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Freedom Lab Television spent 10 days in Black Rock City, Nevada, covering the Burning Man Festival, a ritualistic annual gathering of 60,000 revelers and anarchists who celebrate the beauty of radical Self-Expression, Freedom, Music and Art.
Freedom Lab was at The Burn. Through daily dust storms on the Playa – the playground where art is built and burnt, music is made and played and no-one really sleeps for too long. Behind and around the seat of our loved-up LED Art Car made from slashed tyres and scrap-metal iron………high as a kite, sober as a racehorse, fire-breathing to the extreme. The Playa always beckons and seduces us to forget what we are really there for. Lose track of time, why not.
Don’t make any plans. They won’t be kept. Our video camera lenses were loved, caressed and wind-battered with this super-fine dust that covers and sweeps the Playa and stays on your skin, wreaks havoc in your hair and burns your costumes, forever. It infiltrates like a silent lover who won’t go away – nooks, crannies, every surface it can find – and fucks with your camera equipment. It follows you back home in your suitcase and under your nails. You can never really get rid of it. That’s the beauty of love and Playa dust. It’s like blood in your veins.
Black Rock City, The third biggest city in Nevada, if only for a week each year. The second biggest LED light show in the world, after Hong Kong’s harbour. It’s what we call home.
But the reality is, some people are just out of control in this harsh but loving environment. Learn how to control your vices before coming. Leave your ego at the gate. Practice the art of gifting when you can. Give more than you take. And don’t disturb our inner peace or ‘fuck with someone else’s Burn.’ You have no control over the situation or anyone else, so embrace it. Thank You very much.
Some walked across the desert in bare feet. They could crack. But, you were warned. The Playa is a dried-up lake, a spiritual place for Native Americans and a former nuclear testing ground. Like drinking alcohol and forgetting to drink water AKA gold, there are some things you just shouldn’t do. Rocking up, only on the weekend when the man burns, is another. Pay respect to the Playa. Live with her hostility. Try to arrive earlier and leave later than others. One cannot do a spiritual journey in 2 days. If that’s all you can give, you are not ready.
This year, The Burn was big. They said 60,000. It felt more like a village. Same faces, everywhere. Even if you started off your journey in Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Germany, England, New York, L.A, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, Washington or Reno….we all ended up here. In ‘tiny’ Open Circle, on clockface-coordinates between 2pm and 10pm where the city is built – and everything in-between and farther than the eye could see out into the Deeeeeeeeeeep Playa, surrounded by a fence that didn’t really keep us from the ‘Big Beyond.’
And there, just when we were about to give up walking far away from the bright lights and the mostly head-pounding, migraine-causing music behind us, we stumbled across the lone box-cinema showing our childhood black and white movies. Here, sitting patiently, waiting for you to find her……. in the black of the night with her one, forlorn neon sign. Soooo quiet. She beckoned us to enter, if only to take a break from reality – from the flashing LED and pounding music mayhem outside – or to fall asleep in her comforting arms….. being fed candy and anything else, from anyone who felt like giving some.
It wasn’t like we made any plans to hang out with anyone. Something deeply serendipitous told us, that we would bump into those most important beings in this Pilgrimage of Life. And true to form, there they were. Your friends in need, your friends indeed. No surprises. All the way from across the world, you were just going to bump into whoever was meant to bump into you. Like only those lucky souls who were ever meant to make it to the surface of the moon and potentially live there, sharing those little moments together before saying goodbye again. You knew it was your calling.
Our friends from Hong Kong and New York who made it out this year…. what a big group it was. We shared our time, love, laughter and creativity between Robot Heart music and the DisOrient camp, DJ’s Damian Lazarus and Lee Burridge, only g.o.d.’s themselves, if anyone in music should deserve such a title. And, as we all watched the sunset and rise to celebrate a new day dawn, we didn’t want this all to end. This – the way the world should be. For only 7 days a year. Or 12 to 14 days – if you were one of the lucky ones to help set up and dismantle the fictional city. This homage which shows, that we may build art, cars, homes, tents, music, buildings and monuments. But when it all burns in the end, we are left with nothing. Nothing is meant to last forever. Treasure LOVE and LIFE, while it lasts.
Tango ( into the next year ) Xxx
Ps Check out the sunrise video on the Robot Heart bus below…….
Freedom Lab at Burning Man, on the Robot Heart bus – as DJ Lee Burridge plays ‘Time’ by the Pachanga Boys. Both DJs Damian Lazarus from Weds night to Thurs morn and Lee Burridge from Fri night to Sat morn chose this track to bring in the new day dawn…….