By Kelly Zephyr
The Astral Arbour is a deep-space alien landscape which pulses, inspires and grows. The central sculpture is a surreal tree of life. Her generous leaves and elongated branches create a large semi-enclosed chill space where festival go-ers can explore, find shelter from the sun, or delve into cuddle-puddle narnia.
She is created primarily out of steel tubing and fabric, is several meters high and six meters wide. Within the tree is a glowing core, and each of her five branches culminate in a graceful buttress-root inspired cocooning basket.
The concept grew from a desire to create an intimate deep-space place that recognises growth, landscapes and beauty are part of both this and other worlds.
This sculpture space is proudly presented by the THINGkers collective. We are a crew of tinkerers, welders, designers and makers. The build team includes Darby Bicheno, Terry Stevens, Naomi Faith Smith, Hannah Pallot, Kelly Zephyr, Rohan Mitchell, and an awesome crew of supporters.
We warmly invite you into the space and possibilities of the Astral Arbour landscape. Rest, spoon, play, look out and up, or meditate. Allow the Astral Arbour to feed your needs.
Follow our build on https://www.facebook.com/THINGkersCollective
Original concept sketches
Hard at work at NORM Artist Warehouse in Coburg
Participation is a many flavoured thing.
“Burner” celebrations of all kinds, including seed, hinge on ten common principles. Written by Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey in 2004 as a guide for the newly-formed Regional Network (now including Burning Seed), these principles were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.
You’ve maybe seen these principles shellacked in blogs like this or this or lambasted/defended, perhaps both in equal measure by the same culprits at times at a burner shenanigan or online in the Badlands that is Burning Facebook (such an ADHD, masochist, shadow projection riddled narcissist, and smart ass playground but still so enticing, somewhat like childhood scab eating).
Moving back away from questionable standards (I’m a bit gross) to clearly established and shared ones: the Burner principles... one of the big kickers is Participation.
In full, as Sir Larry (dunno if he’s a Sir actually but he is fucking rich and probably lives in a castle now, or a totally lush bedsit in Silicon Valley) put it:
“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.”
Action is the fundamental part of this. Like healthy love, burning is a doing thing. It’s not about just being there, or having been there, it’s not about how you feel about it in your piney little whingey heart. It’s about what you practically do to take part in a burn, to actively engage in it.
Practical is individual though. Deeply personal. By old Lazza’s measure, if we’re engaging in an action that opens the heart with the intention of transformative change, well, participation is what we are doing. This could be any of:
Anyway, the take home I’d like to sign off with is, as this blog is titled, get stuck in, check your intentions, but don’t let anyone tell you how to party.
Peace out, Leash.
It’s a busy time for everyone as we hurtle towards Deep Space, but it’s especially busy for the amazing artists working on their projects for Burning Seed 2016 and the ARTery team that support them.
Register your ART
If you are thinking of bringing art to display on the open paddock you must register with the ARTery before 19 August... click here for more details.
Do you have any flame effects or open fire including a burn barrel or candles as part of your art or your camp?
You must apply with the FART (Fire Art Response Team) for permission to burn, details here, deadline for applications is 17 August.
Tough Decisions on Grants
The ARTery received a lot of amazing applications for the large and small grants. The Art Grant Selection Committee had several long meetings (and a lot of prep to read all the submissions!) before deciding on this year’s recipients.
We are pleased to announce the following six projects who received large grants, click on their names for more details about their crew, project (unless they are keeping it hush-hush in order to surprise you!) and ways you can support them (there are lots of awesome fundraisers coming up!)
Announcements about all Small Art Grant recipients will be made available in the coming weeks, including more info about other events the ARTery will be hosting at Burning Seed.
Join the Crew
Want to join our team? We’re looking for fun and fantastic folks who want to support our on-site work with the artists, head over to the Join The Crew Page and sign up!
Want to help artists out with their projects or need help as an artists, join the ASS (Artist Support Services) group on Facebook.
Hey folks! We're pleased to give you the final wrap on the numbers for 2015 (including a comparison to the numbers for 2014).
These update the earlier forecast you may have seen in the 2015 Afterburn Summary (3MB download) and provide the latest overview on where your ticket monies go each year. Big thanks to finance Queen Caroline Brosnan and design legend Lauren Massy for the numbers/design on this report which you can also download as a PDF.
As always, we’d really love to hear your feedback on the finances and indeed on any aspect of the event - send your ideas and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website for details if you want to contact specific teams direct.
A message from your friendly PEER Rangers!
For all of those who don't know who we are, we are an arm of the Red Earth Rangers with specialist skills and experience in dealing in difficult emotional and stressful situations during the event. PEER stands for Psychological and Emotional Emergency Response. We provide crisis intervention to members of Red Earth City during times of distress to help a participant return to the event safely and with improved clarity. It was developed as a pro-active, rather than reactive initiative for all citizens of Red Earth City.
With LESS THAN 100 DAYS to go before the gates open, you will be receiving regular updates from the PEERs and Red Earth Rangers over the coming weeks to help you understand our role on the paddock, in case you need a Ranger at the event.
The PEER Rangers love communication and we believe that it's the best lubrication, especially when used in intimate relationships. Check out this awesome video on what healthy communication looks like in romantic relationships.
(Seeing healthy communication between fellow burners - whether on or off the paddock, get the PEERs and Rangers juices flowing with excitement.)
New Sanctuary Space at Seed
This year, Burning Seed is introducing a new safe space, designed to provide somewhere for participants to chill out and process any difficult experiences. Keep an eye out for more info on the new Sanctuary space, as we will be putting out a community call out for volunteers for this space too.
If you would like to join the awesome Red Earth Rangers or the PEER Rangers this year, please sign up at our Community Crew page.
In 2011 a Leeton local, Aurora Sparkles, attended a crazy new addition to the area called... Burning Seed. Back then the population of Red Earth City was still under 500 and Aurora had such a fantastic experience that she spread the word to her local friends. In 2012 another Leeton legend, Jo Roberts, formed the first “unofficial” theme camp specifically for families - Burning Seed Kids’ Camp 1.0 was born.
Aurora, Jo and Mel Browell had about 30 kids that first year, growing to 45 kids in 2013. By 2014 there were 50+ kids and in 2015 we had 63 registered children on site plus all the other kids that visit from other camps.
After 2014 our local legends and founding Mother Monsters retired from KC duties in order to have some grown-up fun. Transitioning leadership of a big camp is not for the faint hearted but family Burners are a special breed.
Last year we had 54 registered families living on site. Kids Camp is a camp with special needs in terms of the relatively high proportion of dependents; imagine if half your camp couldn’t be Radically Self-Reliant (not just that one guy... you know who you are/he is).
So our operational model, while challenging, works really well and is always being refined. Having the support and strong relationships with past Camp leaders means KC is going to be better than ever this year as Bonnie Roppola takes the reigns.
So what happens at Kids’ Camp? SO MUCH FUN! We have a dedicated art tent, a baby and infant marquee, a mess tent that feeds everyone dinner every night, a movie tent and a shaded outdoor space and for the second time running a kids’ only loo. Last year my five year old started the Kids’ Café where they gifted breakfast to each other and passers by (cutest thing ever and a welcome self-reliance exercise for kids with tired parents).
Safe and Inclusive
Kids’ Camp is a reminder that Burning is not just about partying. For families to share the opportunity of a reprieve from the default mode; to see adults playing like children, to meet people of like mind from all sorts of places and socio-economic backgrounds, to focus on creativity and individual self-expression and look after each other outside of institutional models is a precious and rare thing. Kids’ Camp is Inclusion.
Not everywhere at a Burn is suitable for children but Burner parents get to expose their kids to as much or as little of the carnival as they wish to, without judgement. However, children need a safe place with clear boundaries; one they recognise as consistent and not too challenging. At Kids’ Camp we provide this safe place, where the environment is just adventurous enough to be exciting without pushing into causing them to feel insecure. They know where their friends live and can run around our lovely site freely. Our gift is to build and manage it with them in mind.
Kids’ Camp has no nudity, drugs or smoking. These boundaries are of course open to challenge on the Principle of Radical Self-Expression, yes, but as a tribe we have to allow for parents who may have boundaries that require a greater restraint, co-parenting arrangements for example. On the basis of Inclusion these things are non-negotiable on KC site.
KC Families are fiercely collaborative but this is not a drop and run zone; your children must be supervised by you or a guardian you have organized at all times. Leaving a child anywhere at Burning Seed without making adequate arrangements is taken very seriously and Rangers will be informed if a parent cannot be located in a reasonable amount of time.
Deep Space Cadets
So what’s new this year for Deep Space? Improved site management; families don’t travel light and everyone tends to bring the big rig so our population has reached critical mass. Kids’ Camp: Deep Space Cadets will be a child-centric activity world with camping encouraged for new families, sole parents and crew but there is still room for others on our fancy new grid system. We are designing an observatory and hopefully a water feature!
What we do know is it is time for more family theme camps to spring up; last year kids tickets represented roughly 6% of the population. The teens and tweens are not technically allowed to roam, so we need people to help create awesome things to occupy them. We encourage everyone at Red Earth City to think of ways of including kids in their own offerings and to let us know early so we can get it in the Junior Burner Guide. Registrations open soon! Now let’s hear from the kids…
"I like kids cafe. I also like the workshops and seeing old friends from the years before. I also like the art, like painting." Caitlin, 7
"My favourite thing about Burning Seed Kids Camp are the workshops and the grownups spending their time with the kids doing fun stuff. " Tegan, 9
By Miss M.
We came well prepared. 3 of us.
Mr. B - a many time Burning Man voyager, USA and Africa – a kiwi living in London for the last 20 years, home on holiday, first Kiwiburn, with 20 years of European festivals under his belt. You probably saw him, a cheeky grin and a conversation for everyone. (A committed remover of MOOP who taught me that MOOP belongs to whomever sees it first)
Mr. C - a well-travelled and adventured kiwi living in NZ who had been to both Burning Man and AfrikaBurn, once each. A gentle bear who quietly helped each camp manage their sound emissions (when he was allowed).
And me. Miss M. Lifelong Londoner. Raver. Dancer. Well educated city-kid who grew up in a hippy home. I had been to Burning man once, with B. and moved here 2 years ago to live with C.
In 2007, Burning Man changed my view on the possibilities of the ways of the world. Which is quite something to do to a Londoner. I don’t drink alcohol and yet still it took me almost the whole week just to be able to go to bars (with my own cup) and ask for water. And the warmth and generosity of all and each that I encountered blew me away.
Growing up in that hippy home I was taught to share all I had with friends. But growing up in London your circle was precisely defined. Friends yes, strangers – don’t even make eye contact. An education like that is hard to shake.
At Burning Man everyone was friends. Friends you already knew, and friends you had yet to meet. I never knew the like. Every one talked and laughed and offered what they had. People stopped each other in the street/path/playa and said “You look hot, let me give you some water? Some sun screen? Come rest in our shade for a while…”. Or “You look hungry, do you want half of my pizza? Do you want to give this one to someone else?”. Gifting the gift of gifting. Ripples of love.
And the outfits, the costumes, the inventions and the gifts. BM is not a bartering system as its sometimes reputed to be. It’s just gifts. A rainbow of colours, creation, conversation, generosity and inspiration all around us. Art all over the playa. People all over the art. And everybody talking, sharing, dancing and laughing. Amazing. It changed my view of how the world could be. We all have enough. We could all share. And what a world that could be.
I took that knowledge back to London with me and it shaped the years to come. It opened paths and doors and created many new relationships; started when I would talk to strangers just like the Burners talked to me.
And then I moved to New Zealand. Bringing my London sass and stride. Ready to meet a new community. Ready to work and dance and live and laugh. Only to find that the world here was a different place. Even at parties or festivals. I don’t know why. But people are shy. Or perhaps they think I’m mad for talking to them when I don’t know them. Hard to say. They don’t invite strangers in to a conversation. Or their hearts or homes or lives as we did back home. As we did to the many travellers we found along the way. And a part of me felt sad and wished for home.
Then I found out about Kiwiburn and thought, “Well here we go. This should be different”.
(I guess?) So I got tickets, signed up for a shift, volunteered my services to find a way to contribute, collected my boys and off we went. And it was different. In every way.
The Artery was my first port of call. I volunteered for a shift and had a ball. (Erin you are amazing).
Thursday morning we made food to share for the communal breakfast, and almost gave it all away just walking down the hill, people delighted but surprised it seemed. When we arrived we saw that lots of people eating, but not so many brought things to share, at least not that we could see. The lovely lady in the kitchen came out and gave me a hug for bringing my plate. I was touched, but also surprised that it seemed to surprise her.
And I guess that’s what I saw and learned at this, my first year. Some people really got it. The kids who made grilled sandwiches under a tree one day and gave them out to passers-by. The arse-gallery circle in the woods. The Mint Country Club. The Artery. The clothes swapping line. The pizza posse in the upper field. Those who shared drinks with strangers. Those who put on parties in their camps. Those who electrified nipples and those who slapped bottoms. Those who set up swinging bar doors and those who provided a dancing pole. Those who dressed and Art-ed and laughed and danced and shared. Those that built the community and those that dismantled it. You all rocked the festival. I salute each and every one of you.
And to those who were shy and just starting out, who kept themselves to themselves a little more, getting an idea of how things might be – I’d just like to say: look around, pick what you liked best and bring it back next year, in your own way.
Mr C wondered if we might organise ourselves a little better next year. Given the ratio of infra-structure to participants (lots: not so many), perhaps we could time table the parties not to clash so that there are enough party-goers to create a crowd at each one – Mad Max(ine) where did you go?
Mr B commented that when he first went to AfrikaBurn it was 23.8% dressed up and now its 90%. (Look at the pictures on the Kiwiburn page and get inspired). These things take time. Community takes time to grow. Especially from small seeds. Community comes from sharing and welcoming. It’s a little different from standard Auckland (where I live - you know, the white wine and high-heels posse). But its 100% Burner. Let’s dial it up.
It was great. And we can do better still. We need to spread the ethos of participation, inclusion and community on the Paddock still wider. Burns are what you make them. Burns are what you bring. Burns are what you share. Burns are what you wear. Dress up. Talk to strangers. Pass what you have in your pocket to whomever is standing next to you. Treat the paddock like one big family. And so it will be. It’s not just up to the camps. It’s up to each one of us.
We came well prepared. 3 of us. Water, sunscreen, food and shade to eat and share. Outfits outfits and more outfits. And we laughed and danced and talked and shared. And we were welcomed. And I found the people I have missed these last 2 years. The global tribe. Thank you Kiwiburn. Mr B, Mr C and I cannot wait to see you all there next year.
Go check out KiwiBurn.
Burning Seed Town Council is the organising 'Board' responsible for staging Burning Seed. Due to a member stepping down recently, there are now TWO vacancies on the Burning Seed Town Council and interested members of the community (that's YOU!) are invited to apply to join!
If you're interested in helping steer Burning Seed into the future and you have experience in event or project management your talents are needed! You'll need to make a commitment to join the monthly meetings and dedicate at least a few hours each month to directing that lovely brain of yours to all things Burning Seed.
If you'd like to get involved and want to find out more please read the Issues to consider before standing for Burning Seed Town Council document and email email@example.com with your details.
What's the Background?
The BSTC reports to the Directors of Red Earth City Pty Ltd, the company that stages Burning Seed each year. Red Earth City Pty Ltd has been the legal entity behind Burning Seed since 2010. Until last year the Red Earth City Town Council oversaw Burning Seed event and supported other Burner initiatives under the banner of Burning Man Australia, all on behalf of the Red Earth City Board of Directors.
Back in December 2015, the Directors of Red Earth City Pty decided it was time to make some governance changes before important issues related to the event's sustainability and growth could be addressed. So the Red Earth City Town Council was split into two separate bodies:
1) a group to drive forward the staging of the Burning Seed event, its future growth and development; and
2) a separate group focused on developing Burner culture around Australia - (remember although Seed was the earliest Aussie Burn a few more have spawned since then including Modifyre in Queensland and Blazing Swan in Western Australia).
OK, so these two new groups that were created last year are the Burning Seed Town Council AND the Burning Man Australia Community Board. The new structure looks something like this...
Burning Seed is going through some major changes right now. The event's tremendous growth in numbers in recent years has given much to think about in terms of how Burning Seed moves forward on a number of counts.
What's exciting is, for the first time, Burning Seed has a Town Council that can concentrate just on the Burning Seed event. The Burning Seed Team Leads' group keeps an operational focus while the new Burning Seed Town Council has a broader focus on securing a sustainable future for the event.
In December, an interim Burning Seed Town Council was set up to get things moving with the goal to research and consult the community on the best options for a new legal entity under which Burning Seed can operate in the years ahead. The positions on the current, interim Town Council include:
This Town Council WILL change and is technically only temporary until they figure out the new entity for Seed in the future.
Two positions are now available on the Burning Seed Town Council and they'd love to hear from those in the community who want to help achieve all these goals, and who (preferably) have time and experience in event management and development - if you'd like to get involved and want to find out more the read the Issues to consider before standing for Burning Seed Town Council document and email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details.
Those Red Earth renegades of the airwaves are back!! That's right, Red Earth Radio FM will be coming in your ears at Burning Seed: Deep Space! AND YOU CAN LISTEN TO IT LIVE RIGHT NOW!!
Some seriously intergalactic plans for RERfm broadcasts this year - including the creation of a SpacePort to house a new studio and (with any luck) a live stream via Burning Man Information Radio - taking the Paddock straight to the furthest reaches of the universe!!
Those degenerate DJs have also got more down to earth issues to deal with - like paying for a legit ACMA FM license, a new 10 meter FM transmitter and antenna, streaming costs and a secure custom built, weather proof studio space to house their ear-based gear.
Burning Seed is splashing a little cash to the tune of $1100 towards securing some much needed hardware in 2016 - this is vital infrastructure for Seed that can be used well into the future.
Now YOU have the chance to get in on the ground floor and stake your claim for some sweet RERfm schwag!! (and you get to help this motley crew bring their peculiar face-for-radio talents to Seed...)
Help the RERfm crew cover their rears before they come in your ears. Splash some cash on their Pozible campaign before 20 July and pledge to help set up a stellar studio at Deep Space and reward yourself with a (very) limited edition RERfm T-shirt and/or hoodie!
Give as little as $10 or as much as $120 and get access to heaps of rewards and radio love! Pledged or planning to pledge? Swing by the RERfm studio at Seed for some extra special live on-air ear candy!
Wanna crew for RERfm in 2016? They need techies, DJs, talkshow hosts, weather consultants - the works! Theme Camps! Join RERfm immediately (like NOW) on the DJ roster, contact: email@example.com to receive your online DJ account and start uploading eargasms all over the Burner community
Read more about RERfm's adventures on the Paddock last year in the Afterburn Report.