I figured out what I like about Burning Man so much. There’s a subtle formula here:
- Assemble the minimum requirements for a city.
- Build it. (Don’t die.)
- Invite your most adventurous friends. Hope they like camping.
- Toss in all the art and technology you can muster.
- Ingest the most novel substances known to man at the city’s apex.
What happens next?
A fucking singularity. I still marvel at everything that’s happened and brought me there every time. The whole notion it’s possible is why I’ve tried to perpetuate the collective experience each year and maintained a consistent sense of wonder and appreciation around it.
It’s ironic we go to such unsustainable lengths and create a sort of hyper-capitalist lifeboat, which we then send out into a wasteland to allow us to experiment with our own default notions of sustainability and value. It’s even stranger this has become a type of template for a range of potential experiences and is actually evolving outside itself despite being surrounded by a culture over-eager to commoditize it.
It’s wrought with contradictions, yet a steady mirror for reflection upon the emergence of new forms of consciousness and evolution within the edges of society.
I worked too hard again. I sacrificed too much time and energy to be able to participate in the event as I have in the past. My work was very successful, and First Camp had a great year despite being considerably larger, but it challenged my composure. I’ve since spent the necessary time mentally redefining my boundaries and articulating the changes which I need to occur.
Ree and I were Space Cops this year. It was awesome. I tested mine at Early Man and it was a blast. Although, the gate contraption I spent thirty hours on pre-event to wrangle participants didn’t work out. It kept tipping over and probably would’ve killed someone. I was surprised how little it bothered me when we put it down and just forgot about it.
People were so intrigued and eager, which we encouraged by our ability to actually interrogate them this year through our microphones. We couldn’t project through the helmets previously and ended up becoming more like mimes. There’s also something perversely satisfying about becoming an intergalactic authority and ordering people around with a space laser and booty shorts.
Christina stayed for post and got a solid dose of DPW for the first time. Things wind down afterwards and it starts to feel like the Wild Wild West again. Trash Man and the Last Supper were definitely the highlight. I hadn’t been objectified like that all year, and I’m certain the images of me in a dress, attacking a three-story fire amidst a line of other screaming people will all be eternally seared into our brains.
The trip home was just as dense. We traveled much further than we anticipated, but only by our own volition and sense of adventure. It was so wonderful to finally see where some of our friends and family actually call home, and get glimpses of their daily lives. We surprised Ree in Valdosta, saw my sister in Texas, and Chip in Tenesse.
The were aliens in Roswell, wizards at Harry Potter World in Florida, and soul food in New Orleans. I finally made it to the City Museum in St. Louis, MO, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. It was above and beyond the most incredible children’s museum I’ve ever heard of. It was so interactive and engaging, I had to resist the urge to ditch Christina and run as fast as I could through every turn and tunnel until I got lost somewhere. Words and pictures fail widely here, it’s remarkably non-linear, a sort of sculpted gymnasium fabricated from recycled steel, cement and assorted industrial machines. We even met a burner from while standing in line for the 10-story slide. I’d highly recommend it to anyone with kids or two working legs if you’re ever near the area.
Alas, I’ve been home for over a month, recollecting myself. It’s been filled mostly with Freelance work, reading, and writing. Things become blurrier within Fargo and the onslaught of routines. Although, it’s great to be back and still know it wasn’t just all a dream.