We Burners of the San Francisco office have a story we like to tell. Burning Man is not just a week in the desert, the story goes. It’s not just the 40 regional Burns around the world, either. Burning Man is a global culture now, living, working, playing and growing year-round in the cities and hinterlands formerly known as the Default World. Here’s a new chapter in that story.
The [freespace] movement expects to launch in 10–13 new cities around the world in June. Each [freespace] is an open building that provides freedom, community, and permission for makers, hackers and artists of all stripes, like an urban version of the “permission engine” we have on the playa. The buildings are donated essentially for free, just to see what people will do with them. Turns out they make art, hold fashion shows, host lectures, and make stuff for Burning Man, and they do it all in decommodified 10 Principles style.
And during this year’s World Cup — arguably the most global cultural phenomenon there is — [freespace] participants will tell the whole world what they’ve been up to.
The Global Burning Man Network is alive and thriving in Europe. Through gatherings and participatory projects, the community is coming together in truly amazing ways and we have a few exciting initiatives to spotlight: Barcelona’s Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) inspired project for Nowhere, Burning Night in Paris, Burning Burg in Germany, Latvia’s first annual regional burn, and Burning Man’s First Annual European Leadership Summit, which happened in February in Berlin.
Barcelona is Burning…
Barcelona is on fire! This past weekend, the Barcelona Burning Bash took place in Southern Catalonia and the Barcelona Burners and their international pals spent time making plans for an exciting community initiative. In the spirit of the CORE projects that brought together regional groups from 2011-2013 at Burning Man, the Barcelona Burner community is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to bring a large-scale, interactive art installation to this year’s Nowhere regional event in Spain, an annual happening that brings together over 1,000 Burners from across the world. The design of the art piece, called “COR Pur Trencat Bategant” (“Pure Broken Beating Hear” in Catalan), is based on the concept of deconstruction as a challenging process for traditional assumptions of certainty, identity and truth. Local artists, designers, techies and creators are teaming up to express the intersection of Burning Man culture with the spirit of Catalonia. The hope is that this year’s project at Nowhere will inspire other groups from across Europe to bring effigies to Nowhere and other regional events.The Barcelona team is now raising money to finalize their powerful vision.
Meanwhile, earlier this month in Germany…
In early May, 30 beloved Burners turned the castle in Lutter, a quaint German village, into a sparkling den of happiness. “Small and beautiful” best describes the cozy annual Burning Burg event. Participants enjoyed a delightful weekend filled with creative workshops, inspirational conversations and colorful activities such as the film screening of Ulrike Peichert’s documentary You Can’t Unburn The Fire. Participants were also able to gain valuable information to help them prepare for Nowhere and Burning Man 2014. Despite the poor weather outside, the spirit within the castle was phenomenal. Castle inhabitants and people from nearby villages also joined in on the festivities on Saturday evening and made the weekend unforgettable.
And we can never forget Paris…
In April, the Burning Man community in France hosted Burning Night in Paris. Nearly 1,300 participants filled the rooms of La Machine Du Moulin Rouge with color and magic. Over 20 DJs and a wide variety of acts performed on 3 stages until the wee hours of the morning, providing the sonic backdrop to a night filled with workshops, interactive machinery, performance and joy. April’s event marked the 13th installment of a truly amazing Burning Night event series that started off with 50 attendees in 2006. Stay tuned as we will soon announce a new team of French Regional Contacts that will help nurture the Burner community across the country.
Our Latvian rock stars…
Between June 21st and 24th our dear rock stars from Latvia are hosting their first regional burn: Degošais Jānis: Uguns Rituāls (Burning John: Ritual of Fire). The event takes place on an industrial hemp farm and coincides with Latvia’s biggest national holiday, Jāņi (pronounced yah-nyee). According to the tradition, on the night of Jāņi, a bonfire must be kept burning from sunset to sunrise. The farther the light from the fire reaches, the farther the sacredness and protection of this magical night reaches too. The night involves a variety of mystic, colorful and extremely inclusive events that bring the joy and fun of a wonderful and healthy new year to all participants. The theme is TRADITIONS, where the traditions and culture of Burning Man will blend with the traditions and culture of Latvia.
Berlin heats up…
We also thought you’d enjoy seeing this fun video that Profiles in Dust crew member Jan Beddegenoodts created to celebrate Burning Man’s first annual European Leadership Summit which took place in Berlin February 7-9, 2014. The weekend-long gathering brought together over 100 Regional Contacts and community leaders from over 30 countries. The Berlin Burners hosted the myriad Summit guests in grand style and put together Burning Bar, a night-long celebration that took place in an old silent movie theater. We can’t wait to see what the Berlin Burners do next! A Burner meetup is planned for this weekend at C-Base, an amazing space station that hosted our Summit kick-off mixer. Yay, Berlin!
It’s clear that Burner culture is thriving across Europe. To get involved in your local regional community and to find out what’s happening, visit regionals.burningman.com.
Groovik’s Cube, a reincarnation of a 2009 playa installation, is now on display as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the invention of the Rubik’s Cube in Jersey City. You can actually play the 26-foot-high light-up cube live via webcam from the Groovik’s Cube website. How cool is that?
Mike Tyka and a team of Burners from Seattle built the original Groovik’s Cube in less than five months on an out-of-pocket budget of $20,000. It has about 15,000 components. Since the 2009 Burn, the Cube has been on public display for more than a year.
On April 19, 2014, the Burning Man Project and ArtIsMobilUs collaborated to create the first ever AnyKidCanPaint “Our Earth”, and first three sided ARTwall at Earth Day SF. In addition ArtIsMobilUs provided an Earth Wall for everyone to paint or write what they love about about the earth.
The process for this collaboration started a couple of weeks earlier at a Burning Man Project Volunteer Appreciation Party. During the party the scissors came out and along with celebratory toasts to the volunteers there was much clipping to be done to make animal prints for the kids. (more…)
Alberta is a vast cold pine forest in central Canada. The largest city, Calgary, is so perfectly snow-covered that it once hosted the Winter Olympics, and the regional Burn there is held on an elk farm in the summer. The elk wander around, gazing at the otherworldly lights from the darkness of the forest and probably wondering what’s going on. The regional is called Freezerburn, and it is so far north that the sun comes up at 4 a.m.
I met a sound engineer from Alberta at the Global Leadership Conference this year. He belongs to a camp called Space Gnomes, and is asked by fellow campers to “fix the sound,” meaning to redirect sound waves.
Most of the time, flat speakers broadcast, sending sound waves in all 180 degrees; he focused the waves on certain areas, on a dancefloor, in one direction. That works for high frequencies, but “bass is more omnidirectional,” he said.
“So bass waves spill more,” I said.
“Basically,” he said. (more…)
If I tell you that “Western Culture” is dying, will I seem alarmist?
If I say that it is our responsibility, as citizens and Burners, to pick the gauntlet of culture up, will that seem absurdly triumphalist?
It does to me. But, over the next thousand words, that’s pretty much where I’m going to go.
Dammit. I hate it when I get like this.
A sense of mission looks bad on Burners, we’re much more appealing when we’re just having fun, but ignoring the evident is worse.
I missed this year’s Global Leadership Conference, but I am told that a moment came when a mass of people finally acknowledged that the idea of the “default world,” a real world from which Burning Man is an escape, no longer holds water. There are too many leaks. There are hundreds of thousands of self-identified Burners engaging in hundreds of regional events around the world.
That’s what makes this era of Burning Man different from what came before. We can no longer even pretend there is a “default world.” To quote the 1980s: we are the world. Only a small part of it, but inseparable from.
Last Friday, the Life Cube burned in the middle of Las Vegas. The flames carried 35,000 wishes written by the public up into the heavens.
Artist Scott Cohen has built and destroyed The Life Cube Project on the playa for a few years running, and now he’s brought its message into the default world. Anyone who passed by the structure before the burn was able to write down their wishes, and Cohen also brought cards to local elementary schools. DaveX (Burning Man’s Fire Art Safety Team manager) said his favorite of the kids’ wishes was “I want a gold monster truck.” He and a few other veteran Burners were on hand to make sure the Life Cube burned safely — including the inimitable Flash Hopkins, who emceed the proceedings.
There’s a beautiful photo gallery in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and here’s a great piece about the burn on the local news:
More than 100 European regional contacts, community leaders and regional event leads gathered in Berlin with Burning Man staff Feb. 7-9 for the inaugural Burning Man European Leadership Summit.
Through three days of presentations, group discussions and networking, participants and staff gained a deeper understanding of the broad range of community initiatives and visions of the future shared by Burners from countries across the continent. Burning Man staff led seminars covering event production and the evolving role of regional contacts. Participants also shared experiences on the unique nature of leadership in a collaborative culture and across multiple languages. (more…)