Feature Article: Burn2 – Burning Man in SL

If you’ve never been to Burning Man in RL, and you don’t see yourself traveling to the playa in Nevada any time soon, you can find the next best thing in SL!

It’s called Burn2.

This time around, Patrick and I were very fortunate to be invited by Lee Olsen to share his plot to exhibit and display Patrick’s surrealist art. Without much of a plan, we began to build a monstrous maze that evolved from some research about the principles of Burning Man, and some suggestions from friends. In the end, truly almost like magic, we ended up with an amazing build that embodied the theme of this year’s Burn2 which was “Metamorphoses.”

I have to say that during our experience displaying art at Burn2, surrounded by people who truly take the meaning and message of Burning Man into their hearts, both Patrick and I felt a connection to everyone there and a common purpose: to share, to give and to be our true selves as wildly as we wanted to be while maintaining respect for others.

In fact, there are 10 principles that are followed precisely. A few of them are “radical self-expression,” “radical inclusion” and “radical self-reliance.” By the use of the word “radical” they mean not just a little bit. They mean include EVERYONE. No matter the differences that sometimes keep people apart. Another principle is “Immediacy” which I understand as living in the absolute NOW – not over-thinking what people may say in response to our art, not limiting ourselves to standards for fear of being considered brazen. This is truly an event where people are encouraged – and even expected – to be as weird as you want to be! It is the manifestation of the words the poet, Rumi, when he wrote “Don’t you know Yet? It is your light that lights the World.” It’s not just my light or your light. It is the communal light we produce that lights the world. The light that so many of us are hesitant to uncover. When immediacy is added to the mix, there is no time to be anything but happy, and free – in a radical way.

There are long-time burners there that keep the noobs from breaking the rules like ‘Decommodification” which is a great big SAT word that means no commercialization, no selling things – taking the monetization and consumption right out of the picture. Alternatively, gift-giving is encouraged. A gift is a gift. There is no commerce exchange. A gift is given and hopefully accepted with the intended effect of creating more happiness.

Lastly, there is a burning down of the art installments. Patrick was not at all a fan. It was a fun period of time where people enjoyed the gifts we had to give, and we actively enjoyed the gifts of others. And to destroy it seemed like the destruction of all that effort to him. But one of the principles is “leave no trace.” Our fun was had, but when it was time to move on, we had our memories and peace in the knowledge that next year, we will build something just as fun again. However, we DO have pictures to remember it all by, kindly taken by Radioactive Rosca. Here is a link to his album. BURN ON!

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