10871

Like Art? Like Media? Well then, you’ll LOVE Artedia!!!!

The Paddock is the place where great art comes alive at Burning Seed but it needs three key ingredients to make that happen... 

First, it needs people to make the art - and boy are we lucky to have so much AMAZING talent among us!

Second, art needs an audience (or does it? maybe that's another blog entirely...) and we are double lucky to have some fantastic media professionals expected to participate in Deep Space this year to capture the art and the experience (with CONSENT of course!) on camera and film for all eternity!!!

Third? Well if you like art and/or if you like media then YOU are the vital third ingredient to make 2016 the YEAR OF THE BEST ART AND MEDIA EXPERIENCE EVER KNOWN AT RED EARTH CITY!!!

Be an ARTedia Concierge...!

ARTedia is that special place on the Paddock where Art, Artists and Media can collide, collaborate, and cook up kooky projects and ideas. Our onsite Art and Media space - ARTedia (geddit?) is looking for art lovers to be a part of the magic onsite, and media gurus who love talking shop to help crew the desk and work with our artist and media cohort.

Concierge positions for ARTedia have two VERY IMPORTANT jobs - from the ARTery side it involves meeting and greeting artists and making sure they're registered properly onsite. From a media perspective, the concierge will be the touchpoint for accredited media onsite to check in and register.

 
Shifty
 
Shifts are between 3 and 4 hours, running from Sunday before the event to Monday 3 Oct between 10am and 4pm each day - if you're onsite early please come hang in a comfortable tent for a half day and lend a hand. We need to fill between 30 and 40 shifts over the course of the week so we really need people who are keen to participate and commit to a couple of shifts of AWESOME at Artedia.
 
Register NOW!
 
To put your hand up please register as community crew and tick the Artedia/Artery checkbox and here's a more detailed description of the ARTedia concierge role if you need more info.
 
See you on the Paddock!!!

Artedia: The happiest marriage on the Paddock

Artedia: The happiest marriage on the Paddock

Artedia: Helping Your Find Your Way

Artedia: Helping you find the way

10946

Need To Know: Gate Crew at Seed

by ZUUL

Gate… the final frontier....

Well actually the Gate Keepers are the first people you’ll see when arriving at Burning Seed. We’re the crew of sarcastic, sometimes rude (but always fun) burners who are wearing pink hi-vis and ensure your safe entry into the Burn. Definitely the best crew on the Paddock, you should get involved.

Better this year

2016 sees Gate continue to improve on what was a pretty tight operation last year. Thanks to our friends at DPI the road around the Gate House has been widened so we can process vehicles more quickly and get you on your way.

We’ll also be using smartphones to scan your tickets which is one of the many benefits of our new ticketing system. In addition to checking tickets and IDs we also make sure that you are being Radically Self Reliant and have sufficient water for your time on the Paddock.

Finally we take a look through your car searching for a cold beer (plus stowaways, guns and fireworks - don’t bring those, just the beer). While we’re doing all this please just sit in your car. We don’t hug people at Gate so there’s no need for you to get out. You can do that round the corner when you get to Greeters.

Help Gate Help You

To make things easy for the Gate crew PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE have your ticket and ID ready when you arrive at the Gate House!! You’ve probably had hundreds of kilometres to get it sorted out and there is nothing worse than holding up a long queue because your ticket is in your other pants, which are packed under your esky, behind the tent.

Whilst we don’t require you to print your ticket this year we still strongly encourage you to do so as we see many cases of people’s phones dying or having no reception so they can’t access their ticket online. Just print it out.

Opening Hours and Pass Outs

Gate opens at midday on Wednesday 28th September. Don’t arrive before then, you’ll be turned away. Our full opening hours are available on the Burning Seed website. If you accidentally turn up when we’re closed then you’ll need to find yourself somewhere else to camp for the night until we open again in the morning.

One of our other tasks is handling pass-outs which were first introduced last year. We firmly believe that you get the best experience at a burn by fully immersing yourself in the experience and not popping out to the nearest town for a packet of ciggies, some extra food or the always tempting shower.

Once again be Self Reliant and bring everything you need with you when you arrive - if you do run out of something then ask your neighbours first before jumping in the car. If you do absolutely need to leave the site then we’ll take $20 from you for the privilege which goes to the great team at Red Earth Ecology.

Be nice to the Gate crew when you arrive. We don’t promise to be nice in return but you’ll certainly enjoy the ride.

 

GATE LIFE

Gate House: The beatings WILL continue until morale improves...

Queues: Improvements expected this year...

Queues: Improvements expected this year...

Not evil: Gate Lead Zuul and 2iC Psy

Not evil: Gate Lead Zuul and 2iC Psy

 

 

10385

Step Forward… Temple Guardians

by Sir Andy (with some words/help from the legendary Prof. Johnny Breakwell)

Do you have the quiet strength to be a Temple Guardian at Burning Seed?

Some might say the Temple is the soul of a Burn - a place for quiet reflection, a place to be a human, to find and lose your emotions, to connect with yourself and with others whether friends or enemies, strangers or estranged. I reckon it’s all these things and more. That’s just my 2 cents. 

The Burning Seed Temple’s cool and quiet significance on the Paddock is matched only by the heat and passion of the Effigy - in this year of Deep Space they are the Moon and Sun of our little forest Burniverse. 

Whether you agree with that or not, one thing on which we might collectively nod is that the Temple is a turning point - both literally (it Burns on the last night of Seed - sob!) and figuratively... that is, we all know there’s heaps of meaning attached to the Temple for us and for those around us, it just depends where you are on that spectrum.

templeguardian01

temple03

Evolution of the Temple

Now, turning points are pretty much Standard Operating Procedure at Burning Seed - for individual participants and for the event itself. Every year we all learn something new, we evolve right? 2015 was no exception and one of the most significant turning points came with our understanding that we all gotta do more for the Burning Sed Temple to:

  1. communicate and educate about the Temple’s significance and meaning;
  2. protect the space and the people who attend it.

Quiet and Introspective

The emphasis and whole intent of the Seed Temple has always been quiet and introspective - as distinct from the focus of pretty much everything else at Seed which is tipped towards self expression.

However in 2015 there was a noticeable change in atmosphere around the Temple and the Temple Burn in particular, and some incidents (graffiti on the structure, noise during the Burn) leading to valuable community discussion between newer and veteran burners about what exactly the Temple means to us as a Seed community.

As Australians we’re no strangers to the concept of holding and sharing our silence for a moment with a community. It’s a rare Aussie who hasn't experienced at least one moment of moving silence during an Anzac service for example. We know about the power of context and ritual.

Temple Guardians - Step FORWARD!

Some of you veteran Burners out there will be aware of the Temple Guardians of Black Rock City at the Big Burn in Nevada - this crew has been in place since 2002 and they do an awesome job of watching over the structure, listening to and engaging with those who visit, and contributing broadly to helping everyone evolve their interaction with this sacred space.

So in the grand tradition of this mighty DO-OCRACY that we call Burning Seed we’re looking to YOU to create a new volunteer crew dedicated to holding the space of the Temple, protecting the structure and those who visit.

It’s intended that the Burning Seed Temple Guardians will work on shifts to support Temple visits, protect artefacts and the space and educate about its significance. They won’t be there to make or enforce rules; rather to watch quietly and act appropriately and skillfully when necessary to protect the safety and sacred space of the Temple and those in and around it.

At Black Rock City they talk in terms of “a philosophy that calls for using small pushes from a great distance. Sometimes your look, your soft words, or even just your presence is all that is required to hold the sacred space of the Temple. When we do interact with participants, we do so with love and respect. We carry the sacred space of the Temple into every interaction, using our connection with the grounded, serene space to guide and shape our interactions with participants.”

 

OK I’m so IN - what next?

If this sounds like you then please support the community vision for an awesome Temple Guardian crew at Burning Seed in 2016. We’re looking for a Temple Guardian Team Lead as part of the Civic Services crew. The Team Lead will be responsible for building and developing the crew ahead of the event, working with Civic Services and with the Crew Wranglers.

If you can spare a couple of hours a week pre-Seed and a few more hours a day on-site you’ll be working on key projects including recruitment, developing crew training and guidelines, and engagement with other teams including Rangers and the Fire Art Response Team (FART).

If you can’t take on the Team Lead role but you are keen on doing a shift or two on-site as a Temple Guardian that’s equally AMAZING! Register your interest at the Community Crew page, go visit and engage with the Temple Guardians’ Facebook Page, or check out this awesome video about the Temple Guardians at BRC for some inspiration.

For more on the history of the Temple check out the Evolution of the Burning Seed Temple.

9094

Seed Sanitation Needs a Number Two!

OK so once you have recovered from the lolz of that headline it’s time to get to the serious business of crewing for our ass-spanking new Department of Sanitation!

Lara, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s resident “Squeaky Queen” (aka Sanitation Lead and DPI Co-Lead) is seeking a Prince or Princess Poo and a loyal crew of Kennys and Kenriettas to help ensure our 80+ executive thrones around the Paddock are functional, full of water, clean and stocked with paper twice a day.

Flushed with Success

Before you hold your nose - this is actually a privileged roll (geddit!) at Seed - the real dirty business is done by the paid professionals!

As a member of Sanitation Crew you will get:

  • hot showers (WTF!)
  • 3 prepared meals a day during build and packdown (Holy Sh*t!)
  • 1 prepared meal/day + self-serve snacks and food during the event (is this a joke!!?)
  • massive kudos and thanks from EVERYONE on the Paddock for helping to deliver the best facilities ever known in a field in the middle of a forest (OK where do I sign up!!)

To live like a KING or QUEEN at Seed all you need to do is twice a day make sure the toilets are clean by removing the empty toilet rolls and random other MOOP, giving the real messy ones a run over, replacing the toilet rolls and restocking the hand sanitiser. POO EASY!!

The Wee Hours

The team needs enough Crew to cover the period 26 September to 4 October, for 2-4 shifts of around 2-3 hours at sunrise and before sunset during the event.

So by gifting a minimum 4 hours of your time to the Cistern Chapels of Burning Seed YOU GET THE KEY TO THE EXECUTIVE WASHROOM!

If you are hot for the trots and keen to get your hands CLEAN (did you see that bit about hot showers!!!?) then contact the Crew Wranglers before they get clogged up with applications (and they will!) - jointhecrew@burningseed.com

Are You a Number Two?

Are you Number Two material? Lara showed us last year that she knows how to take care of business... her initiative, attention to detail, and incredible hard work made 2015 the cleanest and most hygenic Burning Seed we’ve ever seen - but Lara needs an equally capable 2iC who is ready to be showered with gratitude by the community and train to be Number One in 2017.

If you're keen and think you have what it takes find out more from the crew wranglers at jointhecrew@burningseed.com haha poo crew wranglers more lolz!! (OK enough now).

Moving-a-toilet-768x576

9046

Bring Your Mutant Vehicle Dreams to Life!

Mint Country Club’s spectacular Green Whale (photo: Andy Flint)

by the Red Earth Department of Mutant Vehicles

We’re getting more serious about transport around Red Earth City. As our community grows we need to make sure we have the necessary infrastructure to keep our City safe. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still have some radical and creative fun doing it….. hello art cars or ‘mutant vehicles’!

Last year (2015) saw the introduction of our first licensing and registration system for art cars on the Paddock, and the establishment of the Red Earth City Department of Mutant Vehicles (REDMV).

We’re expecting more art cars in 2016 and we’re looking for participants now to work with the REDMV team to help register vehicles in advance and to crew for the team. Red Earth City is a bicycle and pedestrian-oriented city and there is no driving allowed on site once you’re through the Gate other than with a registered art car or ‘mutant vehicle’.

What is a mutant vehicle?

A Mutant Vehicle is a unique, motorized creation that shows little or no resemblance to its original form, or to any standard street vehicle. Mutant Vehicles are radically, stunningly, (usually) permanently, and safely modified from their base vehicle. Sometimes the whole vehicle is made from scratch.” – Burning Man Department of Mutant Vehicles

At Burning Seed, all powered vehicles or human powered vehicles over 250kg for use on the Paddock need to be registered and licensed with REDMV. As well as complying with registration procedures and on-site driving rules, in order to qualify for a licence vehicles for use on the Paddock need to be ‘mutated’.

Creative collaboration is at the core of the Burning Seed experience and you could do worse than to work with a crew to bring your maddest Mad Max dreams to life with a mutant vehicle. The 2016 Burning Seed theme- Deep Space – offers some obvious inspiration but a project like this deserves your most radical expression!

Spectacular mutants in 2015

The first year of REDMV saw some spectacular vehicles make it to the Paddock, including the Wonky Queenslander, the Orphanage Art Car, the CocoPocoLocomotive and Mint Country Club’s Green Whale (this latter vehicle built on-site! – how cool was that!!?) Kudos to the crews responsible for those awesome MVs. Last year was also a success in terms of zero injuries and great communication and engagement between REDMV and mutant vehicle operators, and with Rangers and other relevant crew on-site. We want to see this same outcomes in 2016 with new and revised registration information and driving rules.

Not Shonky - Just Wonky! (photo: Jorgenn Dobleene)

Not Shonky – Just Wonky! The WONKY Queenslander (photo: Jorgenn Dobleene)

Get involved with REDMV!

If you love art, if you love vehicles or if you just love humans and want to make sure they stay safe on the Paddock, REDMV needs YOU! We’re looking for a REDMV second-in-command (2iC) to work with the Department to create documentation, evaluate applications, liaise with vehicle operators and ensure the safe operation of mutant vehicles on-site. We’re also looking for specialist REDMV crew to work with us on vehicle assessments including safety inspections, licensing and managing and enforcing safe Mutant Vehicle operation during the event.

What next?

Registrations will open soon and will remain open for a few months. If you have questions at any stage email redmv@burningseed.com. If you want to get involved and find out more about the 2iC role or other REDMV crew opportunities, register your interest with the Crew Wranglers at jointhecrew@burningseed.com.

8975

WANTED: 2iC PEER For When the Going Gets TOUGH!

NOT APPROVEDfor P.E.E.R. Rangers

Sorry Billy! You may have a voice like satin but you’re not approved for PEER Rangers…

by Koi and Alicia

OK… so the whole Billy Ocean thing was kind of a ruse…

Are you professionally trained in psychology, social work, counselling, psychiatric nursing or other similar feel -good-helper-type roles? Do you have experience in managing acute psychological issues? Do you have professional training or experience in responding to assaults? Would you consider gifting some of your sweet time and knowledge year round to help Seed happen? Then read on… (NB there’s a special treat later for those of you reading who don’t have the above skills…)

PEER Rangers
Burning Seed is generally a happy, joyful and wonderfully fulfilling experience for participants. However there are times when things don’t go so well for individuals – at Seed we’re serious about making sure participants have access to vital psychological and/or emotional support when they need it.

In 2015 Seed established a specialised crew of Rangers – Psychological and Emotional Emergency Response (P.E.E.R.) Rangers –  to provide support at times when really tough stuff happens at Seed that may be difficult for participants to process. “Really tough” could include: acute mental health crises, sexual non-consent matters and relationship violence. This critical team now needs a second-in-charge (2iC) – could that be YOU!?

What’s involved?
As 2iC PEER Rangers you’ll get to:

  • help recruit, select and train PEER Rangers;
  • contribute to essential admin & work with sweet organisers behind the scenes, and;
  • be a go-to leaderly type person available to work shifts during Seed and respond to incidents if they arise.

If you think you could help and want to get involved contact the Crew Wranglers ASAP at jointhecrew@burningseed.com for more information and for a copy of the role description!

That Special Treat We Mentioned… here’s that satin-voiced R&B legend in all his 80s glory:  Enjoy!

For those still reading, we have HEAPS OF ROLES to fill at Burning Seed requiring very sweet skills like yours! Check out the roles available and see where you might fit –  add some more ‘immediacy’, ‘communal effort’ and ‘participation’ into your Seed! If compassion for your fellow Burners has brought you this far but you don’t have the professional experience we need for the PEER role, we have plenty of opportunities available for supportive souls like you.

For example, Red Earth Rangers actively support community well-being and safety, for instance as first responders to emergencies, and as community mediators. Rangers come from all walks of life, and with a bit of training (which we provide) nearly anyone can be a Ranger, whatever your level of work of life experience!!

But if you’re a good fit for the PEER 2iC, and feel like you might have what it takes, please get in touch and help us all Burn Bright and not Burn Out in 2016!

8853

Burning Seed 2016 – First Site Visit!!

Red Earth... but no City - YET!

Plenty of Red Earth… but no City – YET!

It begins! We’re six months out from what promises to be the best Burning Seed yet and crew from Seed’s Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) made the first site visit of the year this week to check in with the local community and start making plans for site works and improvements.

Running an event like Burning Seed is no short term deal. As the event has grown (and continues to grow) over the years, much work is involved in managing that growth, being mindful of the impacts on the site and on the local community, and taking account of a range of factors that relate to our commitment to Seed as a sustainable event.

Each year brings new lessons about how the event can be improved. For instance the DPI crew spent time on site last week reviewing the situation with roadworks, with a view to expanding the space particularly around the Gatehouse to ensure adequate lanes for emergency exit and to help address the problems in 2015 of the traffic bottleneck near Gate/Greeters.

DPI crew start their journey towards Burning Seed 2016

DPI crew on the road towards Burning Seed 2016

DPI also met with the sanitation team that handled all our 85+ toilets and 70,000 litres of toilet waste last year to talk about better ways of getting the waste trucks in and out of the Paddock, and to begin consultation on any additional infrastructure needed.

The site visit also provided an opportunity for the DPI crew to meet with our friends in the local community in and around Matong to discuss more ways that we can help leverage Seed for the benefit of local people.

For example, we raised more than $3000 in funds for local schools last year with our ice sales, and there are some great new ideas and initiatives emerging for 2016, including raising funds from the local collection of garbage on departure from Seed, and potential water deliveries to site.

If you want to get involved in crew for DPI or any other team get in touch NOW with our crew wranglers by signing up on the website.

And, if you haven’t already signed up for the Red Earth Ecology planting weekend next month – 22-24 April – now is the time!

8833

Burner Journeys… Finding Your Creative Power!!

by Acid Mama

The Burning Man (and Burning Seed!) community is a unique creative space when it comes to enabling people to push their comfort zones and try something new. For those of us who have had the opportunity to step up into our creative power and participate in a collaborative project for Burning Man or one of its regional events, we know how magical this experience can be.

Nothing fabricated about this - it's as real as it gets...

Being a Burner means doing cool stuff like DANGER!!

Furthermore, if you are a woman, as I am, and you’ve had this kind of opportunity, then you know just how empowering it can be to have your skills appreciated and encouraged, nourishing a part of you that thrives on creativity.

Getting Involved

In 2006 I experienced my first Burning Man and the incredible WOW-factor of Black Rock City. That year was eye-opening, challenging, and beautiful. When I left the Playa, I vowed to return with a major contribution. I’d enjoyed being a punter my first year, but felt that there was a deeper way I could participate.

In 2007, I bought an old school bus, gathered friends and talent, and rocked back up to Black Rock City with a hula-hoop camp. Our theme camp was bare bones, but still ticked the boxes. Yet still I wanted a deeper level of involvement.

During the next year, I relocated to study jewellery and metal fabrication at Uni – and this is where I found my niche. I got a job as the fine metals studio assistant, taught classes, ran open studio sessions, and assisted the students. On the side I was tinkering, playing and experimenting with welding, steel work and plasma cutting in the large scale metal fabrication studio. Then one day, somehow, through word of mouth, I got a call…

Finding Your Niche

“Prof”as he was called, had heard about me and my work through a mutual friend. He told me the story of his Burning Man theme camp and asked if I would join their crew – the Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe – a Burning Man fix-it camp that had been operating on the Playa since the mid ’90s. What had started off as a pop up tent with some rolling tool boxes, had, by the time I got involved, turned into a camp with massive acreage right on the Center Camp ring of Black Rock City.

We fixed, broke and re-made anything that came to our door; bringing welders, every hand and power tool imaginable, any nut and bolt we could gather. Incredible opportunities landed in our laps, as we helped large-scale sound camps, amazing art cars, even the Department of Public Works crew. During the next 4 years, my experience with Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe radically transformed my Burn, and my life.

Getting Creative - Flame Effects Archway At Centre Camp

If you ever wondered why we call ourselves Burners…THIS!

Bringing the Skills to Seed

Fast forward to Burning Seed 2015: I’d stumbled into being involved again, working as 2iC for Theme Camps, and being a part of the team creating the flame-effects archway at Centre Camp. 
This latter project was an amazing opportunity for me to get back into welding and metal fabrication, work collaboratively with men and women, and dabble in a realm I thought I’d lost forever when I left America. 

Through this project, a plethora of other opportunities have opened up, and I am deeply grateful for each of them. It’s now my turn to give back, and create opportunities for other women to explore metal fabrication and welding techniques.

Women: Rule the Weld!

Women (of Melbourne)! If you’ve ever wanted to upskill in welding and metal fabrication, now’s the time. Starting in May I’ll be offering a 6-session Women’s Welding Workshop every third Sunday, 10-4 pm. The course will be held at NORM Warehouse which has just moved to an awesome new space in North Coburg, right behind the Batman Train Station, next door to Bunnings.

The skills you will learn in the course could enable you to design, create and install incredible art on the Paddock, allow you to upskill in an area that nourishes and enriches a practice already in place, or simply encourages you to make wicked yard art. Whatever your intention is with this course, know that it is welcome and encouraged. The space I am cultivating will be exclusively run by, managed and filled with women: female instructor, assistant, studio manager, as well as female students.

Learn more about the course and enrol!! Alternatively, send an email for more information.

***

What do you think? Want to get more involved and unlock your creative potential? Burning Seed is a DO-OCRACY made possible ONLY BY YOU! Find out more about Community Crew positions, email the Crew Wranglers for information or check out the ARTery for more about how you can bring your imagination to life on the Paddock!

Wanna share your Burner Journey? Email us with YOUR story at comms@burningseed.com

8627

Community Crew – it’s all about YOU YOU YOU!

Community Crew makes Seed happen

You. Yes YOU! (Photo: Onur Karaozbek)

by Neil Power aka Neillo

Righto, righto.

So you want to go to Burning Seed this year and are wondering what your gift will be? Well maybe start thinking along these lines – why not gift your time as Community Crew…?

To operate a successful (read: stress free and safe) Burning Seed, the organisers need to fill a whole swathe of crew positions during the event.

Do the Maths

With insufficient numbers volunteering,  for instance, for shifts at the Gate and with Rangers patrolling the Paddock making sure everyone and everything is cool, there can be only very limited growth in the number of tickets on sale for the event each year.

It really is that simple. More crew = more capacity to accommodate more people.

Last year only 8 per cent of Burning Seed participants that weren’t on the organisation team filled a crew shift  during the event.

That is an utterly unsustainable number. We need to AT LEAST double it in 2016. Are you up for it?

Burning Seed is a Do-Ocracy

Burning Seed can only operate with the boots-on-the-ground help of our community and in 2016 we need everyone please to step up and to do so well in advance of the event.

And look at this way, as part of the Community Crew you are signing up to spend a shift or two meeting some of the most awesome people on the planet. Bummer, eh?

So. Many. Options.

So here’s what I’d like you to consider:

1. (a) Find a mate. These experiences can be so much better shared, yeah? and (b) Do it on you own because your friends are usually worthless bastards that end up just letting you down.

2. Consider whether you are a ‘walk around the Paddock looking good in orange with a radio’ type person (Rangers) or a, ‘hmmmm, I’d like to stand in one spot and let the people come to me!’ dude or dudess (Gate, ice sales)

3. Email the awesome Crew Wrangler team on jointhecrew@burningseed.com with your offer to assist or to ask as to how otherwise you can help. (If you like getting your hands dirty, we’ve got some perfect gigs for you too).

4. Turn up! Oh, yeah, and about half the people that signed up for shifts last year didn’t front up. That’s pretty unhelpful too. This is serious people. A smooth Gate experience (and we need Gate people ALL the way through the event, not just for the first couple of days) and a safe Paddock environment are critical to the safe staging of Burning Seed and we simply need more people on site during the event helping out. And if we don’t have that help, the event can’t grow. It’s pretty binary.

So please start thinking about it and start getting in touch NOW!!! Help us stage a great event and allow as many people as possible enjoy the Burning Seed experience by putting your hand up to help.

How Will YOU Role?

We ALWAYS want to hear from people keen on Gate and Rangers shifts but over the next few weeks we are particularly keen to fill a couple of essential Burning Seed roles – we’ve drafted role descriptions so you can see exactly what’s involved and what skills are required for each role:

Check out the link for more information on Crewing and how it all works. www.burningseed.com/participate/communitycrew/ or email the Crew Wranglers on jointhecrew@burningseed.com.

Thanks heaps! See you on the Paddock! – Neillo

 

8462

Out of AfriKa(Burn)

By Helena Sheridan

I got infatuated by the concept of Burning Man in 2012. At the time I had no idea it would lead me to experience Burns on three different continents.

I didn’t realize it would suck me so deep into a culture of people so diverse, yet so similar, that I would eventually draw a (small) salary from it and get to be involved all year round in creating spectacular events and experimental communities.

DPW in Tankwa Town.... (Photo credit: Adriaan V Zyl)

DPW in Tankwa Town…. (Photo credit: Adriaan V Zyl)

In 2015 my involvement as the Coordinator of AfrikaBurn’s Department of Public Works gave me an opportunity to travel to Australia and work with Red Earth City’s Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

The setting, the faces and the accents may change, but at its core the spirit of the people, who give so much of their time to put on an event of this nature, remains the same. This is my tribe.

Same / Same, but Same, but Different

To date I’ve been lucky enough to work at Nowhere, the European regional Burn in Spain (2012 and 2013) with around 1000-1200 participants and at AfrikaBurn, the world’s biggest regional, in the Tankwa Karoo of South Africa (2013 to 2015) with numbers in the range 8000 to 11,000.

Burning Seed 2015 was a fantastic middle ground in terms of participants (3,400 or so) and I really enjoyed the sense of community I found at Red Earth City.

....meet DPI at Red Earth City

….meet DPI at Red Earth City. What is it with this crew and containers??? (photo credit: Andy Flint)

Interestingly the concerns and issues that plague the membership and the Operations Team at AfrikaBurn HQ in Cape Town also resonate with the Burning Seed team in Australia.

The rapid growth of the events, the constant need to reinforce the message of consent, conflicts between the Ten Principles, keeping everyone happy in a radically expressive environment and burn-out amongst key team members seems to be all too evident both sides of the pond.

Meeting the Challenges of Event Growth

How does a decommodified event start to pay key crew-members? To what extend do we rely on volunteerism and how does involvement not become exclusive if only certain people can afford the time to work on the event? How do we keep growing our events while making sure the culture and Principles of the movement are not lost in the influx of virgins? And at what time can we expect big sound systems to shut up for a while so we can hear the sounds of the beautiful environments in which we find ourselves?

I certainly got new insight on some of these questions during my time at Seed 2015 and I hope I provided the crew on that side with some new perspectives too.

For one thing, I was really inspired by the amount of time, money and effort the citizens of Red Earth City put into theme camps (at AfrikaBurn there are no theme camp grants and there’s a lot more focus on mutant vehicles and big artwork).

With the rascals at the Grong Grong

Helena (centre) hanging out with the Red Earth rascals at the Matong local

It did me good also to see how the communities in Sydney and Melbourne hang out, get creative and take Burner culture back to the cities where they live. Seeing how involved people get in their camps or artworks allowed me valuable perspective as someone who has always just seen the practical, infrastructure side of such creative events.

Come say Aweh

I hope more of the core crew and participants from Seed can come visit us in South Africa to see how much we do with so little. The third world (and our location 3hrs from ANYthing) certainly makes us think outside a lot of boxes and a lot more ‘McGuyvering’ is implemented.

I think our two events can learn a lot from each other and together we can all take big bold steps into the future.

I want to thank everyone who hosted me, offered me a couch, a tent, a sleeping bag, a meal, a drink, a puff, a pill, a good time. I have much admiration for the crew putting on this spectacular event without a cent to compensate the time they put in and I have made a whole lot of fantastic new friends.

Come to Tankwa Town, I will look after you!
Yours in dust and deet…. Helena

AfrikaBurn takes place between 25 April and 1 May 2016 – at the time of writing, tickets are pretty close to selling out, so get in quick.