This dictionary has a lot of words in it, but picking a “word of the day” is not a literary culture.
John Curley once wrote that many of the world’s greatest photographers come from around the globe specifically to take pictures at Burning Man. It’s obvious why. Burning Man has pioneered a unique visual aesthetic.
Look at a picture: there’s no question that it came from Burning Man.
It’s not just photography. Look at sculptures, or installation art: there’s no ambiguity which are in a “Burning Man” style and which aren’t. Some people at Burning Man may do other things (God bless ‘em) but Burning Man has still pioneered a distinctive look in the fine arts that many imitate but no one else really owns.
Architecture? Same thing. Fashion? You betcha. Sure you’ll find people in all kinds of outfits out on the playa … but when we talk about “Burning Man fashion,” we all know what we’re talking about.
While the arts at Burning Man are very diverse, the fact remains: for years Burning Man has been the center of major new trends in all the visual arts, and is still going strong, its distinctive influence only growing.
What about music, though?
That’s more complicated. However many of us wish it were different, Burning Man definitely has a distinct sound: a week of throbbing dubstep is practically synonymous with “Burning Man.” Again, not the only thing you’ll hear out there (I for one sing sea chanties, and Adrian has been evangelizing mash-ups for years), but definitely a signature. If someone says “Burning Man music” that’s what most people think of, and everyone knows it.
Unlike with the visual arts, however, I don’t think a serious case can be made that Burning Man is pioneering this sound. In fact, it’s fairly derivative of rave culture and club music. Sure, many of the world’s greatest DJs come to Burning Man to perform, but where the photographers are coming to take pictures that they couldn’t possibly take anywhere else in the world, the DJs are coming to do exactly what they do elsewhere for an audience.
It’s probably fair to say that Burner culture has an influence on that music, but we’re not leading the aesthetic.
That’s a pretty big jump down in influence from the visual arts to music. And when you get to the written word the influence disappears entirely. Read more »