12603

A Message from your PEER Rangers: Don’t stand by, stand up!

At Burning Seed, you will experience a range of sights, sounds, smells (patchouli infused bacon anyone?) and touch. Some of these will be familiar to you and some may be challenging to you or push your boundaries.

Burning Seed encourages radical respectful interactions at all times. We also believe that everyone should be looking out for everyone's safety to ensure that Burning Seed is a safe event for everyone to radically express themselves. If you see something that you believe is not okay, you can say something. Calling this behaviour out in a simple way, can prevent something more serious from happening. It can also make it easier for other people to call this behaviour out in the future.

The P.E.E.R Rangers have compiled a list of six tips for anyone at Seed who notices that something or someone is not okay. It could be someone being catcalled while walking past a theme camp, or that creepy burner who is dancing too close to that unicorn on the dance floor. We can look out for each-others safety on the paddock. Intervening may give the person you’re concerned about, a chance to get to a safe place and leave the situation. You don't need any special training to help someone out of a difficult situation and by doing so, you could have an impact on the situation and potentially change the outcome.

Here’s how: 

Tip 1: The Fake Friend

An effective and safe way of intervening in any harassment situation is to become a ‘fake friend’. However, make sure you ‘check in’ with your friend before you intervene, to make sure if your friend actually needs assistance. You may ask your ‘friend’ if they need a drink, or remind them that they needed to meet your other ‘friend’ back at camp. If you are unsure if they need assistance, do not leave them alone.

Tip 2: Call out the harasser

Most people stop once their behaviour has been acknowledged and scrutinized. Use these three simple “I” statements to call out perpetrators -

1) State your feelings: This is making me uncomfortable.

2) Name the behaviour: The way you’re talking to this person doesn’t seem ok to me.

3) State how you want the person to respond: Could you please change how you’re behaving?

Remember to focus on your feelings rather than criticising the other person.

Tip 3: Make Your Presence Felt

Let the harasser know that you can see, recognise and condemn their behaviour. Remember, you don’t have to speak to communicate. Sometimes a disapproving look or stare can be far more powerful than words. Also spilling your kool aid in front of the harasser, asking them for directions to a theme camp can work wonders in letting them know you’re aware of how they’re behaving.

Tip 4: Check In With The Target

One question alone can deter a harasser who believes no one will intervene. By doing this, the target then knows you have their back, creating a safer environment.

Some questions you can ask are:

  • “Are you okay?”
  • “Do you need any help?”
  • “Is that person bothering you?”  

Tip 5: For Bystanders

Become the distraction! Use humour if you can, as humour reduces the tension of an intervention and makes it easier for the person to hear you. Try intervening between the target and the harasser, or create some form of commotion to allow the target to leave the situation. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own - enlist the help of other burners around you.

There is safety and power in numbers - group intervention!

Tip 6: Be A Role Model

This  is the most effective tip to end harassment. If you treat others with radical respect and look out for fellow beings, this will start the motion of a positive cycle set for your burner family and paddock friends.

In cases where you have tried all of the above, or if the situation has become too dangerous to intervene - you can always call for a Ranger to help. You can do this by asking another bystander to find a ranger on duty (they will be roaming in pairs wearing orange vests with radios), or for more serious cases of harassment or sexual assault, the victim can seek the emotional support of our P.E.E.R Rangers (wearing purple armbands and trained to deal with distressing situations). Rangers are available 24 hours every day of the event.

11710

Announcing the theme design for DEEPER SPACE 2017

We are absolutely STOKED to announce the winner of the 2017 Deeper Space theme design... none other than Sarah Barber!

You may remember Sarah's work from the Deep Space 2016 design, as she was also the winner of last year's contest. We're so pleased she can have another chance to showcase her incredible work to the Seed community.

This is what Sarah had to say about her inspiration for this year's design:

"The idea is that Deep space exists not only in the sky but also in the darkest corners of the deep ocean - which seemed appropriate due to 2016 Seed's unfortunate flooding incident. This poster represents the Space In Between, the space where we come to celebrate this unique community we reside in. Where nothing and everything exists in its own little place. The design shows a diver falling out of the ocean and into the sky, then back into the ocean - as if looping on itself. It reiterates this idea with the ouroboros symbol which lies behind an upside down/flipped compass - symbolising losing yourself. I wanted to portray the idea of looping and infinity as it was as if Seed was repeating history with the new theme of Deeper Space."

Congratulations Sarah! 

And for the submissions that weren't selected, we'll be showcasing them on site at Burning Seed 2017, so make sure you check them out. 

 

 

11606

Burning Seed needs you! Three Town Council Roles are available.

Burning Seed needs you!

Do you have bright ideas, burning desires and a bit of time and effort spare?
Burning Seed is changing and we need your help to get our Town Council - the body that provides strategic governance for the event - to full capacity. We have THREE roles vacant and we need members of the Burning Seed community (you!) to apply & join.

What does it all mean?

The future of Burning Seed is in your hands. The Town Council is drawn from the community that participates each year in the event and discusses, deliberates and makes key decisions on the direction for Burning Seed to burn brighter than ever. If you have experience in events or project management you’d make a great candidate. For those without such experience , good communication skills, working well with others with a dash of leadership experience would put you in good stead.

Commitment required:
→ MONTHLY meetings, with  infrequent emergency meetings where needed
→ a FEW HOURS each month dedicated to doing some Burning Seed homework

If your interest is piqued please find out more here about the issues you need to consider before standing for Burning Seed Town Council (see page 3 of the 2016 application form). Then, if you’re happy with that, fill in an application:

Applications close on Sunday June 4, 2017.  

The application process

There is a 3 week application window, after which the current Town Council will need a week to review applications before contacting you with further information. Those who pass the first round will have interviews with current Town Councillors before final selections are made. The following week, applicants will be informed of the Council’s choices before our wonderful new Town Councillors will be announced to the broader burn community!


Where does the Town Council come from?
Burning Seed Town Council (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 2015 the Red Earth City Town Council oversaw the 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.

December 2015: Directors of Red Earth City Pty decided on governance changes before important issues related to the event's sustainability and growth could be addressed. 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).

The managing structure looks something like this.

2016 till now...
Last year was a rare year...there was no Burning Seed; but that didn’t mean the BTSC was without a job. Thanks to their decision making, the cancellation of Burning Seed was covered by insurance; safety measures to reduce the risk of another cancellation are being implemented and refunds are being processed (unfortunately though despite being covered, sometimes insurers take time to pay out).

Currently BSTC is looking towards Burning Seed 2017, creating procedures for a burnier brighter seed... if you think you’ve got the skills and availability now is your time to apply (hyperlink apply to application page) , burn bright and shine!

 

CURRENT TOWN COUNCILLORS

Phil ‘Sherpa’ Smart
Phil’s first burn was due to San Franciscan friends in 2001 taking him to Burning Man (after many years of them hassling). Finally felt at home, like he'd found what I was looking for.
He burns due to shared values of community, art and self expression; dependable people, who are smart, funny, crazy and creative and who make the world a better place to live in.

On the BSTC to play a part in fostering the community and helping to steward it as it grows. Also to help hold part of the original vision, not only for the Seed, but for the wider Australian burner community as it evolves and further develops its own unique identity.

For the future Phil would like to see Burning Seed continue to grow at a pace that allows sustainable acculturation of new participants. More spin off projects that take burner culture out into the default world, initiatives like Burners Without Borders  and Black Rock Solar in the states, as well as an art foundation to get burner art into off-paddock locations. These days it’s about so much more than Seed as well, with other burns springing up like Blazing Swan and Modyfire, and strong regional communities around the country.

Phil believes Burning Seed can push the boundaries of radical self governance, pioneering concepts such as direct democracy and liquid democracy in the way the community organizes itself and makes decisions. The dream of Burning Seed (or even the Australian burner community collectively) owning its own piece of land some day, somewhere, so that we can continue the experiment in a new way, year round is close to his heart, as are memories...

On the last day of the first Seed, there was a small closing ceremony down by the river where ash was released into the stream. He couldn’t help but shed some tears of joy and relief at the fact that there was finally a community of incredible burners in his homeland who embodied fully the spirit of the playa and the we could share this beautiful experience together.

 

Rennie ‘Ultraman’ Sinclair-Kydd
Rennie loves to burn as burns are generally an event of doers, or people who are about to become doers. Created by people from all walks of life who have strong interests, great passions and an enthusiasm to share what they enjoy with those around them. Burns are an experience of different energies and exposure to new ideas.


Burning Seed 2012 at Matong was his first such experience. He and a small group of friends decided to give life to AWC and share our love of music and art (and apparently climatic devastation).

Rennie joined the BSTC in 2016 as he’s passionate about collaborative effort. BSTC is doing it’s job best when it is active listener to the burner community. This is the best way to build a sustainable seed. The future of seed is no doubt bright, as a conduit for experiments to improve everybody’s real life. Lessons will be learnt on and off that paddock enriching lives and minds.
Every single burn has a plethora of special moments, and are difficult to separate into one being better than another. They are simply different.

 

Shaye ‘The President’ Harty

Born in the most American of all families in Modesto California in 1979. She had heard of Burning Man in her college but she didn't have any friends that she could go with so she had to wait till her time comes! It wasn't until she moved to Humboldt County and became the ‘Rutabaga Queen’  that she was gifted a ticket to BM by a mysterious woman that she didn't even know! 2005 Her very first Burning Man as part of KazBus camp and she hasn’t missed a bloody one since!

This crazy woman has been to 12 Burning Man, 3 Burning Seed, 2 Afrika Burn and 2 Blazing Swan…. so far, with no plan to slow down anytime soon! Speaking of experience and skills Shaye has been the Outside Services Manager at Burning Man, Event Manager at Blazing Swan, Site Manager at Afrikaburn Burn, and Former Admin Team Lead, Former Event Coordinator, current Site Safety Facilitator, site manager at Burning Seed.

Shaye's dream is to be able to live in Melbourne for 9 months working on Art and Events, and then living for the winter in America since it is Summer there, traveling around working on events and visiting her family back home.

Next time you think about fighting her and pushing her out of your way to get a drink at one of the bars on the paddock remember she has a brown belt in Judo and she is pretty good with a lasso!

Ali Shams ‘The Persian Prince’ Ahmadi

Dropping into the burner scene with a bang, landing at his first Matong burn in 2012, arriving there with the infamous and fabulous Middle Eastern Mafia theme camp.
Ali landed on the paddock with a couple of friends, Payam and Malakeh, who had arrived in Australia from their home town of Tehran in Iran within a few years of each other, more than 10 years ago. With no burner connections and no previous experience of the burner arts, apart from soaking up the plethora of DJ mixes coming from the playa, they’d been dreaming of going to this thing called Burning Man, before discovering that there was an Australian version happening in just a few months and only 6 hours drive away.

Hastily putting together a camp infrastructure, they arrived with a basic white marquee, a trestle table, a bunch of milk crates, a few shishas and a small sound system, serving fruit and tea to fellow burners. They quickly made a name for themselves, filling a niche as the go-to day party, partly because they had no lights which made it difficult to continue after dark. This was the ‘year of the storm’ and even losing their marquee in the mini cyclone didn’t dampen their radical self expression.

As a natural people person, building connections and networks, Ali endeared himself in the burner community, soon finding himself playing at Decoms. From there he’s since become involved in running the Melbourne Decom and helping to establish the Melburner association, of which he is currently Vice President.

An active member of the Melbourne theme camp community, the natural progression led him to get involved with town council, joining just in time to be part of the hardest decision we ever had to make; the cancellation of our 2016 event due to flooding.

Ali still has plenty of energy for the burner community and will continue to play a big part in the years to come, with a particular focus on helping to grow the Melbourne and Victorian burner communities, and a view to being part of establishing its own regional burn one day. He plans to make it to the big smoke of Black Rock City some day soon to see the man burn on the playa itself.


Victoria ‘Tech Support’ Vickery

With her first taste for transformative events in 2001 at the age of 17 in San Francisco, she spent three years as Event Coordinator for a transformative dance community.  It’s been quite the journey for her ever since.

A native Californian, she first heard of Burning Man at the age of 12, and finally made the pilgrimage for the first time in 2010.  To date, she has been to 6 burns across 3 continents.  After migrating to Australia in late 2013, she jumped into the local burner scene with both feet, attending her first Burning Seed as the 2nd In Command for the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.  

Over the past three years she has grown with the organisation as Co-Lead of DPI, and Event Coordinator.  She currently chairs the management committee for the event, as well as running the Back of House Department, the Admin Team, and the Restructure Committee.  And of course, she also serves on the Burning Seed Town Council.

Her favourite thing about attending burns has been how much she has been able to learn: about herself, about others, about working together and social dynamics, and about how to kick major ass.  She is now a dynamo with a power tool or a spreadsheet and has gained a lot of experience managing teams.  Her dream is to apply these skills in a professional career in events.

 

11547

Burning Seed Represents at the Global Leadership Conference!

Rhianna Hobbs & Madeline Snow

Each year, Burning Man hosts a Global Leadership Conference, this year its 11th, designed to bring Regional Contacts and Community Leaders together from around the globe. Over 630 burners attended the conference in April, to share and learn from each other under the theme ‘Sparking a new Citizenship’.

The theme for the conference was chosen carefully and strategically – a nod to the current times of political tension and upheaval not only in the States, but around the world. As such, there was a strong political thread that ran throughout the plenaries and breakout sessions. Even Donald Trump made an appearance*.

Interestingly, many burners tend to shy away from discussing politics. The principles of radical inclusion and radical expression can spur many heated discussions, and once politics is thrown into the mix it becomes a discussion that many will want to avoid. The conference confronted this head-on, and provided a platform for exploring the role of burners and Burning Man in these challenging times.

One presenter reminded us that Burning Man is now “mainstream”. As Burners, there is something about this that inherently makes us cringe. But she was right, and that’s ok – “mainstream” doesn’t have to be a dirty word. What Harley was referring to was that Burning Man now has social capital in the default world. As citizens of Burning Man – living by the 10 Principles and gathering together at regional burns around the world – we, as a community, have the power to influence social change and have a positive impact on the world and our communities. We are a global community of passionate, creative do-ers and problem solvers, and we can leverage this to make positive change. We met and listened to a number of people at the conference that introduce themselves as ‘activists’, who have leveraged burner culture to spark political change through events.

One such event is Catharsis on the Mall. This event, on a weekend in November, is held across the lawn from the White House, at the foot of the Washington Monument. Catharsis on the Mall was first put together in 2015 by a group of Burners seeking “a local experience that integrated the best of our Burner values with the immediate desire for political and cultural change”. In exercising their First Amendment right to hold a vigil, organisers have a permit to burn an effigy, as well as host art and mutant vehicles, run workshops, and dance until sunrise at the National mall. The best part is that the event is free and open to the public.

We also heard from Burners without Borders representatives, who spoke about the great work they are doing for international disaster relief and community initiatives around the world. BWB teamed up with the Permaculture Action Network for a project called Permaculture Action Days on the road to Burning Man. Last year, this event brought 200 burners together to plant trees, build composting systems and construct a butterfly and pollinator garden in a community garden. There’s even an Australian chapter of Burners without Borders, who have chapters in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. You can get involved with these groups by contact them via their Facebook page, or even setup your own chapter if one of these isn’t local to you.

We left the Global Leadership Conference feeling inspired and re-energised, and also with the understanding that Burning Seed is part of a truly global network of people using the 10 principles to make change. The GLC this year was a great reminder for us that as burners, we are part of something bigger, and collectively we have the power to effect real change - political, social, cultural, and spiritual.

It also reminded us that the most impactful places to be a Burner could actually be outside of Burning Seed, or the respective Burns that we attend every year. We saw that Burns across the world are a melting pot for ideas that can be turned into default world realities, bringing very real change to people who might never attend a Burn. Be the change you wish to see, be a Burner citizen.

*Ok, it was a life-size cardboard cut out.

 

Madeline Snow and Rhianna Hobbs, representing Burning Seed at 2017's Global Leadership Conference.

 

 

 

catharsis on the mall burner

Catharsis on the Mall

Image via catharsisonthemall.com

11354

We need your help! Get involved in our Restructure Committee

When you hear the words ‘Burning Seed’, what springs to mind? Is it governance structures? Legal entities? Committees? …. No?

Well believe it or not, there’s a team of people behind Burning Seed that *absolutely love* a good organisational spreadsheet or project plan, and they’re needing your assistance.

It has been the dream of the directors of Red Earth City* that Burning Seed become a nonprofit run by a group of community members; however we’re not referring to the way we run the actual event, with awesome volunteers and on the ground involvement. That won’t change. What we’re referring to is the actual organisation behind Burning Seed; how the Burning Seed Org is structured, and how the management committee is selected.

Before any changes can be implemented, we need to take the pulse of the community to determine the best way forward.This ‘community pulse check’, will likely be an involved process, and will require a team of dedicated volunteers to assist with planning, executing and analysing the results.

Are you great at listening to community feedback? Interested in process analysis? Great at helping implement change and manage that process?

If so, then you can help Red Earth City Pty Ltd and the Burning Seed organisers consult the community by joining our volunteer group who will manage this consultation process.  We have heaps to learn about ourselves and each other, and we’re inviting you to be part of the process.  

You can read the full position description here. We know positions descriptions can sound dry, but this is a real opportunity to be involved in how Seed looks for years and years to come.  Once you’ve read the position description and decided that you’re interested in joining the team, you can register here.  Registration closes 21st April.

*More information on the Red Earth City organisation and how it relates to Burning Seed can be found here.

11146

A Message from Burning Man on Seed’s Cancellation

We're incredibly lucky to be part of global network of Burners who can no only share their fiery spirits when times are good, but also their support and strength when times get tough. Upon learning of Seed's cancellation, Ra$pa shared this message with the Burning Seed Community, on behalf of the Burning Man Org:
 
Dear Burning Seed Team and Australia Burner Community Members,
 
It is with sadness that we learned that Burning Seed needed to be cancelled due to the record rainfall and resulting serious safety issues. I wish to share with you Burning Man’s full support of your team and this difficult but unavoidable decision. We send our gratitude, love and support. Burning Seed is a shining light in the constellation of Burner events around the world and we are grateful to the team that valiantly sought to do all they could to overcome the obstacles at hand in the hope that the weather and flooding would subside.
 
When a vision cannot be fully realized it is, of course, normal that there will be sadness and frustration. So much energy goes into creating such an extraordinary community gathering that when it can’t actually happen as planned it is understandably heartbreaking. Be extra kind to one another and to yourselves, be patient and take the long view. This is clearly a case of Nature calling the shots. But is has also been our experience over 30 years that extreme weather tends to engender real community bonds and meaningful relationships in the long run. There may even be opportunities that arise from this cancellation. You may find opportunities to place art that was intended for Seed in public places before Burning Seed next year. You may find opportunities to bring something you love about Seed to your own home and neighborhood. Welcome that as a challenge. Welcome it as an inevitability and challenge yourselves during the time you would have gathered for Burning Seed and throughout the next year, to know you are all still together in the world and to be gloriously yourselves in your public streets and neighborhoods! You have planted a seed together for years. Each of you carry that seed within you and this year’s theme just became “Spill Over and Flood the Default World!”   ; )
 
Once again, we fully support your team and community of amazing and inspiring Burners. We share this moment with you as a seminal moment in your history and we are 1000% confident that the next Burning Seed will be all the more meaningful, resilient and amazing as a result! We stand with you in the world—wet or dry!
 
With Our Love, Support, and Encouragement to Take Pause…then Pick Yourselves Up and Burn all the More Radiantly.

 

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11090

Harassment on The Paddock – It’s Not Ok

Burning Seed is an open and radically expressive event where you will encounter people pushing their own personal boundaries. Everyone deserves to feel safe at Burning Seed regardless of their gender, and we want to foster a safe environment for everyone to express themselves, therefore harassment at Seed is not tolerated. Examples of harassment include vulgar gestures, comments about someone’s sexual orientation, sexually explicit comments, leering, whistling, barking, kissing noises, following someone, flashing someone or exposing oneself, blocking someone’s path and sexual touching or grabbing. 
 
Here are 6 tips to also help you address harassment if it occurs:
 
  1. Use strong body language. Look the harasser in the eyes; speak in a strong, clear voice. Using your voice, facial expressions, and body language together, without mixed signals, show assertiveness and strength.
  2. Project confidence and calm. Even if you do not feel that way, it is important to appear calm, serious, and confident. 
  3. Do not apologise, make an excuse, or ask a question. You do not need to say sorry for how you feel or what you want. Be firm.
  4. You do not need to respond to diversions, questions, threats, blaming, or guilt-tripping. Stay on your own agenda. Stick to your point. Repeat your statement or leave.
  5. While it's important to be assertive, try not lose your temper: This type of reaction is the most likely to lead to anger and violence from the perpetrator. 
  6. Decide when you’re done. Success is how you define it. If you said what you needed to say and you’re ready to leave, do so.

If you still feel like someone is harassing you, you can call for the assistance of a Ranger to help you. 

Stay tuned for another instalment next week from the PEER Rangers, on some tips of what to say to someone who is harassing another Burner.

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10890

New Members for Burning Seed Town Council!!

Recently we announced vacancies for the Burning Seed Town Council (BSTC).  The BSTC is in place as an interim group to support the Burning Seed event Team Leads and facilitate the process for a new stand-alone Burning Seed legal entity.  

It’s important to note that the BSTC plays a complementary role alongside the Team Leads and we consider all the volunteers involved in making Burning Seed happen as playing an equally important role in producing an extraordinary event for all of us.

We were all very pleased with the response from the community and the high calibre of the five candidates who nominated themselves.  

The process involved the applicants submitting their nomination with background and experience, interviews with the candidates and then a final assessment of the candidates by the existing BSTC members.

After careful consideration of all the candidates, we are pleased to announce two new Town Councillors who are proposed to join the BSTC.

Ali Mohammad Shams Ahmadi is a founding member of the Middle Eastern Mafia theme camp at Burning Seed since 2013 and an active member of the Melbourne burner community.

Rennie Sinclair-Kydd, who might be known to many people through involvement with the Alien Welcoming Committee (AWC) theme camp since the early beginnings of Burning Seed in Matong and is also an active member of the Wagga Wagga and Canberra burner communities.

In addition to the BSTC roles that were available, we have also offered Susanne Parris the opportunity to support the BSTC with essential administration activities such as minutes, scheduling meetings, tracking agreed actions and facilitating comms with Team Leads through a Secretariat role.  

Suzanne is an active member of the Sydney burner community and has also been a passionate participant at Seed since 2014.

Our congratulations to Susanne, Ali and Rennie and we look forward to working with all the other candidates in the future.  

We will be on-boarding the new BSTC members over the coming weeks.  We are very excited to have their new energy and particularly look forward to having three of the seven current BSTC members actively involved in representing theme camps at Burning Seed.

Burn Bright!

Victoria, Shaye, Neil, Phil and Jayman - Burning Seed Town Councillors

Ali Mohammad Shams Ahmadi

Ali Mohammad Shams Ahmadi

Rennie Sinclair-Kydd

Rennie Sinclair-Kydd

Susanne Parris

Susanne Parris

10906

Acknowledging Country

by Niki and Pete (Wiradjuri mob)

I would like to acknowledge the Wiradjuri people who are the traditional custodians of this land. I would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present of the Wiradjuri nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people present.

The Matong State Forest is Wiradjuri country, and here at Burning Seed we recognize the privilege of  being able to build our experimental community each year on this beautiful site. We feel we should not ignore the existence and ownership of this land by Aboriginal people before European settlement and acknowledge the history within the ritual of 'Welcome to Country', the ceremony performed each year at Red Earth City to formally launch the event.

Welcome to Country & Acknowledgement of Country

‘Welcome to Country’ is an important ceremony by Aboriginal people and it helps non-Indigenous people recognize Aboriginal culture and history and make connections with country. With Welcome to Country, Elders pay respect to custodians past and present as well as Elders past and present.

Before European settlement, despite the absence of fences or visible borders, Aboriginal groups had clear boundaries separating their country from that of other groups. Crossing into another group’s country required a request for permission to enter. When that permission was granted the hosting group would welcome the visitors, offering them safe passage

Spiritually, this is showing respect for the country and the custodians who are responsible for taking care of the country where we live… So what our custodians are doing is trying to give respect back into the country.

Respecting Tradition

It was the tradition of Aboriginals that when strangers came into their particular country to hunt or to gather, or to just pass through on their way to other places, that the host Aboriginals would go out to welcome them. When they met, there would be the formalities of greeting. Part of the ceremony of welcome would be the men sitting around and talking men’s business (share knowledge and lore) whilst the host women would take the visiting women and children to a women’s site to talk women’s business.

When this was completed, the two groups would join again and the men would trade and hunt for kangaroo, goannas or bush turkey - and the women would prepare an area for eating and would gather firewood and berries, fruit, nuts and lily roots for a meal.

Dancing, Singing, Leaving No Trace (sound familiar!?)

Then the ceremonies, the corroborees dancing would commence, the singing songs around the fire could well go on, not only all night, but sometimes for many nights in a row. Each with a message within their own stories. Men, women and children all taking part. Whilst during the day, the visiting tribe would be taken and shown the sites of significance and be told the stories of the spirit of the land they would be passing.

In this way, the hosts believed that by the end of formalities, when the strangers were ready to move on they would not be considered not strangers but friends who now had the spirit of the country in their heart. They believed that once the spirit of the land was in their hearts, then those people would never damage the land they would love it and care for it like those whose home country it was…

History

A Welcome to Country is about Aboriginal people acknowledging the past, and looking to the future. It is often delivered by an Aboriginal person who has themselves been the victim of government policies.

Our Elders do the Welcome to Country as an act of generosity. These are the same people who have had their children taken away, or been removed themselves. They’re the same people who had their wages stolen by successive governments. They’re the same people who had their ancestors’ remains raided by grave robbers. They’re the same people who were disposed from their lands and forced on to missions and reserves.

And yet despite all of these terrible events and the horrendous treatment by so many parliaments, these very same people are still prepared to say ‘welcome’ to the very people who in some cases have presided over the oppression.

We encourage everyone to come along and join in to the ceremonies, to be welcomed, feel loved and pay our respects to Country. Still today we all have Knowledge to share for a better future.

Niki and Pete 

Pete tending the Sacred Fire at Welcome to Country in 2015

Pete tending the Sacred Fire at Welcome to Country in 2015 (photo: Ryan McRobb)

Yindyamarra Circle near First Camp at Seed 2015

Yindyamarra Circle near First Camp at Seed 2015

The Sacred Fire (photo: Ryan McRobb)

The Sacred Fire (photo: Ryan McRobb)

10877

The Balloon to the Moon from the Paddock!

So who are The Fire Flower crew? We are a team of Melbourne creatives who design and create interactive spaces and sculptures that encourage patrons to play, explore and dream. Using recycled and locally sourced materials as well as bright and playful decor, we provide spaces for festival goers to escape reality. If you were at Rainbow Serpent Festival in 2015 and encountered the huge colourful flower installation, and found your way into Pollen Heaven, otherwise know as the ball pit (!), then you have experienced the crew namesake Fire Flower creation!
 
BTM1 Balloon to Moon Sketch
 
 
Our core crew for the Seed build are a mix of Burners (USA & Seed) and Virgin Burners (yay!); Rohan Mitchell, Marian Mazz Marsden, Jeremy Jez Ankers, Grace Pilcher and Emily Em Anderson (see the photos to meet the crew). Between us there's a wealth of years of experience (and hours and hours of creativity, design, sweat, communication rollercoasters, patience & perserverance!) in creating outdoor installations, shade structures, decor & art, and events management for festivals, doofs and parties.
 
Our Seed project is Balloon to the Moon -  an intergalactic hot air balloon playground that's landed in the paddock. However, challenging perspective, it lies sideways along the ground. Hmmm quirky...!
In the Balloon's basket, the curious explorer will find an intimate peculiar chill space along with various items left behind by the missing Balloon explorers.  Where did they go? What happened to them? Your investigation leads you onwards through the stratosphere and into the Balloon itself... and so I leave the story here to let the adventure be yours to discover. Though for radical self reliance sake, pack your space suit. Journey well, my friends!
 
Balloon to the Moon is our playful take on the Deep Space theme and we invite you to bring your curiosity and wonder as you interact, play & explore the installation.
 
We are so grateful to Burning Seed for their support of our project. With a Burning Seed art grant, along with your support and the community support of our fundraising adventures, we have the opportunity to 'make real' our fantastical, whimsical, intergalactical Balloon installation, which is our ultimate Gift back to you and the Burning Seed community!! We wish you great joy, excitement & happiness while you play & interact with Balloon to the Moon!
 
And beyond Seed, where will the Balloon fly to next? Well, the main frameworks of Balloon to the Moon and all our installation structures are modular. Modular is the key! and therefore we have the flexibilty to dream up infinite possibilities and then morph our existing kit and decor into new & exciting creations. So you will see the Balloon to the Moon again however it will most likely be as a completely different installation!! Build the same installation twice?? pphhhffff! where's the fun & challenge in that! 😉 
 
If you're interested in helping with the prep work and/or the onsite build of Balloon to the Moon then get in touch with us throughhttps://www.facebook.com/TheFireFlower/
 
See you on the dancefloor this Saturday at 'Electric Dreams' and then in the paddock at Seed!
 
Rock on! 🙂

BTM3 Mazz hot air ballon

BTM7 Rohan got balls

BTM5 Grace Clouds

BTM6 Ro Jezz truck Balls

The Fire Flower crew are the creators of the Balloon to the Moon' installation for Seed 2016, and to help make it become a reality our 'Electric Dreams' Fundraiser is happening THIS Saturday 6th August at 24 Moons in Northcote, Melbourne. Woohoo!
So step out of the winter chill and onto our dreamy dance floor for a night full of funky house beats and a lineup of entertainment that will have you floating on cloud nine; awesome DJ's, decor, visuals, burlesque, circus arts, Drag Queen Benign Girl, live body painting by Living Colours and ...a BALL PIT!! 
Weird and wonderful wardrobe is vigorously encouraged so be sure to get your electric glad rags on and live out your wildest dream... and hey, make the effort as there’'ll be a stack of free drinks to win for those who tickle our pickle!
You gotta be there! 🙂
 
More info on the fundraiser at: https://www.facebook.com/events/139178599838796/