Burning Man Burn Out?

I’ve never been to Burning Man. I’d like to, for so many reasons, but more on that later. A new film “Spark: A Burning Man Story” is popping up here and there (most recently at this year’s SXSW), the trailer alone raises some interesting questions.

As Lindsay Eanet wrote on BlackBook:

“In most cases, people who regularly talk about Burning Man generally fall into four camps: people who have attended Burning Man and are obsessed with the transformative experience of the thing, people who went to Burning Man and hated it but still want to remind everyone that they went to Burning Man, dreamy-eyed college students who reeeeeaaallllyyyy want to go to Burning Man but, like, just need people to go with, and people who have never been to Burning Man but write eye-rolling blogs about it.”

Well . . . this would be the blog, and I reeeeeaaallllyyyy want to go. Why? Knowing few facts about it, I don’t want to presume, but from what I can gather, the freedom of expression (for those raising eyebrows I am referring to the ‘art’ rather than the presumed, though possibly over-hyped, notion of naked people running round a desert) is what appeals.

From my teenage years creating contraptions that could be considered, by some: art, through to University years, where those I lived with were often coerced into staging ever more elaborate events and gatherings and now professionally – creating an impact and exploring creativity has always been my thing – I am all for people finding and expressing their creativity, however it manifests.

This freedom of expression has created some pretty interesting pieces of art in the Black Rock Desert if nothing else. A quick look at A. Leo Nash’s photography illustrates my point. Free from things like regulations, rules, authorities or any other form of compliance, great things are possible.

The trailer for Spark: A Burning Man Story, illustrates what I fear may water down all that happens on that parched piece of Nevada desert.

Faced with growing popularity and the incumbent requirements of trying to keep things in some order, the organisers face two challenges: organising a largely voluntary body of people and . . . well . . . organising. By its very nature these demand pesky things like rules and regulations – be they obvious or otherwise. My hope is that Burning Man stays at it was originally intended. My fear is that its very success may see it burn out. I hope not.

Both professionally and personally I’d like to see this film, which is seemingly more likely than actually getting to Burning Man in the short term. When and if I can find it on release in the UK (does anyone know if it’s being shown anywhere?), I’ll be straight there. With a full review to follow I am sure.