art Department, scripts and co-curates the annual art theme, and collaborates with artists in creating aspects of the art theme and the design of Black Rock City. Larry is also a political planner. He supervises the organization’s lobbying efforts and regularly attends meetings with state, county and federal agencies. As a spokesperson for Burning Man, Larry is frequently interviewed and has lectured at Harvard, the Commonwealth Club of California, the Walker Art Center, and the Oxford Union.

John Perry Barlow is a former Wyoming rancher and Grateful Dead lyricist. He graduated in 1969 with High Honors in comparative religion from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. More recently, he co-founded and still co-chairs the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He was the first to apply the term Cyberspace to the “place” it presently describes. He has written for a diversity of publications, including Communications of the ACM, Mondo 2000, The New York Times, and Time. He has been on the masthead of Wired Magazine since it was founded. His piece on the future of copyright, “The Economy of Ideas” is taught in many law schools and his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” is posted on thousands of web sites. In 1997, he was a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and has been, since 1998, as a Berkman Fellow at the Harvard Law School. He works actively with several consulting groups, including Diamond Technology Partners, Vanguard, and Global Business Network. In June 1999, FutureBanker Magazine named him “One of the 25 Most Influential People in Financial Services”. He writes, speaks, and consults on a broad variety of subjects, particularly digital economy.

Peter Hirshberg is a marketing specialist at the epicenter of emerging technology, who has spent a quarter of a century charting the reverberations of all things high tech in culture and in business. Hirshberg first helped bring Apple into the online services arena, then acted as strategic adviser to Microsoft, AOL and NBC. Along the way, he was CEO of Gloss.com and Elemental Software. He’s built a deep understanding of the fundamentals of content production and consumption — and how they’ve changed, both online and off. Hirshberg is a trustee of the Computer History Museum and a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. He serves on the advisory board of Technorati and keeps up a lively blog on disruptive culture.

Youth Educational Spaceship Lands in Vegas on November 15!

Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire 2013
Kids enjoy the Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire 2013 (photo by Heather White)

Las Vegas, NV – The Youth Educational Spaceship (Y.E.S.) project is landing in Las Vegas! Y.E.S. is a mobile spaceship classroom built from repurposed and found objects by artist Dana Albany, together with kids from San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Hunters Point neighborhoods. This collaborative art program for youth gives them time and space to create, participate, and then exhibit their work, while engaging children in hands-on experience focusing on art and technology.

Y.E.S. will be open to the public at the Learning Village, 727 Fremont Street, starting Friday November 15, with a variety of family-friendly programming including spaceship tours, mosaic workshops with recycled materials, wiring demos and interactive robotic demos, culminating in a closing ceremony and children’s art show on December 8. For more information about programming, please click here.

This program is a collaboration between Burning Man Project and Las Vegas’ Downtown Project. (more…)

Event: “Collaborative Creativity, Collaborative Spaces”

Philly Mid-Atlantic CORE Team and their creation "Stella Octangula", 2012 (photo by Terry Pratt)
Philly Mid-Atlantic CORE Team and their creation “Stella Octangula”, 2012 (photo by Terry Pratt)

Join us for an evening of discussion and knowledge-sharing about radical collaboration! Burning Man Project presents:

Collaborative Creativity, Collaborative Spaces
Thursday, November 14
7:00 – 9:00 pm
@ Burning Man Project
660 Alabama Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco (NOTE: New location!)

Description:

Effective collaboration is critical to manifesting the large-scale installations and experiences that have become the hallmark of Burning Man culture. And it’s just as critical to have access to the kind of physical spaces that are conducive to these collaborative efforts.

Please join us for an evening of discussion about the ins and outs, ups and downs of creative collaborations and the places in which they happen. You’ll hear from artists and place-makers about what works, what doesn’t, best practices, and potential pitfalls.

Featured presenters:

Jess Hobbs, Artist, Flux Foundation
Mike Zuckerman, Place Maker, [freespace]
Tomas McCabe, Executive Director, Black Rock Arts Foundation
Moderated by $teven Raspa, Arts Advocate & Community Events Producer, Burning Man

Information and Tickets:

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/8866274265.

Event: “The Gift: From Economy to Cosmology”

The Gift
The Gift

Join us for a lively discussion about the power and dynamics of gifting!
Burning Man Project presents:

The Gift: From Economy to Cosmology
Monday, October 28
6:00 – 9:30 pm
@ The Sunflower Center
1435 North McDowell Blvd. Suite 100, Petaluma, CA

Description:

The gift and sharing economy is becoming an important component of our culture. The economic consequences of this movement are profound, signaling a transition to a new economic era. Beyond economy, this movement toward gift is part of an even bigger shift in our conception of self, nature, and cosmos.

Charles Eisenstein
Charles Eisenstein

This exciting and inspiring evening will feature a presentation from Charles Eisenstein, followed by a panel with special guest gifting artists David Best and Joshua Coffy, moderated by Julia Bystrova of Transition’s Heart and Soul outreach. We will have a lively discussion!

The evening will benefit the work of Transition US and Burning Man Project. These nonprofit organizations are doing real work in the world to educate and build community in the spirit of a more sustainable and just society. Because this is a fundraiser, we will be inviting your gifting. There is no set cost to attend though we do ask a contribution based your value received. Donations to both organizations are fully tax deductible.

Organic wine and Lydia’s healthy fare will be available for purchase. Come early to enjoy and connect!

For entry cost info or to reserve your spot please click here.

Your donation will reserve your space, and will be divided equally between the two organizations. You may attend and choose to make a donation of any amount at the door, if there is still space available.

Featured presenters:

Charles Eisenstein, author, “Sacred Economics”
David Best, artist
Joshua Coffy, artist
Moderated by Julia Bystrova, Transition’s Heart and Soul

Information and Tickets:

For more information and tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/477809.

“The Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis” – A BRAF Benefit

Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis
Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis

The Black Rock Arts Foundation presents…

The Artumnal Gathering: Metamorphosis
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Dinner 6:00 p.m., Main Event 9:45 p.m.

The Bently Reserve
400 Sansome St.
San Francisco, CA 94111

For the last twelve years, BRAF has enjoyed the privilege of working with artists who are breaking the mold of public art, and who prioritize community benefit and involvement in their work. We believe in their vision and are honored to offer them our support.

BRAF is nearing a pivotal moment in our evolution. We recognize that there are more avenues of growth to be explored, more communities in need of art, and more connections and collaborations to be nurtured.

Now is the perfect time to recognize our community’s extraordinary artists! Join us in celebration of our past work and collaborators, and support BRAF’s future initiatives!

BRAF’s seventh annual gala event includes epicurean delights, sophisticated libations, tantalizing treats, wondrous pleasures, captivating featured and roaming live performances, DJ’s, original artwork by BRAF’s favorite artists, dancing, raffle, gallery art sale, live and silent auction featuring exclusive experiences and items, and abundant expressions of creativity!

This event sells out! Buy tickets today!

All tickets are 21 and over. Black Rock Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit. A portion of your ticket price is tax-deductible.

Buy tickets here!

Please feel free to contact us for more information by emailing artumnal here: artumnal (at) blackrockarts.org.

Burning Down the Library

Peruse it or Lose it LibraryIn 2003 posters went up around Los Angeles featuring cuddly dogs and the cutest of kittens.  Above them, in big block letters, were the words:

We will kill our pets to protest the War.

If President Bush didn’t pull out of Iraq, the poster went on to say, “We, the Raelian Pet Owners United to Stop War, will kill our pets.”  It listed a date and time.  At a dog park, of course.

It was hilarious … and actually generated a police investigation … but it was only so interesting.  Because of course the Los Angeles Cacophony Society (the poster’s true author) wasn’t really going to kill any pets, and of course George Bush wasn’t going to pull out of Iraq, and there was nothing any members of the public could do about it anyway.  So, yeah:  very funny joke, but nothing to see here.

Ten years later, two Arizona Burners may have just done Cacophony one better.

In July Admiral Fiesta and Sista Turtle Dove began work on the “Peruse it or Lose it Library,” which had its first shelf life at last weekend’s Arizona Decompression.  The premise is simple:  they built a library for Decompression, and at the end of the event they burned it – along with whatever books were left.

If you didn’t want a book to burn, you … yes, you, the person walking by … had to take it.  Otherwise it went up in flames.

“We were compared to Nazis on several occasions,” Admiral Fiesta told me.  “To paraphrase a friend’s argument on Facebook, the Nazis were burning books as an act of censorship – particularly censorship of deviant art and pornography.”

The Nazis, however, were not famous for willingly letting things go.  The “Peruse it or Lose it Library” was different:  practically begging passers-by to be their own Schindler.

“During the event I had many people come up to me and ask, ‘Are you really going to burn books on Saturday?’” Sista Turtle Dove said.  “My typical response was, ‘Only if there are any left…’” (more…)

Black Rock Solar Honored for Selflessness

Black Rock Solar
Black Rock Solar

Well now … Burning Man’s spin-off non-profit Black Rock Solar is being recognized for their great work and good deeds over the years!

Solar Power World Newsletter has announced that Black Rock Solar has been awarded the Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund Award — honoring BRS’s selflessness in solar advocacy, installations and education work. BRS Executive Director Paddy McCully will accept the award at the Solar Power World Top 250 Gala in Chicago, during the Solar Power International conference.

Here’s the story from SPWN:

By popular acclamation, Black Rock Solar, a Reno, Nev.-based solar non-profit installer, will be awarded the Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund Award.

The Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund will recognize the non-profit at the Solar Power World Top Contractors Gala on Oct. 21 at The Drake Hotel in Chicago for its selfless solar advocacy, installations and education work.

Black Rock Solar began as a volunteer crew installing a 30-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) array at the Burning Man festival in 2007. That fall, the array was donated to the nearby town of Gerlach, Nev., and Black Rock Solar began its mission of building low-cost solar for organizations and communities who can use it the most.

Since 2007, Black Rock Solar has installed more than three megawatts of solar power for tribes, non-profits and schools in Nevada. Many of its systems have been built at zero cost to its clients.

The BDR Fund is a project of The Solar Foundation, a national non-profit dedicated to expanding access to solar energy and broadening solar energy education in our nation’s K-12 schools. Named for Brian Robertson, a young entrepreneur and solar pioneer who died in a plane crash in December 2011, the award was created to honor Brian’s legacy and recognize the often overlooked work of community-oriented organizations and companies in the world of solar.

“Black Rock and others who have demonstrated their dedication to solar philanthropy make us proud to be part of this industry, and it is important that their generosity be publicly acknowledged,” said BDR Fund Board Member Jigar Shah.

Grid Alternatives and Solar Liberty also competed for the award.

The Top Solar Contractors Gala, taking place during Solar Power International 2013, is the culminating ceremony celebrating the publication’s 2013 Top 250 Solar Contractors rankings. The event will bring together more than 80 companies and 300 installation professionals.

UPDATE: Here’s a nice recap of the gala.

SF Gets Decompressed

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We went to San Francisco’s version of Decompression on Sunday, and the cool grey city of love was looking anything but cool and grey: sunshine and late-summer warmth carried the day.

Esprit Park was jammed, the drinks were cool and the outfits were fantastic. No, we weren’t in the desert, and no, Burning Man wasn’t still happening, but wherever and whenever you get to the people and things that make you happy, that’s a good thing. And Decompression is that good thing.

There were art cars and info booths, Black Rock Solar and BMIR, flames and glowies, and plenty of happy people. It’s funny: during the event you might tend to stick with your own kind; ravers are with ravers, artists are with artists, builders are with builders. But at Decompression we all kind of get thrown together along four long blocks in the Dogpatch, and you see all the disparate sides of Burning Man in a comparatively small space.

There was Larry his own self behind the yellow tape at the Friends of DPW area (and thank you Caitlin and Pinkie and Abbey and all the rest who gave their time and money and energy to create a safe landing place for the slightly shell-shocked folks who only last week got back from the desert after finishing up Playa Restoration).

There were sound stages all along the event area, and there were DJs and live music, and interestingly enough there were also spoken-word performances, which leads you to believe that the entertainment and scope of what happens at Decom continues to expand and evolve. Late in the night a young guy was telling the story of a recent breakup, and there was a good 60 people or so, sitting and listening and feeling a little more connected to the experiences we all share.

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There was Marian and Lady Bee and Will Chase and Lightning and other BM luminaries, and there was Plex and Deborah and dozens if not hundreds of other volunteers who make all this possible. It never ceases to amaze us how much is accomplished because of the kindness and generosity of and open-heartedness of the volunteers. None of this could happen without them, and we thank them sincerely, if inadequately, every chance we get. Thank you for getting up early, thank you for staying up late, thank you for working the whole time. Thank you.

We naturally gravitated around the DPW enclave, because it felt like home. We could watch the parade of people strolling by, the stilt-walkers and the sparkle ponies, the makers and artists, the veterans and the newbies.

You probably remember how challenging it was to readjust to the default world when you got back from the desert. But imagine if you had been out there since the beginning of August and just now returned to your other life. The desert cleanup is finished, but the BLM inspection hasn’t taken place yet because the government is at least partially shut down. And it’s unclear when that inspection will happen. But if history is any guide, and of course it is, there won’t be anything to worry about; the Resto crew went over the playa inch by inch so that we can truly say that Burning Man is a leave-no-trace event.

There were signs yesterday, though, that environmental mindfulness can get left behind in the desert. At the end of the night, as we walked out to Mariposa street, we couldn’t help but notice how much litter was on the ground. Sigh. And that’s why there was another team of volunteers on duty very early Monday morning, making sure that we could justifiably claim that Decompression, like Burning Man, is a leave-no-trace event. It just needs a little help.

(more…)