Burning man

Annual creative event in the middle of the desert

Information

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US United States
Web http://www.burningman.com/
Maturity

Mature

About the project Edit

«Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.»

The Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert, in Northern Nevada. The event starts on the Monday before, and ends on the day of, the American Labor Day holiday. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening. The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.

Burning Man started when Larry Harvey and his friend Jerry James burned a wooden man upon the beach in San Francisco on June 21, 1986. By deciding to burn a man, Larry and Jerry not only invented the man, they also engaged in the first recorded form of what we now call "radical self-expression." The Burning Man has since evolved from its early days as sa mall group of people gathering spontaneously on a beach to a temporary city where more than 50 000 make the journey to to be part of an experimental community, which challenges its members to express themselves and rely on themselves to a degree that is not normally encountered in one's day-to-day life. The Burning Man event is governed by 10 principles, which are radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy.

Themes

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

The Burning Man event is in itself a singular experience as it is a unique gathering. The Burning Man is a also considered to be a very creative experience with its dedication to art. Art is an unavoidable part of this experience, and in fact, is such a part of the experience that Larry Harvey, founder of the Burning Man project, gives a theme to each year, to encourage a common bond to help tie each individual's contribution together in a meaningful way. Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive, whether it is through a large-scale art installation, a theme camp, gifts brought to be given to other individuals, costumes, or any other medium that one comes up with.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

One interesting aspect of the Burning Man event is its «temporary» existence. The event takes place on an ancient lakebed, known as the playa. By the time the event is completed and the volunteers leave, sometimes nearly a month after the event has ended, there will be no trace of the city that was, for a short time, the most populous town in the entire county. The clean-up efforts take place for sometimes months after the city has disappeared.1 Another interesting aspect is it organization. Once the participant has paid its entrance free (around 300$US) everything inside the Burning Man is free.

The impact of the Burning Man experience has been so profound that a culture has formed around it. This culture pushes the limits of Burning Man and has led to people banding together nation-wide, and putting on their own events, in attempt to rekindle that magic feeling that only being part of this community can provide. Despite its social impact, numerous criticisms have been raised in concerns with the increasing amount of residual trash at the site (despite the leave-no-trace principle of the Burning Man event), the damage the event has on the desert, the effect of the burning man ritual on global warming, the on-site photography restriction and the strict control of information and the rising price of the entry ticket.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The popularity of Burning Man has encouraged other groups and organizations to hold events similar to Burning Man. In recent years, burners wishing to experience Burning Man more frequently than once per year have banded together to create local regional events in cities troughout the United States and also in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Spain. For the event to be granted permission to officially advertise as a Burning Man Regional Event is had to conform to certain standards outlined by the Burning Man organization.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit


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