In a lecture at Stanford University on January 14, 2011, Fred Turner (Associate Professor of Communication) discussed his opinions on the social phenomenon of Burning Man and how he thinks the ideals of the festival apply to the marketplace that is evolving in our society, specifically in the Silicon Valley.
It’s a fascinating talk, filled with interesting insights … watch for yourself, and share your thoughts in the comments below:
Larry Page at the Google I/O Conference (Photo Credit: James Martin/CNET)
In his keynote speech at this week’s Google I/O developers conference, Google CEO (and long-time Burner) Larry Page suggested the world would benefit from a temporary (if not permanent?) autonomous zone free of social rules where people can experiment with new technologies and innovations, free of the restrictions inherent in attempting to deploy them broadly in the normal world. Essentially, a technology-specific Burning Man.
“We don’t want our world to change too fast. But maybe we could set apart a piece of the world … I like going to Burning Man, for example. An environment where people can try new things. I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society. What’s the effect on people, without having to deploy it to the whole world.”
Suffice to say, we couldn’t agree more.
Here’s more coverage on the talk from Silicon Beat and CNN, and his full speech can be seen here.
A couple amazing videos came across our radar recently. They’re amazing in and of themselves, but also as an exercise in contrasts … and a vivid reminder that every Big Thing started small.
One is a Super 8 video shot by Bob G at the first Burning Man to take place on the Black Rock Desert in 1990 (he added the soundtrack in 2000 as an effort to juxtapose what Burning Man was to where it’s evolved). The other is a beautiful high-definition time lapse video of Burning Man 2011 called “The Fertile Desert” by filmmaker Roy Two Thousand.
Never doubt the power of a spark to ignite a flame that will burn the world.
A temple is being built in Christchurch, New Zealand, commemorating the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that devastated that city in February 2011, killing 185 people.
Inspired by the ritual of Burning Man’s temples, and a recipient of a 2012 Black Rock Arts Foundation grant, the Temple for Christchurch will serve as a sacred space where people can leave mementos and write on its walls before witnessing its eventual burning. The intention is to help residents of Christchurch reflect upon and come to terms with the aftermath of the disaster.
Architectural mapping of Richter scale waveforms
Artist Hippathy Valentine designed the Temple as an architectural interpretation of the Richter scale waveforms that were created by the earthquake itself — and it symbolically stands 6.3 meters in height at its peak. Fittingly, it’s being constructed on one of the many empty demolition sites that now are common in Christchurch. Its modular design allows the structure to be taken apart and reconstructed in the New Zealand countryside, where it will be burned.
Looking for a different way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend? Join Burning Man Project for Cinco De Make-O, a free day of maker workshops on Saturday, May 4th from 1 – 3 p.m. here at Burning Man headquarters in San Francisco.
(Photo by Candice Nyando)
Want to learn how to create your own solar power system? Or make musical instruments with found objects? Or both? We got you covered.
At 1:00pm, Small Scale Solar 101 will present an overview of small and portable solar technology, including solar terminology, how it can be used for art, tricks to limit power usage and more. It will be followed by Small Scale Solar 102 at 2:00pm with a hands-on opportunity to put a small system together. These workshops will be led by Chaz Pelling.
(Photo by Waldemar Horwat)
At 1:30pm, you’ve got two instrument-making workshops to choose from. In the first one, “Making Music with Found Objects”, Lydia of the musical group GamelanX will guide participants in creating musical instruments out of found objects (participants should bring discarded metal objects such as cans, pipes, car parts, kitchen utensils, etc.). The second workshop will be led by members of the Exploratorium’s “Explorables” group, demonstrating how to make several easy instruments out of drinking straws — all materials will be provided for this one. Both workshops conclude at 2:45pm, when everyone will convene for a music jam!
Please RSVP for the workshop(s) you would like to attend.
Burning Man Project is part of a network of non-profit and volunteer groups working to grow the Burning Man cultural movement by circulating the Burning Man ethos globally. For more information on Burning Man Project, please visit their website.
AfrikaBurn 2013 — Burning Man’s official African regional Burn — is underway in Tankwa, South Africa. Now in its seventh year, AfrikaBurn is rightfully touted as “the spectacular result of the creative expression of a community of volunteers who, once a year, gather in the Tankwa Karoo to create a temporary city of art, theme camps, costume, music and performance!”
The event takes place May 1-6 on an expanse of remote desert in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa akin to the Black Rock Desert of Nevada (albeit a little more rocky), and its population has steadily grown since its inception … they’re expecting 8,000 participants this year. Read more »
Burning Man’s Lawsuit Against New Fees Moves Ahead NBC Bay Area (4/30/2013) The Man does not abide the county’s fee. A lawsuit filed by organizers of Burning Man against Pershing County, Nevada — where Black Rock City sets up every August in the desert — over the local government’s new fees for the event is going forward, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Every year, the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) — Burning Man’s sister non-profit dedicated to the funding of interactive, participatory and civic art projects around the world, year round — awards grants to support art projects that reflect and forward its mission.
In 2012, one of those grant recipients was FLOAT, “a participatory art/design project using air-quality-sensing kites in Beijing, China. FLOAT had two components; a workshop and a public installation. The workshops gathered local Beijing residents to make kites with an air-quality-sensing module, and the public installation was a group kite flight in parks throughout the city using these kites. The air quality data was fed and geolocated onto a mapping API, and displayed through LED lights. A series of longer term installations throughout the city offered residents ‘air quality stations’ that displayed air quality data in real time, previously recorded data and education about urban health. Through the poetics and playfulness of kite flying, FLOAT sparked dialogue on urban environmental health issues, and gave agency to city dwellers to map, record and engage actively in the monitoring of their environment.”
A scene from “Stars in the Haze”, by Joshua Frank
If you find this ingenious and important project intriguing, we highly recommend you watch “Stars in the Haze”, a fascinating short documentary film about the project, written, shot and edited by Joshua Frank.
You can see a full listing of all of BRAF’s art grant recipients from 2013 and years past here on their website. These grants are made possible by the generous donations of good folks like YOU. If you’d like to help, please donate.