I’ve just arrived from the “Burning Man”, an amazing event held in the Black Rock Desert (Nevada, United States), in the middle of nowhere, where 50.000 people get together for a week, with no electricity, no cell service, no water or food supplies, with daytime temperatures that reach 100 degrees (F) and 45º (F) at night. Everyone provides their own supplies and shares them with others.
Within days, “Black Rock” becomes the third largest city in the state of Nevada. It’s perfectly planned: with avenues, boulevards and public monuments around a central plaza. The principles of coexistence are respected by all and are raised by an excellent organization with more than 2,000 volunteers.
The objective of the organizers is to show that it’s possible to build a society based on participation, civic responsibility, respect, tolerance, self-expression, gifting and one that is 100% free of prejudice.
The only traffic allowed are bicycles and “mutant vehicles”, original mobile sculptures built for the occasion that delight the audience: 40 meters long moving pirate ship converted into a disco, Tiki bars that serve free Rum while carrying their “clients.”
The result is spectacular: People planning a week with a year in advance, wanting to spend the best week of the year, with little sleep and a lot of partying and, most importantly, with the intention of being very faithful to the spirit of the event.
The priorities are the individual and its diversity. Everybody is welcome, regardless of age, creed or sexual orientation. Coexistence happens in hundreds of different camps where you can find almost everything: a three-floor Irish bar that offers cold beer, free massage in exchange for a smile, artists who paint naked bodies, camps that teach how to dance tango, recognized DJ’s or artists who perform daily shows or camps that promote the practice of free sex.
You become the greatest gift for the community.
Once you are a participant in this event, you truly grasp its significance. The key is to act generously, without expecting anything in return. You become the greatest gift for the community.
At the end of the week the city dissolves without a trace, as if nothing had occurred, as if no one had walked there. Participants return to their daily life having lived an unforgettable week, with the intention of maintaining the spirit for the rest of the year and with the conviction that they’ll return in the next edition.
Will you go to Burning Man 2011?
If so, please let me know. This will be my second year, so I am not an expert. Every tip is very welcome: which camp do you recommend? A special picture I should take? Something I should do? Or if you want me to take a picture of you, just let me know!!
Update: This article has had a great coverage. I would like to thank the Burning Man staff for the multiple recommendations and links to this article. The latest, in september’s newsletter
People also ask me about the photographic equipment I used at the Burning Man. I purchased most of the bags, cleaning kits and other accesories in this website with great gifts for photographers called Regalador.com.
Click on images to enlarge
Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés
Click here to see more pictures taken by me at the “Burning Man”
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