I attended the Burning Man Art Festival for 14 years from 1993 to 2010, skipping a few in between. I co-founded the long-running theme camp, the Costco Soulmate Trading Outlet, and managed it from 1998 to 2005. I worked with artist David Best on the Temple of Stars as a carpenter in 2004 for two weeks before the event.
In 1993 when I first when to Burning Man, it was a few thousand crazy artists together for an apocalyptic weekend of camping in the desert. Since then, I’ve seen it grow from 2000 people to 50 thousand in 2010 (and still growing). The burn inspired me to look at art as an everyday part of our lives, magic and whimsy as cathartic possibilities, and a gift economy as a desirable replacement for the exploitative capitalistic exchange economy. I can trace the meandering path of my personal political development through my experiences at Burning Man.