(words: Monique Schiess, photos: courtesy of the respective artists and Jonx Pillemer)
My good friend Mark Thomas (he of ‘The Mighty Bench’, ‘Monster Match’, ‘The Ship’ and the ‘Boomslang’ walkway at Kirstenbosch) has a theory that goes: “If you can draw it, you can make it”. The idea is that when you have an idea, step one of the birthing process is to make a drawing of it. It makes ideas take shape in the physical world…
After nearly 9 years of AfrikaBurn, I’m declaring this the truth. I myself have had many conversations with Mark over various lamb cooking episodes and have woken up to a drawing inboxed to me. It’s simple: a sketch on a serviette or a scrap of paper, photographed with a phone, will do.
Why am I saying this? Because AfrikaBurn is not actually an event. It’s a tool. A tool for change-making; firstly in ourselves and so, in the world. This is because when you practice imagining, when you do all the necessaries to actualise that thing you do in the very harsh, very beautiful desert, you and yours are exercising muscles that very easily become dormant in the passively consumptive default world that many of us inhabit. It wakes shit up in us. It reminds us how to invent the world anew. It makes us practice inventing the world anew.
That’s the good work that AfrikaBurn is doing.
How many of you have emerged from the desert, exhausted, broken and deeply invigorated? Hatching plans for the following year? Wanting to throw yourself under that particular train again? Or woken up to the fact that you can DO ANYTHING!
If you find that you have been chatting up the same storm about an idea for months/years, get out a pen and a serviette/newspaper. Draw the thing. Photograph it with a phone and send it out to your friends. You’ll find yourself down a rabbit hole in no time that you can’t reverse out of.
Here are some steps in no particular order:
Get your playfulness on.
When an idea rears its head, give that idea oxygen. Lots of it.
Talk up a storm. To everyone. You never know what niche-nerd-expert in some weird thing will appear to add a layer of deep tech fabulousness to your project that you never even dreamed of in the first place.
Make That Flippin’ Drawing, stare at it a lot. Share it.
Talk about it more.
Co-opt people into the process (AfrikaBurn is all about positive peer pressure).
Know that you can always find what you need.
Go and find what you need.
Be willing to recalibrate.
Bake some cookies. Have more braais
Actualise the project.
Bask in the exhaustion.
Stare at the photos.
And not necessarily in Tankwa Town – do your fabulous shit in town on a non-burn project. Change your world. Do another drawing.
And when you’re ready, register your project!
Don’t forget: to register projects, or buy tickets, you need a Burner Bio.
To create one, start here. (Internet Explorer users, we suggest you use Firefox or Chrome)