Burning Man Lives

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.

Burning Man's Death has been greatly exaggerated

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.

 

Larry Harvey Interviewed on Charlie Rose [VIDEO]

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey appeared on the Charlie Rose show on March 20, 2014. He talked with Mr. Rose about the event’s origins, how and why it’s grown from humble beginnings into a worldwide cultural phenomenon, the ethos of this burgeoning community, and his vision for the future. It’s a great interview.

Here’s the video of the full interview:

Announcing the Burning Man YouTube Channel

Our YouTube channel!
Our YouTube channel!

We’re excited to announce the launch of Burning Man’s official YouTube Channel … and YOU are invited to participate!

This channel showcases the best videos and films about (or inspired by) Burning Man’s history, ethos, global community, and growing year-round culture. It highlights videos that capture the reverie and reverence of Black Rock City — where we celebrate community and creativity in a crucible of ideas, art, and technology — and illuminates the global reach of Burning Man culture. In short, this channel tells the story of Burning Man’s evolution in the world, including reminders of the past, landmarks for the present and inspiration for the future.

We invite your participation! (more…)

Never Doubt the Power of a Spark

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.

 

Pondering 10 Principles

The Ten Principles:

  1. Radical Inclusion
  2. Gifting
  3. Decommodification
  4. Radical Self-reliance
  5. Radical Self-expression
  6. Communal Effort
  7. Civic Responsibility
  8. Leaving No Trace
  9. Participation
  10. Immediacy

In the middle of all the physical and metaphorical dust storms, The 10 Principles keep the beautiful chaos on track. Some are pretty clear, like “Leave No Trace.” Others are more tricky to get your head around. As a long-time Burner, I am sometimes asked to clarify or explain the Principles as I understand them. Read the official explanations here, and then check out my thoughts in the video above.

These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization.

FLOAT: Air-Quality-Sensing Kites in Beijing

FLOAT project poster

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.

 

Are You Missing “The Burn”?

Most of us are home and cleaning the playa dust from this year’s [BM].  My kitchen continues to smell like vinegar since my husband and I arrived home two weeks apart.  But most of my friends are talking about missing the community and spectacle they experience at the Burning Man event. For some of them, like us, it has become a part of their lives.  I know there are a lot of videos out there but I thought you might like to see “Burn Baby Burn”.  It does have some enhancements so if you are a purist about the Burn this might not be the video for you, but I loved it:

Music: BRAPT, an underground Belgian artist
Animation: John Ferran (Dustfish)
Video: Mister WA or MisterWAvideo here: MisterWAvideo (at) gmail.com

What’s That? A PUA You Say?

Photo by Karie Henderson, 2002

Burning Man was built on freedom of expression, and participants shouldn’t have to worry that photos or videos of their on-playa activities might appear online (or elsewhere) without their permission.

Going way back (pre-2000), Burning Man has requested that participants intending to record video on playa sign a Personal Use Agreement (PUA) to protect participants’ privacy in Black Rock City. In fact, it was this policy that allowed us to stop Voyeur Video from broadcasting illicit videos they’d recorded of unwitting Burning Man participants in 2002.

Burning Man’s photo policy is spelled out in the online terms and conditions applicable to all tickets: any participant is free to disseminate photos for personal use only, and cannot use them for any other purpose without the written permission of Burning Man.  The PUA simply provides another mechanism to make participants aware of the limitations on photo use, and the distribution of the PUA at Playa Info also assists in this process.

Of course, technology is evolving quickly. Back when video cameras were big and bulky and rare, we asked that each be tagged so people could identify the person taking their picture. Flash forward to 2012, and now just about everybody has a video camera on their person in the form of a smart phone or handheld video camera — so while collecting PUAs has become more logistically challenging, protecting the privacy of our participants is more important than ever. (more…)