02/26/14

MRAC Takes On LA Decompression Party

by Phoenix della Mare

 

In the Burning Man community we have a cycle, much like the seasons. Unlike our seasons which change due to weather patterns and our relative distance to the sun, Burning Man’s seasons are: build-up to the event, the event, and recovery.

Events related to Burning Man occur within this cycle. There are a series of pre-Burning Man events such as Precompression, Burnal Equinox, fundraisers for various theme camps and art projects, and so on.

And then there’s the post-event event, the thing we call Decompression. It’s a chance to have one last hurrah and wind down from the year’s Burning Man event. It generally takes place about a month after Burning Man (depending on region). The main Decompression event that is put on by the Burning Man Project is in San Francisco, but most regions have a decompression event. This allows artists to bring out their projects one more time and share it with their local community. For people who cannot attend Burning Man, this is a great way to participate. For people returning from Burning Man, the regional decompression gives them a chance to share their work again.

I generally go to the San Francisco Decompression party. I’ve made the trip to Santa Cruz for their Decompression party, as well. These are both local to me so they are easier to get to.

Last year I decided to make a bit more of a trip. I went to LA Decompression to help out where I could with the Mars Rover Art Car, which was nicely placed between the Human Spirit and the Flow Arts stage, not too far away from the entrance.

LA Decom was much larger than I expected. It ran the length of LA Historical Park, not too far away from Little Tokyo and Chinatown in Los Angeles. The size of the event was impressive, considering that San Francisco Decom is only a few blocks long. For someone used to smaller scale events, LA Decom can be a bit overwhelming.

The amount of interest in the MRAC was truly awesome. In the time that I was there, we had quite a few people who came over to check it out. They asked various questions which were answered by the members of the crew. The overall vibe was chill and Camp Envy shenanigans were happening as the MRAC was streamed over the Camp Envy website.

While my health made it difficult for me to stay as long as I had wanted (I learned some important lessons so I won’t repeat the same mistakes again), going and supporting MRAC at LA Decompression was a lot of fun. The people were great to talk to. Overall, it was a great time.

And I’m curious about the thoughts of others who were there. Feel free to send me your thoughts about MRAC at LA Decom, Burning Man or any other local events to risingphoenix13@gmail.com. I might just collect them for a future post.

02/12/14

Do-Ocracy? What Does That Mean?

by Phoenix della Mare

 

Being around the Burning Man community you start to pick up a lot of new words. They are words that could have meaning in every day life, but you would have never thought about prior to that first trip to the Playa. Words like MOOP (matter out of place), using the word radical in front of self-reliance… things like this. One word that I have repeatedly heard over the years is the word “Do-ocracy”.

This is the very core of what makes things tick at Burning Man. If you think something’s missing, if you want to see something at Burning Man, you make it happen. After all, Burning Man is a Do-ocracy.

It’s such an awkward word that has a lot of power behind it. It means you can help form the reality that is Burning Man.

So, what do the Mars Rover Art Car, Black Rock Observatory or Black Rock Astronomical Society have to do with this?

It’s simple. While there have always been quite a few people who would look at the stars while at the event, it was never accessible to the masses.

That is the core of what MRAC, BRO and BRAS want to bring to Burning Man. We seek to bring science and astronomy to the Playa. This is something that hasn’t been done before. We will bring science to more people through a more hands-on and approachable manner.

Sure, it sounds like a lofty goal. It’s also an achievable goal.

It’s also the very essence of Do-ocracy. We saw something that we found lacking at Burning Man. We are making it and filling that void.

The Do-ocracy is part of what makes Burning Man an ever-changing experience. It also makes it continuously unique. The word might sound funny, but it’s part of what helps nurture the creative spirit. MRAC, BRO and BRAS are the essence of the word Do-ocracy.

02/2/14

The Black Rock Astronomical Society

by Wabi Sabi

 

The Black Rock Astronomical Society, BRAS, is a rowdy band of travellers culled together by Bo Peep and Hypnotic of New York City to build their wild desert vision of a 20” aperture Dobsonian telescope in the Deep Playa. At Burning Man, wild visions cannot consist simply of a 10’ telescope with fragile pieces sitting in solitude on the playa waiting for passersby who want to peek into the galaxy. No. Their telescope will be an elegant behemoth amidst the swirling dust, rewarding brave souls who dare to climb upon its back to contemplate her or his place amongst the supernovas, nebulas, stars and planets.

The telescope will be a beacon to travelers venturing out to the Deep Playa, calling to all the aliens, starships, spaceships and those who dream of flying–and it will do this from within the oasis of the Black Rock Observatory. This is where weary travelers will rest and learn from wise men about what lies beyond and what the stars and heavens can tell them about what lays ahead in their future. There they will meet other travelers and share their stories and describe that intimate moment when their eye fell upon a distant star…

When Bo Peep and Hypnotic came upon the builders of the Black Rock Observatory, it was explained to them that they were an observatory in need of a central telescope.  The destiny became clear to them all as Bo Peep and Hypnotic described their vision of a telescope, and they immediately set off to find a crew. The first person chosen on the journey was General Pumpk1n.  General Pumpk1n was Hypnotic’s childhood friend and now that they were grown, Hypnotic could see he had become a man with intimate, formal knowledge of the brutality of the desert.

Pumpk1n is educated in chemical and bio-engineering and knows the magic of nuclear engineering. He told tales of being a special processes engineer and project coordinator for the government. He explained that it was he who was responsible for ensuring the survival of objects in harsh physical conditions. He could control the effects of shock, vibration, and harsh environmental conditions on objects precious to the government, such as heavy rains, sand and dust. Bo and Hypnotic asked the man to join them and he accepted.

They then happened upon Wabi Sabi. She would gather people near and far to join her in her ventures and connected those who were seeking with those who were sought. Bo and Hypnotic had traveled with her and knew she could gather together those who would seek out the telescope. Wabi Sabi agreed to bring the people to the telescope and joined them.

On and on they continued and happened upon Richard Berry, known as the Idea Guy. He was a learned man and had written books on telescopes. He built telescopes and brought them and his knowledge of the stars to the  people. Bo and Hypnotic knew this would be invaluable as they began building and Idea Guy accepted the new challenge of teaching them to build one of his sought after telescopes in the desert.

Together, we will all welcome you to share in Bo Peep and Hypnotic’s vision in the Deep Playa.