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2004-12-04 07:40:56.980126+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

BORG2 is an attempt by many prominent members of the San Francisco[Wiki] arts community to revitalize Burning Man[Wiki]. http://borg2.tribe.net/ has some interesting interplay between some of those folks and people in the Burning Man Organization.

[ related topics: Burning Man Bay Area Sociology California Culture Community ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-04 09:51:01.029471+00 by: meuon

"They" were sure missing from Burn 2004. I emptied the $90 I had in a stale paypal account to them... Just for the quote: "Lock n' Load for the Art Duel".

I had decided after last year I was not going back unless I was helping with a significant project... Maybe this will lead to fun and good things.

#Comment made: 2004-12-05 22:46:42.272874+00 by: Mars Saxman

This whole effort rubs me the wrong way. There's a whiff of entitlement about it, which seems completely contrary to the whole idea of "radical self-reliance"; furthermore it seems to completely overlook the predominantly amateur character of Burning Man art, which is one of the things that makes it all so much fun. Far from revitalizing Burning Man, this proposal strikes me as exactly the sort of thing you'd do if you wanted to professionalize, institutionalize, and otherwise tame the event, sucking much of the anarchic life right out of it.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-06 00:02:05.235969+00 by: Diane Reese

Good points, Mars. Wanna know one thing that keeps me from attending BM? I am intimidated by the thought that your art has to be "special" or "important" or that if you go and are not somehow affiliated with "a cool art group" your experience will be diminished and your efforts will be patronized or ignored, and this effort only seems to heighten my concern. Given some of the people I know, I could probably weasel my way into some established group or other, but the thought of having to do that in order to enjoy it fully is off-putting. (There is also the fact that school always starts here that week: 2 more years then I'm free to consider going. Maybe by then it will be more possible to attend as an unaffiliated yet welcomed free spirit.)

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-06 10:44:56.893911+00 by: meuon

The fun thing about Burning Man is that the best "art" is often simple and 'participatory'. Of of my favorite 10 minutes at the burn last year was trying to navigate what looked like a simple maze laid out in rope lights, with 'starburst' spec's (those cheap paper glasses with funky lenses that make points of lights look so cool). It was great fun, especially chasing Nancy through it.

As for the " the predominantly amateur character of Burning Man art ", if you take time to meet many of the artists, you may be suprised how many of them are serious professional artists, and Burning Man is a place for them to do fun and kewl stuff. I've gotten to know David Best (the Temples.. ) and a few others doing BIG things. (Nate Smith and crew ROCKS!) Amazing group of people.

Yet, when you see the guy on fire on a bicycle riding across the playa... or the simple temple to lost pets... you are blown away.

If the leftover change from a network marketing project (Eeeew.. slimey but paid well) helps in any way bring some art back to Burning Man, it is worth it and is some good karma for some putrid payola.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-06 17:30:32.100591+00 by: Dan Lyke

Diane, your point is one of the things that I believe that this group is not addressing very well. Much of my favorite art of my earlier experiences up there was just in camps back in the 'burbs. Most of that's been lost as everyone's either there to spectate or there making huge spectacle.

On the other hand, I believe that taking the art back from the centralized notion that it's evolved to is a first step in that direction. Not enough to get me to immediately sign up to go back this year, but a step.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-06 19:20:31.427899+00 by: Mars Saxman

Right, I didn't mean "amateur" in the sense that only amateurs bring art to Burning Man, but in the sense that anyone can bring a project, stake out a piece of the playa, and let people at it. If it's good, people will love it, and nobody cares what you do for a living, how you paid for the project, or whether you've taken enough years of art theory classes to explain your project in sufficiently abstract terms. The people behind the "We Have A Dream" petition don't seem to understand how intensely cool that is. I get the impression that they are mostly professional artists, and they appear to assume that the only projects that matter are the huge ones someone got a grant to build. (They also appear to assume that anyone who matters lives in the Bay Area, which pisses me off even more, but that's a different blind spot.) This gets Burning Man exactly backwards, as far as I'm concerned: it isn't a show, where a few hundred pros put together a big spectacle for thousands of normal people to watch; it's a participatory event, where thousands of people do lots of little cool things for each other. Even lots of the big art projects are just things some motivated person, or some bunch of motivated friends, put together in their garage.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-06 21:47:22.386182+00 by: meuon

Possibly.. the amount of tribes junk mail I am getting from the Borg2 is nuts. No signal yet, lots of noise.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-10 06:33:16.927323+00 by: Dan Lyke

Great article with backround from the SFBG.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-12-10 14:55:27.281612+00 by: ebradway

And what's wrong with "amateur art"? Does that mean if I'm not a professional, I might as well stay home? And I've encountered the "if you're not in the Bay Area, you don't matter" thing before too. I got rudely ignored by a reporter at an OpenSource conference when I told her that the .COM I worked for was based in Nashville, TN. Of course, when she told me she worked for the Register, I thought she meant the magazine, not the Bay Area paper. I rudely came back at her with "oh, you're just working for a local paper..." This was at a time when we were starting to work with international banks on making our ACH payment processing system work across international lines. But 9/11 killed all of it dead.