June 9th, 2014  |  Filed under Burning Book Club

Burning Book Club: what the hell is a “spiritual resource,” anyway?

Burning Books(Read all Burning Book Club entries here)

Since the book club’s taking an extra week to finish chapter 2 of Terry Eagleton’s “Culture and the Death of God,” I thought I’d follow-up on a common line of questioning from last week’s entry.  Eagleton suggests near the end of chapter 1 that “Rationalized societies tend not only to impoverish their symbolic resources, but to pathologize them as well.”

A lot of people had questions about that.

I am going to try to address these questions, and to do so without mentioning Joseph Campbell’sThe Hero with A Thousand Faces” even once.  Although for many people I do think “Burning Man” functions as the “underworld” in Campbell’s much celebrated “Hero’s Journey.”

I should also note that this is only my own personal response to a text:  Caveat’s bullshit, not Burning Man’s bullshit.

If reading the last four paragraphs already has you bored, for god sake don’t keep reading.  Life is short!  Go kiss somebody you have a crush on!  Book Club will still be here next week.  Don’t waste your life the way I have.

(Ahem)

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June 7th, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Participate!

Honoraria and the Art of Black Rock City

Honoraria and Art of Black Rock City installations have been uploaded to the website and there are some fine looking projects slated for this year’s event. 2014 will sport an Man towering “many stories high, rising directly from the desert floor”, and from the looks of the Art descriptions, it’s clear that we also have some spectacular and mind blowing Art projects in the mix.

We have Pools and Sound Puddles, oases, Resticles and a Vulvatron. There will be silk, towers and minarets and Jessika Welz’ “Celestial Mechanica“, a “kinetic mechanical representation of our own solar system.” There will be camel and wagon trains and even ZZ Fish by Jan DeLano, Wendell DeLano, and Anne Pearce that explores the “determination, transformation, and the cycle of life across the vast oceans of the planet” of salmon migration. “Big Al” by Brennan Steele is an alligator effigy, spawned from the CORE by New Orleans Burners that “pays homage to the spark that brought the NOLA Community together, the inspiring event known as Burning Man”.

embracePeter Hudson brings his much anticipated new zoetrope, “Eternal Return” that “speculates that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form, an infinite number of times across infinite time and/or infinite space.”  The Pier Group, who brought us the Pier in 2011 and  Pier2 and La Llorona in 2012, return to the playa with a new project, “Embrace“, “a 7-story tall wooden cathedral-like sculpture of two human figures in an embrace.”

There will even be a volcano, Paha’oha’o by Kahai Tate … “rising thirty feet from the desert floor; the great volcano Paha’oha’o! At night its fiery peak will be visible from miles away as will the screams of those who cast themselves into her cauldron, seeking the joy of flaming transformation.”

54-b210f5385162276d0d572cd5a236ce7d_LOST-NOMADS-VULCANIA-bmanAlso gracing the playa will be Wormholes and Warps, Pulses, Pavilions and a Parasolvent. “The Lost Nomads of Vulcania” by Joe Mross & Archive Designs, is “a steampunk-inspired gypsy encampment featuring the Teluriz, one of the few remaining Vardo Class Steam Walkers built by the last surviving members of Captain Nemo’s crew.” There is Ice Fishing, an Observatory, some medieval pillory and stocks, and “lumenEssence” by Mauricio Bustos is a “sheltering organism that serves as a waypoint and retreat for weary playa travelers.” It is constructed of 33 30-foot LED illuminated towers of many tentacles.

This year’s Temple will be built by David Best and the Temple Crew. The Temple of Grace will serve as a spiritual and sacred place for memorials and will be “70+’ high, and have a footprint of 80′x80′; it sits in a courtyard approximately 150′x150′. The structure incorporates a central interior dome within a graceful curved body made of wood and steel. It will again have intricately cut wooden panels for the exterior and interior skin. Eight altars will surround the temple inside a low-walled courtyard, creating a large exterior grounds for the community.”

temple

Brian Tedrick’s beautiful “Minaret” will join us, as will the “Eidolon Panspermia Ostentatia Duodenum (epod)” by Michael Christian, in addition to his “Bike Bridge“, a collaboration with Oakland, CA youth, that currently resides at the Uptown Park in downtown Oakland near the Fox Theater. “Bike Bridge” was funded in part by the Black Rock Arts Foundation who has been funding off-playa projects since 2001.

This year — in the spirit of our current world of online funding of big art — BRAF is also facilitating fundraising so that in addition to getting involved building the Art,  you can help support your favorite project financially via the Black Rock Arts Foundation. From their site:

The Black Rock Arts Foundation is pleased to offer fiscal sponsorship to a select number of projects produced for exhibition at the Burning Man event in 2014. We hope that this pilot project will help Burning Man artists raise necessary funds for their art by enabling tax-deductible contributions to their projects.

The 13 Honoraria projects under BRAF’s fiscal sponsorship are projects whose cost is not entirely covered by Burning Man or other Art grants. By using the BRAF Fiscal Sponsorship, potential donors can realize additional benefits such as a tax write off, matching donations from donors’ employers, and grants from donor-advised funds that can only be given to recognized 501(c)(3) organizations.

If you’d like to donate to any projects,  take a look at the Honoraria Art page.  You can donate via BRAF by following links from projects with a Donate Now button. A full list of projects you can contribute to and more information on that process is at blackrockarts.org/projects/fiscal-sponsorships.

Additionally, if you are interested in reading about last year’s art and reviewing a financial chart of expenditures for Burning Man 2013, including Honorarium Art Grants, check out the just-released 2013 Afterburn.

PahaAt this point in time, we live in a world of possibilities. This post barely scratches the surface of what is coming to Black Rock City this year. Right now countless people are creating Art and Theme camps, organizing music and performance, going over City plans and making sure the infrastructure is built. We are devising clever alterations to reality to share at Black Rock City that week that is coming up soon. We are planning and working and pouring ourselves into whatever it is that we will share in this year’s Caravansary, all commingling and cross pollinating; working towards this event we keep returning to because we create it. It is ours.

Take some time to read about the Art this year. It’s a lot of fun when you’re cris-crossing the playa and are suddenly pulled deep into the sphere of something you’ve never experienced in your life, waylaid for minutes to hours and having a blast with it and someone says, “I wonder who built this” or “What is this” and you remember a bit of something you read in June you can share with your fellow wayfarers.

As always, Burning Man will be putting up the extremely enjoyable Art Audio Tours by Anarchist Jim, Evonne Heyning and the whole ARTery team before you leave for Black Rock City that can be downloaded and brought with you while you journey across the playa discovering all the amazing creations on your way.


June 7th, 2014  |  Filed under Building BRC, Culture (Art & Music), Environment, Technology

The 2013 AfterBurn is live

coyoteThis has been a busy year at Burning Man HQ; a move, a new Project,  a lot of activity, worldwide outreach and of course, planning for TTITD, however, we were able to get all the reports in, find images for each page, format everything and QA the beast known as the AfterBurn 2013.

Last year’s Census has been turned into a beautiful single document and in the AfterBurn you can read all about the challenges faced and met, the fantastic Art that graced the playa, organizational and city infrastructural updates with new strategies moving forward, and as always, you can read reports from all the teams that make Burning Man happen.

With the new Burning Man galleries we’ve created a new moderator account and we’re able to grab images that aren’t in the gallery (and give credit to the photographers of course). Many thanks to Mr. John Curley who shared some DPW pics from his most excellent blogs and also thanks David Marr who also took some great pre-event pics. And thank you ALL Burners who take your photos of the event and share them on the Burning Man galleries. Special thanks to Scotto for the QA.

The AfterBurn is becoming a nice ongoing history of Burning Man.

Enjoy!

http://afterburn.burningman.com/13/cargo

 

 


June 1st, 2014  |  Filed under Burning Book Club

Burning Book Club – Chapter 1 – Turns out Money can Buy Enlightenment

Book Burning(We’re basing this discussion on Terry Eagleton’s “Culture and the Death of God.”  Read all the book club entries)

We tend to think of a secular society as one with no religion, but in fact no such animal exists – or ever has existed.  Instead, a “secular society” is one in which religion is not a central organizing principle but exists only as one of many potential forms of amusement or self-help.

“Societies become secular not when they dispense with religion altogether, but when they are no longer especially agitated by it,” Eagelton notes at the opening of this chapter.  “Another index of secularization is when religious faith ceases to be vitally at stake in the political sphere, not just when church attendance plummets or Roman Catholics are mysteriously childless.”

This unites religion with art and cultural cannons, all of which have been impacted by what Eagleton refers to as “the privatization of the symbolic sphere.”

“It is when artists, like bishops, are unlikely to be hanged that we can be sure that modernity has set in,” he writes.  “They do not matter enough for that.”

For artists to matter socially, art has to be more than just a matter of private taste.  Indeed, for anything beyond raw power and money to matter culturally, it must invoke a common bond – be more than a matter of personal taste or fashion.  Burning Man is one among many kinds of culture that fall under this shadow.  To the extent that Burning Man is attempting to re-enchant the world or make life more meaningful … to the extent that we want art to matter … Burning Man faces off against the same forces that have displaced religion.

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May 30th, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

The Burning Man Minute for March 30, 2014

Burning Man’s collective consciousness transcends the hegemonic noosphere while delegating the collective unconscious to you, at speeds not yet achieved by even the most spiritually advanced iPhone app!

The Burning Man Minute helps you keep track of everything you need to know without paying attention!

Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man is the author (under a clever pseudonym) of “A Guide to Bars and Nightlife in the Sacred City,” which has nothing to do with Burning Man. Contact him at Caveat (at) Burningman.com


May 28th, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Global [freespace] Movement to Hack the 2014 World Cup

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.

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May 26th, 2014  |  Filed under Burning Book Club

Burning Book Club – preface – “Atheism isn’t as easy as it looks”

Burning BooksRead more about Book Club and the book we’re reading.

According to the 2013 Blackrock City Census, 73% of Burning Man attendees say they belong to “No Religion.”  Of the remaining Burners, 6% claim to be Jewish, 5% Catholic, 5% “other Christian,” 4% other, 3% Protestant (although isn’t that “other Christian?”), and 2% each for Buddhism, Pastafarianism (although can’t we just call that “Atheism with a shtick?”), and Paganism.

Yet by the same count only 22% of Burners self-identify as Atheists, 49% of Burners say they are “spiritual,” and about as many Burners say they practice prayer/meditation/contemplation as Burners who say they don’t.

So while a majority of Burners clearly aren’t religious, neither have a majority of them abandoned the things that one generally looks to religion to provide.  We may not see religion as providing any answers about God, the spiritual aspect of reality, or a sense of connection to the world around us – but neither have we given up on those things.  A compelling argument can be made that we are looking for religion by another name.

This is precisely the condition of the world that Terry Eagleton examines in his book “Culture and the Death of God.”  This is not a book about whether God exists or religion is “correct” – it is a book asking the question:  “what does a culture that for thousands of years put religion at the center of morality, political authority, and epistemology, do when it has secularized?”

We have to ask the question because we still don’t have an answer.  As Eagleton notes in the preface:  “(D)espite the fact that art, Reason, culture and so on all had a thriving life of their own, they were also called on from time to time to shoulder this ideological burden, one to which they invariably proved unequal.  That none of these viceroys for God turned out to be very plausible is part of my story.”

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May 22nd, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Global Network Spotlight: Europe is Burning!

Blog Co-Written by Andi Rubin-Schwarz

Spotlight: The European Burner Community

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 Burning Weekend site. Photo courtesy of Diana Zanelli.

Barcelona Burning Weekend site. Photo courtesy of Diana Zanelli.

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…

Burning Burg Effigy  Photo courtesy of Winnie Wedner

Burning Burg Effigy
Photo courtesy of Winnie Wedner

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.