How do I describe Burning Man to somebody when all the words I possess seem so impotent? Knowing that no words or pictures or videos could ever truly capture the experience I can only do my best and hope that it inspires you to discover this new world for yourself.
To me it appears to be a high altitude collision of cutting edge technology, unrestricted creativity and awe-inspiring cooperation. A city born out of the barren dust of a desert, coming to bloom and blossom with colour and sound, with movement and expression, with kindness and compassion. A place where individuality is celebrated and a smile is the highest form of currency. A blank canvas to create for ourselves, however temporary, an oasis of the extraordinary in a world too often filled with dullness and conformity. A platform to move freely upon, to discover who you truly are through the ultimate description of art; ‘radical self expression’, and to gift that expression freely to others without question.
The energy we generate through the acts of creation, expression and sharing is tangible. You feel it in the eye contact you make, the hugs you receive. You feel it in the shared applause, in the shouting and the howling and the jeering and the jumping when dragons breathe fire, or when acrobats climb higher. You feel it like an invisible thread connecting you to all those who surround you, the deep pulsating bass, the beats keeping time bodies moving freely but in line. You feel it in the shared words of wisdom or when experts from across the globe give lectures on our path to living sustainably on this majestic planet.
You tune in to the collective consciousness, the collective emotion of a situation. Angst and frustration when we set a blaze our representation of Wall Street, release and elation as the Man raises his arms up to the sky in triumph and we burn him to the ground in celebration. You feel it moving you deeply when 60 000 people sit in absolute silence and take solace in the burning of our temple. Pictures and poems, words of undying love, prayers for peace and harmony in the world scribed across its walls over the course of week we spend together.
Expressing our common view on life, manifested through ten simple principles in what must surely be the biggest display of audio and visual stimulus the Earth has ever seen. And then to leave without a trace of us having been there, is truly magnificent.
The real effects of Burning Man however are much more profound than that week it is put on display in the desert. Because though all those Burners leave without a trace, to travel across the globe to wherever it is they call home, each one of them carries the seed of this ideology with them, ready to transplant it’s affects wherever they land. To grow this way of thinking as a network of people sharing ideas, resources and energy. The theme for this year’s event; Fertility 2.0 is as such truly appropriate and I myself am evidence of exactly this fact. It’s time to build a word in which each and every person can do much more than barely survive, it’s time to build a world where all can thrive!
Photo credits: Andrew Whitehouse