There is a place like mars, where people from this earth and our humanity unite, annually. In an uninhibited celebration of life itself, we unite on an alien landscape, filled with endless stimulation and hunkering wild beasts in the form of giant moving motorized art installations and vehicles; lasers light the night sky in spectacular rays of bright greens, reds and blues, as deep electronic music pulses all around, people scream, cry, rejoice, imbibe, bestow, soar, climb, reach up, out, in and beyond, challenging ourselves, challenging each other, on the desert floor of an ancient lakebed, somewhere on one of our universe’s planets.
When the sun lights the way, sending perfect, heavenly warm-coloured redorangeburntumberedyellow rays of its love from over the horizon in one perfect corner of the vista, an endless playground, dotted with sculpture, installation, interpretation, beacons, shrines, deities and maniacs is before the eye. There are beautiful tents and beautiful camps, ugly tents and ugly camps; there are domes, tee pees, Mongolian Gers, neo-igloos, luxurious shaded desert beds and camping vans galore. If we end up in the right place, we’ll even find a 6 star hotel, complete with serviced rooms, valet bike parking, well-crafted drinks and taxidermy on the concierge. People frollick gailey everywhere. At ease, at peace, full of bliss, crazy with inspiration and creativity and liberation. Truly free spirits once more.
Participants in this experience are joined in community, sharing food, clothes, music, water, alcohol, lsd, pot, beer, whisky, wine and experiences, hugs, an ear or some sunglasses, feeding from energies, letting their own energy go, finding another anew. Camps are erected from nothing, amidst a fine desert dust, white, insidious and completely all-encompassing. A city rises from a literal and stunning nothing, to become a sprawling, logistically -perfected mass of ecstacy, togetherness and shared delight.
It operates like any city you’ve known, though better. Waste disposal is the responsibility of the citizens. The sewage and gray-waste system that exists, emptied and cleaned daily, managed by an enormous DPW, many of whom are working for free, and for love. The spirit of gifting overwhelms all comers, all participants, as we all strive to give enough, and all of what we can, accepted graciously, given freely – without expectations of reward or reciprocation, and with contentment that what’s going around is coming around, in this albeit temporary cycle of life. Creatively created. This artistic microcosmic, cosmic, annual experiment.
There is a logical infrastructure, free of any normal, diluted, nonsensical, marginalizing paradigms, which is as logical and as sensible as the transport and road infrastructure, emerged in just a faint blip of the time that it has taken to build – and in vast contrast to – the imperfect infrastructures, structures and societies that reign supreme today, in our world. Still.
Feelings of exploitation or being exploited abate. Hate is left at home, banned, or eradicated. There is love and community and happiness filling the air. Its taste and feeling and its smell are almost tangible, in the heady mix of excitement, joy, oneness, openess, creativity and liberation that floats around with the desert dust. There is no fear, and no-one ought have any fear of judgement. Self-expression and participation is the key.
There are no rules: other than those rules that revolve around respecting one and other, respecting our mother nature and engaging in your community. The ‘ten principles’ reign supreme. Interpretations from willing participants are welcome. It is up to those involved, the powers that be and the currents, energies and playa-wind that carries our hope, energies, musings and runnings around, as to where this experience will take us all, how, when and why.
There is no money. There is hardly any need. Money can be used, but the currency most prominent is the currency of one: we are all in this together. People swap, offer their skills or time or energy, rationale, experience, stories or stimulation. Everyone arrives knowing that we are part of a community. While we must each rely on ourselves in this arid, alien landscape of extremes, there is a strand that connects all on ‘the playa’.
Its not just the glorious release in the culmination of the event. Its not only the place of worship built for the people of this temporary city – that shoots, sprouts, flowers, blooms and dies tracelessly, in not much more than the space of one month, on a desert-moon, a place where none should have thought life would really be best: it is humanity that connects us all. We are all in this together. Still ..
This is not a movie set – some interactive, insane, abandoned, movie set on our planet earth – but it did exist here, recently, although you wont find a trace. Fact is, if we put our minds and our priorities to it, and devote some of our time and money, and spend some of our existence seeing and believing and acknowledging the thread that connects us all, as humanity, and see what a fearless community with a common goal is capable of, this is what can be achieved.
This is not utopia, or heaven, it is life, how we choose to live it, forced outside of here, to live how the others want us to. This is what we achieved, revelled in, enjoyed. This is what we were all inspired by. It is our art, and it reverberates in us all, and then beyond…
in the coming weeks, i will be building a new website that will further delve into this idea, philosophy, ethos, attitude, mindset and experience, through words, pictures, video and other available mediums and languages. stay tuned