I’ve attended the Burning Man Festival off-and-on since 1993, skipping a few years in between. At last count, I think I’ve been 20 times over that period.
In 1998, I co-founded the Costco Soulmate Trading Outlet which celebrated its 20 year anniversary this year, what we’ve been told is the longest continuously running theme camp. I still camp with Costco whenever I’m on playa.
In the early 2000s, I volunteered pre-event with the Lamplighters for two years to help build their homebase.
I worked with artist David Best on the Temple of Stars as a carpenter in 2004 for two weeks before the event, one of my favorite Burning Man experiences and a lesson in functional anarchy.
In 2018, I worked with honoraria artist, Lauren Benz, to help on- and off-playa with her installation project, Megalophone, a giant Lamalephone. We also brought it to Decompression.
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 60 thousand people.
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.
Many photos courtesy of the talented Espressobuzz.