Sunday, February 03, 2008

Treasure in the desert.


Totally unrelated collage by Lani


While wandering the burning man web site, trying to imagine this coastal-loving, ocean-dependent maritimer wandering in the desert, I stumbled across some real treasure! They have the most wonderful principles! I think I'll just see if I can't translate them into puppet-maker principles, and give myself permission to practice them.

10 Principles

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

This is easy, I would turn it into "Any one may make puppets, crafts, and art, even me."

Gifting
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

I love this one. I think I might say "I will practice art-as-gift from now on." And since art and life are one, then "I will also practice life-as-gift from now on."

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

This one is a mouthful. We spend so much time in this culture trying to figure out how to cash in on ourselves, we've lost track of who we are. It's sad. I would say "I resist the substitution of consumption for real life and art experiences, as attractive as eBay or art stores may be they will not take the place of life and art."

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

This one is good, too. "I encourage myself to discover, practice and rely on my inner resources because they are the best for me."

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

This one seems to grow directly out of the one before. "My self-expression comes from my unique gifts. I need to remember that others have their own unique gifts which give them their own point of view. I need to remember to respect that."

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

"I value creative cooperation and collaboration. I will strive to promote and protect social networks and methods of communication that support creative cooperation and collaboration."

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

"I will practice being a community member, responsible for public welfare."

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

"I respect the environment. I am committed to leaving no physical trace and to clean up after myself as much as possible."

Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

"I am allowed to participate. In fact I invite myself to work, play, and make the world real through actions that open the heart."

Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

"Immediate experience is everything. I will seek to overcome barriers that stand between myself and the recognition of my inner life, the reality of those around me, participation in society, and contact with the more than human world."

There, I feel totally wide awake, resolved and principled! But I'm not quite finished.
Then I wandered around in the essay section of the burning man web site and found more treasure. So here you are but do visit their website and explore the desert.

Curator's Statement : How I Fell From the Art World and Landed at Burning Man
By Christine Kristen who is an artist, writer, curator and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (which as a RPCV myself, I happen to think is way cool)

"Burning Man has in a sense given art back to the community. Participants don't have to go into a museum or gallery to look at the art in a detached manner; they can help build it, they can touch it, and they can play with it. In a sense we have a sort of informal art school happening in the desert, as artists share information with those who have never created art...
Burning Man does provide an alternative art making experience, a sort of bridge, if you will, between the completely community-based way of art-making I experienced in Africa and the self-oriented competitive world I experienced in New York. At least during one part of the year one can experience making art in this radically different way, which might change how one thinks about the process. We are already seeing artists who have worked in the desert return to their own communities and create art events in the Burning Man spirit. At the beginning of the twenty first century, people are hungry for authentic culture to which they feel connected, and what better way to connect than by creating it ourselves? The great lesson of Burning Man is that we can, indeed, create our own world."

Also...

Raw Vision article by Christine Kristen titled "Reconnecting Art and Life at Burning Man" had this treasure.

"In a community where the art is not intended to be sold or reviewed, but to generate community and interactivity, its aesthetic merit seems somewhat beside the point. In Black Rock City art is not a precious commodity to be marketed, dissected by critics, or locked up in a museum. It is a vital part of the community, whose shared experiences in its creation and its life on the playa give it meaning and value."


I'm thinking I may need to rethink this belief of mine that I'd shrivel up and blow away in the desert. I may need to visit Burning Man one day.

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