Burning Man / “Intellectual property“

The days in Black Rock City ...

Author: Claas
Date: Jul 1, 2005
Views: 4852

“We cannot stop you from writing a report, but we do not want any pictures printed in the mushroom magazine!” That's what I got from the people of “Media Mekka”, the media facility which deals with the press people attended to the festival. Even though there were a lot of journalists tumbling around the playa shooting movies and pictures, I pretty much hit a wall after I introduced myself and explained where I'm coming from and my intention to write a report to be published in the mushroom magazine. This is why you do not see any “intellectual property” of the Burning Man Community with this report ...
Maybe it was because of the name of our little European trance magazine which kind of scared them, or maybe it was just because there was no profit to make with this report since the BMC gains ten per cent of each and every publication in the press. At least they´ll spent all the profit to repair and rebuild the hot springs near the festival‘s playa, so i will not blame them for financial issues at this point.
I've spent a considerable amount of time asking for an explanation but gave up at some point.
Sorry, Jim, but I still don't get it. (He'll know.) And Larry, maybe we'll have some time to talk next time ...

Burning Man
[photo: mäc]

For visual impressions please go to , there is a nice video stream of the burn available and a lot of pictures of the event. So much for the “public relation part” ...

Touchdown in San Francisco
I hooked up with some friends in San Francisco at upper Haight Street, people from Subscience () who set up Tranquility Bass Camp.
Subscience are: Ripple (Breaks). Kirill (Drum´n Bass), Maebyn LaFey (Techno), and Misha (Trance). From what I can tell it is always nice to have some friends around at the playa to build a camp together and to share the experience of the Burning Man Community especially when you are a “First-Timer”. I got the Burning Man survival guide via mail, but this only scratched the surface of what you really need to bring. You'll need goggles ( sunglasses that protect you from the dust that is blown into your eyes at up to 70 miles an hour), a bike to ride since it is sooooo big, little glowing sticks (a lot of them) so that nobody accidently hits you at night, and a thousand other little things that i have never considered to bring to the desert.

What is the Burning Man and its community?
Basically the Man is a representation of bad energy and anger that people want to burn from their hearts. It all started in 1986 when Larry Harvey, now chairman of the BMC, was left by his wife. He of cause was angry about this and jealous about this man she went to, so he decided to build a wooden man, invited some friends and burned down that damn sucker. His friends liked the idea to send away all those bad energies, to concentrate and project it to the man and burn them away, so he did it, again and again. More and more people joined this burn, and at some point they had to move from the San Francisco beach to the black rock desert of Nevada because it simply became too big and the Nevada state laws make it a little easier to celebrate a festival that size.

But it was not only the size that was growing, but also the idea of creating a community in which everything is possible but also expects the participants to take care and be responsible to the nature and the other citizens of of Black Rock City.
This year the theme was “Vault of Heaven”.

The man was built on top of a huge dome, the heaven's vault, and the playa was created in coherence to our solar system. Streets were named like the planets and time and since they found a new planet, the city now has new a new street: Sedna. Our camp was at Saturn 8:30, pretty easy to find, you just had to follow either the planets or time signs to get home. At least until the Man burned. After that, for some reason all the street signs were gone after the burn and you really had to look twice or got lost.

But it didn't matter, just enter the next camp and have another party since there were parties all over the place with lovely, funky costumed people who gave you a warm welcome and a drink. Maybe you brought a bottle of Gin or a bag of ice for their shots since this is all about trading and donation.

me, playing at burning man with raphael
[photo: vision34.de]

Lets go out and play! ...
Imagine you stand in the middle of the field, right next to the man and take a 360 degrees look around.
Half a mile away you see lights, lot's of lights, some are still, flickering, some of them are moving.
“Its just sooo big” was some of the most used lines I heard. It is big. And crazy!!! ...
Over 100 parties all over the place! Wanna dance? go to solar systems at 10pm Esplanade or Lush camp at Mercury 2:00. Wanna take a ride? Jump on one of those art-cars and off you go!
Gulf-carts converted to fluffy night slippers, trucks look like huge insects with a bar and a sound system hammering beats into the night. Wanna fight? Just enter the Mad Max III Thunder-dome and kick ass on bun-gees. No one got hurt there throughout the entire event, its just a nice chance to blow off a little steam. And there was a lot of steam to blow...:o) The “capital” of Black Rock City is the Center Camp. A nice place to hang out and chill from all the parties, have a coffee, tea or cold drinks ( the only place where you could buy something), listen to music or stories that artists told from one of the stages or simply to hide from the wind and the dust on the playa before you go again running around with your head cut off. Or just wait until your path is crossed by four thousand topless girls on bikes: CRITICAL TITS!

First you see a big cloud of dust followed by a stampede of women on bikes cruising through the city (the route is secret so you'll never know) shouting “don't look, don't look!” Just when you thought you've seen everything, there will be another wired camp, art-car or someone on a bike who looks like a bug-on-wheels. And when the man burned on saturday night, everybody went insane ...

People were yelling to the man letting out all the bad energy that they've gathered throughout the year, and after he fell down, they ran to the fire and moved around it three times, some of them way too close to the fire, acting like crazy.

Burning Man
[photo: Sarah Laban]

The Play-Mantra
“Leave no trace”, “don't let it hit the ground”, “piss clear”, these mantra like words have been present at all time. And people did take it serious! Whenever some MOOP _s (Matter out of place= trash) got lost in the wind, it was picked up by someone regardless of whether or not it was his/hers. Keeping the area clean was not only a recommendation, it was (and is) a living breathing experience at BMC.
There is no public trash removal in Black Rock City, not even trash cans, all participants are required to remove their own shit and bring it to public dumps that can be found in the cities nearby. There was no need for a garbage deposit, something that became common at trance events in Europe.

Another thing that really blew my mind (and other parts of my body) was a porta potty session at sunday noon, and it was TOTALLY CLEAN! This was not because there were maintained more often, but because of the people who left them the way they found it. Folks and party people all over the world, take responsibility and LEAVE NO TRACE!!! It is your culture, it is where you want to be, it is up to you all to change things and keep it alive.

...after a dust storm at burning man 2002
[photo: vision34.de]

The Temple
On the other side of the playa, way out in the desert they've created another building: .
Every citizen of Black Rock City went there at least once during the week to spend a moment of silence and to leave some thoughts on wooden plates about someone who died or sad memories that people want to let go. A mother who lost her son, a man who lost his girlfriend or in my case a good friend of mine whom I offered to leave a letter out there ...
(Kai, wherever you are, we will never forget you...)
Sunday night everyone gathered again around the temple in silence to burn it down and to let go.
It is a very touching moment and it is the very end of the festival.

Burning Man
[photo: Sarah Laban]

I left the playa right after the burn of The Temple. I was thrilled and touched, pissed (see first part of this report) but also amazed by what happened over the week at this place far away from “reality”. Even though “they could not stop me from writing something for the mushroom”, I did because there was and is a lot to learn at the Burning Man Community in terms of creativity and responsibility. This city is something that is built, maintained and also cleaned by its participants themselves which was a very impressive experience to me.

The Man burns again in less then 350 days, and i will definitely be there again ...

taken from mushroom magazine and brought to you by liese

Author: jadesmith1789@gmail.com / Date: 17.11.2010 13:12:05

Burning Man festival is an event which has grown from being a beach party celebrating the summer solstice to the incarnation of personal freedom, radical self expression. If you’re looking for a totally unique experience, The Burning Man Festival will provide you with one, but only if you participate.

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