So … “caravansary,” huh?
Okay … a few thoughts. Three, in fact.
I have to admit that on a purely imaginative, aesthetic, level, this theme hits my sweet spot. Fires my brain, inspires my fancy, in a manner that has nothing to do with rational appreciation.
I’m prepared to admit, if pressed, that there’s no accounting for taste, but I’m announcing my bias: I can’t give a fair accounting of it because this theme makes me want to write a series of short stories about a fantasy-world bazaar loosely based on real-world Burning Man.
I’m not actually going to do that. I’m probably not actually going to DO anything about the theme at all. I’m much too lazy for that level of commitment. I just “go to Burning Man” and see what happens.
But yeah, on an inspirational level? Loving this.
2) Potentially challenging to Burner culture
Read more »
They’re not usually this colorful – that was an art thing. (Photo by Scott Beale)
For decades Burning Man co-founder John Law has been one of a small band of pranksters bringing the historic Doggie Diner Heads to cacophony and counter-cultural events. It may not have been at Burning Man, but it’s been a part of our scene for years. I’ve seen them coming around the corner, parked on the streets – it’s magic.
Being John Law he’s done the work, logged the miles, paid for the gas, and everything else out of his own pocket, without asking for a thing.
But now, after all these years, the Doggie Diner Heads need repair, and restoring three vintage, 10-foot-tall, 300lb fiberglass and metal sculptures is a pretty big job.
If you’re interested in helping, check out the Doggie Diner restoration project Kickstarter page.
It’s a great cause, he’s offering some fairly astonishing rewards at the higher levels, and it will keep a delightful part of our San Francisco Bay Area weirdness going for another few decades.
Take a look.
ADDENDUM – I’ve just learned that the Doggie Diner Heads have been to Burning Man twice: in 1993, and 1996. Waaaaay before my time, but clearly a part of our history!
is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man is the former mascot of a fast food haggis franchise that never made it big outside a neighborhood in Glasgow. His opinions are in no way statements of the Burning Man organization. Contact him at Caveat (at) Burningman.com
A bunch of merit goes up in flames.
Burning Man as a cultural force is getting more interesting, not less, as it gets more mainstream attention and access to discourses about self and society. (Why yes, “Discourses about Self and Society” WAS a seminar that I took as a sophomore English major. Why do you ask?) No major cultural movement travels in a straight line, and no one can tell which aspects of Burner culture will be most challenging, or potentially revolutionary, as it catches on in new cultures and geographies.
The most interesting new challenge I see emerging comes as Burning Man is increasingly attended, referenced, and cited, by both academics and members of the tech industry – work cultures that, in their own ways, claim to be highly driven meritocracies.
Both are increasingly citing Burning Man as a model and a form of inspiration. And yet Burning Man … fundamentally and unambiguously … is not a meritocracy. Is, in fact, perhaps our most significant cultural movement at the present time to directly challenge the very idea that a meritocracy is the way we want to order society.
(Why yes, “The Way We Want to Order Society” was a post-graduate seminar I took during the summer for no credit. Why do you ask?)
This isn’t an explicit challenge, of course: one of the most interesting (and I’d argue effective) things about Burning Man is precisely that it doesn’t require anyone to sign a loyalty oath when they walk through the gate. (Unless you count a spanking …) Burning Man no more “calls out” a meritocracy any more than it calls out industrial pollution. But just as there’s no question that, taken to their even vaguely logical conclusions, the principles of Burning Man – if followed – would prevent industrial pollution, it’s pretty clear that – if followed – the principles of Burning Man would dismantle the application of meritocracies. Read more »
Andy Warhol thought this was art. But is it participation?
The closest I’ve ever come to “crowdfunding” something was asking a room to tip generously. But I’m told that web 2.0 and the “sharing economy” have revolutionized the process of funding theme camps and art for Burning Man.
Granted, we live in a time when “revolutionized” can apply to the way people shop for car insurance, so the word doesn’t mean what it used to. But the number of successful camps and cars at this year’s Burning Man that used Kickstarter or another crowdfunding platform couldn’t be ignored.
And why should they be ignored? These are all volunteers trying to create amazing things for the community’s enjoyment: anything that makes their lives easier is all for the good.
But let’s play Indiegogo show-and-tell and see if something comes up, like a body floating to the surface.
Most of the premiums offered for supporting projects the Burn are of the “have a t-shirt!” or “get a piece of the art for your home when we’re finished” variety, and there’s really nothing to see here.
But when you reach the upper echelon of donations, a different kind of premium reward often emerges. Can you spot the pattern? Read more »
And this represents … what … to the stranger?
Having reached the point where any development from Burning Man provokes a media storm (we’re just a few years away from “Larry Harvey sneezes, stock market slides”), I can’t help but wonder: what is the Burning Man shaped hole in the western psyche?
That might not make any sense. I apologize. It’s dark out all the time now, which adds a lazy, self-indulgent, streak to my writing. Like this paragraph. Completely unnecessary. Yet here we are. I know better. Ah well. What’re ya gonna do? To fix this I’d have to edit the first paragraph, and who has that kind of energy?
Let me explain, in a drawn-out, round-about, kind of way, what I’m asking. Those of you who aren’t charmed by unnecessary digressions might want to skip to this article about sex in the U.S. Senate. Salaciously speaking, that’s the high point of this post. I’m not going to mention fellating a U.S. Senator again.
In his magisterial new book “Anti-Judiasm,” historian David Nirenberg traces … not exactly the “history” of anti-Semitism, but the various shapes it has taken over the last 3,000 years. What he demonstrates is not just that a lot of people have hated Jews for a lot of stupid reasons, but that the justification for the hatred has often taken the shape of whatever was supposed to be wrong with Western culture at the time. Read more »
Five-Star Ride (photo by Peikwen Cheng)
Photographer Peikwen Cheng writes:
“I want to share some good news. Burning Man and its community has been a huge source of inspiration. And now I’ll be exhibiting photos taken on the playa from my series Lost and Found at Europe’s most important photography fair Paris Photo. If you think the Burning Man community in Europe would appreciate visiting, please feel free to share the details for the exhibition:
Paris Photo 2013
Vernissage: November 13
Exhibition: November 14-17
Location: Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris – Galerie Magda Danysz, Booth B03″
“Like 4 Real” at Burning Man 2013 (photo by Yomi Ayeni)
Did you see the “Like 4 Real” art piece at Burning Man 2013? Did you hate it? Did you discount it as a publicity (or some such) stunt by Facebook, or a group of overly-enthusiastic Burners from Silicon Valley? You’re not alone. Turns out that was a common misconception.
DADARA (aka Daniel Rozenberg), the Amsterdam-based artist who has created over a half-dozen thought-provoking art pieces for Burning Man over the years, recently spoke in front of 1,200 people at the Royal Concert Hall for TEDx Amsterdam about Like 4 Real, his most recent offering.
It’s a wonderful talk (not to mention an interactive and participatory experience) about the principle of Immediacy, wherein DADARA provides insight into this provocative piece, including the socio-technical conditions that inspired it, the Likefesto, and the experience of displaying the sculpture at Burning Man.
Enjoy … and we encourage you to participate in the Like meditation at the end. Of course, if you’re so inclined, you’re welcome to “like” the Like 4 Real Facebook page. For real.
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. Read more »