Burning Man recently hosted a panel discussion on innovative uses of urban space, from temporary parklets and community gardens to maker spaces and pop-up art. If you’re interested in activating your own city in radical ways that don’t necessarily rely on city bureaucracy and established processes, there’s a lot to learn from these folks.
Moderated by Blaine Merker of Gehl Studio and REBAR, with panelists Marc Roth of Learning Shelter and TechShop, Jake Levitas of the Urban Prototyping Festival, Jessica Hobbs of Flux Foundation, and Jay Rosenberg of 49 Farms and Hayes Valley Farm, this event was recorded at Burning Man headquarters in San Francisco in December 2014.
Belgian filmmaker, photographer, and art-activist Jan Beddegenoodts brought his Moving Europe project to Amsterdam last week with a spectacular mobile gallery and interactive parade. Participants took to the streets of the old city carrying oversized prints of Burning Man art photos taken by Jan and fellow photographers Thomas Dorn, Sidney Erthal, Scott London, and Gaby Thijsse, accompanied by a brass band, dancers, fire spinners, and no small number of delighted Amsterdammers caught up in the spontaneous celebration.
The event was an apt kickoff for the second annual Burning Man European Leadership Summit, a two-day event bringing together community leaders from twenty-five countries for an intensive weekend of knowledge-sharing, alliance-building, and cultural collaboration.
In the months ahead, Jan and his team will bring the Moving Europe experience to more cities including Riga, Athens, Lisbon, Berlin, and Reikjavic, working with local artists and burners in each country to imbue the event with local flavor and make each parade a unique street party. The Moving Europe team is also compiling video footage for a documentary project, interviewing people of all ages but particularly children and the elderly about their impressions of the show and their dreams for the future.
9-year old Julia Wolfe is a Burning Man veteran. You’ll want to take a moment out of your day to watch her wonderful talk at TEDxABQ in Albuquerque, New Mexico about her transformative experiences at Burning Man, and how she’s taken the lessons learned into her day-to-day life.
This continues to be a tough year of post-Playa bumps and bruises. (And I don’t mean the black and blue Xmas toenails.) Amidst all the controversy I was asked, “Is Burning Man dead?”
NOTE: I am a 17 year Burning Man Participant and Theme Camp organizer. I do not speak as an official rep of the Burning Man Organization.
P.S. Yes, that is my 71 year old mom on the right of the screen, enjoying her first-ever Playa visit. Her experience was amazing and has made our relationship even closer. But that, too, is a topic for another post. Long Live Burning Man.
It’s taken as a given that it is impossible, or at least highly impractical, to see everything at Burning Man. Short of super sonic Segways, or maybe a time machine, we’re limited by the physical constraints of our city, the temporal window of temporary community, and lest we forget, the physical and mental energy to actually go out into the dust and experience what may come.
I always feel like it’s over too soon, and that I missed so much. But in the long run, I remind myself that those feelings aren’t so much of a reason to be sad, but rather to be excited about coming back.
The night before the big burn, I made a 360 degree panorama that I hoped would capture the sheer bigness of this particular iteration of the Man. There’s an interactive version on my site or click on the image below. Would love to hear your feedback!
If I had an intern, or a ghost writer, or even another fifteen minutes, this space would be occupied by poignant observations, a vague reference towards the weather, a witty quip about Burners and their general resilience to adversity, and finish with a snarky zinger. But…it’s sunset, the light is great, I’m going out to shoot, so let’s get down to it!
Embrace, by the Pier Group
The Temple of Grace, by David Best
And last but not least, El Pulpo Mechanico…
Stuff is exploding outside, gotta go. More either late tonight, or early tomorrow.