Wednesday, September 7, 2011

PICTURES FROM BURNING MAN 2011

Here are some pictures from this year's celebration. It looks rather amazing. Burning Man had 50 000 participants this year, and it was the 25.th time the festival was arranged. I'd love to go back. Some time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

NINE-9 YEARS LATER

Here's a really nice video that I found on youtube from Burning Man taken 2010, nine years after our visit. The photographer/editor is called Jordan Romney. He did a good job.

It gives a nice feeling and reminds me a lot of the time I spent there in 2001. Enjoy it! I did.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

SEVEN AGES SINCE 2001

Seven ages of man was the theme of the Burning Man festival 2001, taken from Shakespeare's text on development of mankind. We went there, my Noosphere-friend Thom and I, and saw all the seven stages as art installations in the desert. We experienced a lot of things, fell a little bit in love and had a lot of fun that you can read about in this blog underneath.

We returned to LA after the night of the burn. We woke up in his beautiful Sierra Madre village outside Los Angeles by a phone call in the morning on September 11. It sounded as if the whole world was on fire.

Everything changed within a few seconds. For some days it felt like it really was a War on America, like the headlines on the news kept repeating and repeating, 24 hours a day.

That episode turned our trip to Nevada into some kind of strange story. An out-of-the-world experience. It also changed our relationship. The whole world was changing, and a new dawn of something very different was rising before our eyes.













There are books written about 9/11. I will not comment any on that here, but it took me 12 days to get a flight ticket and to be able to return back to Europe from the chaotic madness in the US.

Now, seven years later, - and maybe seven ages later, Mother Earth faces a new world financial and political crisis, but the globe still turns.

LOOKING BACK, I AM THINKING:

I wonder what will happen to our world? I wonder what will happen to the festival Burning Man? And what will happen to our wonderful earth when the ice in the Arctic melts down, our climate changes and the world's economy is collapsing? 

I have no answers, and feel that I can do so little. Just watch and think and wonder...and write about it. I can join Earth Hour and change my eating habbits, every day to come. And a few more things, but do they really count? I wonder. 

But I will always remember our wonderful trip to Black Rock City in the Nevada desert, way back in 2001.

















It was the nicest trip of my life. And I still remember every bit of it like the dream that it was, and will always be.

The night of the burn, 2001

















Then came the night of the burn.

As I write this blog, seven years later, it still seems like a weird and strange experience.
Something 'out of this world'.

And very soon, it became even more strange.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The clean environment

Burning Man and Black Rock City are special events in all kinds of ways. Every year, tens of thousands of participants gather to create this huge Black Rock City in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, dedicated to self-expression, self-reliance, and art as the center of community.
They leave one week later, having left no trace. In the 10 Principles of Burning Man they put it like this:

Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities whenever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavour, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

We brought with us everything we needed for the stay when we came, food, vine, water, and a place to sleep. We brought all our garbage out of the desert when we left. When we stayed in Black Rock city, we carried with us small metal boxes in our pockets to use as ashtrays, as we did not want to leave the ash or filters from the sigarettes. Maybe it sounds silly. But nothing was thrown on the ground.

The playa was really looking great, there was not much paper or other left-overs seen on the ground anywhere. The toilets were clean. I have never seen a festival like this one, and I was truly amazed.

What about our world? Should we start treating the rest of the planet the same careful way?

The Passage

I'll take you back to the Café tent, to that day when I was resting alone, waiting for Thom, who was standing in a cue in order to buy us some chai. As I told you before, a Cuban businessman and his young male secretary sat down and asked for company. After the presentation where I told them that Thom and I met on the web, he asked me very frankly the one and only question he found interesting:

- How did he make the passage?
- Which passage, I asked, rather surpriced.
- The passage from the airport to the bed, said he.

Well, how do one treat men like that? I have no idea, but I found it rather amusing that he was so outspoken. I like to tease, so I asked Mr. Cuba with my biggest smile:

- Well, my friend, since you tell me you have a Swedish wife (which I truly doubted), why are you so sure we did it in bed?
- Oh, you Scandinavians are so sofisticated, he quickly replied.
- But how did he do it? Did he talk you into sex? Did he wait untill the evening came or did he throw himself onto you in the same moment you came home to his place? What was he like? And how was this important passage like? Pleasent? Funny? Elegant?

Looking at the definition of the word, I find out that passage has many different meanings:

pas·sage

a way of exit or entrance : a road, path, channel, or course by which something passes
a corridor or lobby giving access to the different rooms or parts of a building or apartment

the action or process of passing from one place, condition, or stage to another
a right, liberty, or permission to pass

something that takes place between two persons mutually

I still found the situaton rather amusing.

- Why is this passage so interesting to you, and what makes you think I will tell you anything about our relationship?
- For a man it is important to know how other men are dealing with this very important knowledge of life, he said. And he looked very honest and right forward at me, as if he was asking for a recipe of some kind.

I laughed.

- First of all, Thom is a real gentleman, I said, - unlike a lot of other men I have met.
- Yes?
- We are friends. He did not do anything at all.

At that very moment Thom came back and my Cuban friend and his young companion turned to him and said hallo. A few polite questions followed:

- Was it true that we met on the Internet? Did Thom like this festival? etc.

Thom answered in a short manner, and the two men rose up in order to leave. Mr. Cuba smiled and grabbed Thom's hand to say goodbye:

- You have found yourself a blond and beautiful companion, - but she is much to intelligent for me. Good luck!

They left and Thom sat down. We had some of the nice hot chai, richly flavoured with sugar and milk.

- He wanted to know how you managed the passage from the airport to the bed, I told him with a smile.
- And did you tell him? Thom said.
- No, I never got that far, I replied.

We both started laughing out loud.

- Would you have told him about any interesting passage if I did not turn up here right now?

Thom was smiling as he asked.

- I don't think so. I don't think I would tell that kind of story to anybody. Exept maybe one day if I write a novel about us, I said with a smile.

When we later talked about Mr. Cuba, whom we never met again, Thom said he thought they were out to offer us money in order to watch us having sex.

- What makes you think that, I asked.
- He looked like such a guy. What else would a man like him want to be here for? He obviously found you blond, sexy and attractive, but was scared by your intelligent answers and the fact that he never got any insight about that dammed passage he wanted you to tell him about...

- What makes men think about sex all the time, I asked politely.
- I don't really know, Thom said with a smile. - Maybe because it is so fuckin' good?

The Swinging Neighbourhood

Our next door-neighbours in the camping ground were a couple from Sacramento. After our arrival we had a meal at their place and some nice talking about Burning Man. They were there for the 5.th year in order to have some fun, as they said. I remember her comment as she saw the viking silver rune around my neck. - This is a real pagan festival, she said, and I had to look up the word in my dictionary.

Pagan is hedning in Norwegian, and something not very Christian, I understood. The rune I carried was the Algiz rune, and I had given Thom the Anzus rune as a gift and a protection for this journey.

Anzus is revealing message or insight, communication. Signals, inspiration, enthusiasm, speech, true vision, power of words and naming. Blessings, the taking of advice. Good health, harmony, truth, wisdom. Odin who gave name to this rune, is a mighty, but duplicitous god. He always has his own agenda.

If you want to learn more about runes, here is a link for you. And if you want a free rune reading you are welcome. I have always enjoyed things like theese, the I Ching, the Tarot cards and the runes, even if I am not a true believer.

Let's call our neighbours Bob and Anna. They were nice people in their 50'ies, and not really the kind of folks I had expected to find in a festival like this. We said goodbye after a couple of hours and went for a walk to look at the camp.

Back in our van, the same evening, Thom asked me if I had recognized the question in the air, that afternoon. I had not.
- I think they asked us if we wanted to change partners, Thom said.
- Are you kidding, I said, - I never heard that.
- They come from Sacramento, from a really swinging neighbourhood, he replied.
Swinging neighbourhood is something I vaguely remember from reading Couples of John Updike sometimes in my youth. This is what Wikipedia says about the book:

Couples is a 1968 novel by John Updike which focuses on a promiscuous circle of married friends in the fictional Boston suburb of Tarbox. Much of the novel concerns the efforts of its characters to balance the pressures of Protestant sexual mores against increasingly flexible American attitudes toward sex in the 1960s. The book suggests that this relaxation may have been driven by the development of birth control and the opportunity to enjoy what one character refers to as "the post-pill paradise."

Its publication created a mild scandal and elicited a cover story in TIME magazine.

Well, then, I was not really flattered. And my answer would in any case be no. I had not gone to Nevada with a totally stranger to change him into something even more strange. C'm on! But we had a great laugh about it.

I simply loved it. Staying in the van with an open door, looking at the camp out there, seeing all the people, beeing there with a great guy like Thom with whom I could talk about everything. And most of all:

Beeing far away from the rest of the world, my sons, my work, the silly Norwegian newpapers, everything. I loved that he had invited me to come over and I loved being there. It all felt like a hot and exciting paradise. I was looking forward to the night of the burn. I did not want to go home. I never wanted this fairytail to end. Never ever.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Mausoleum

My absolute favorite. A huge building at the end of the line. A place for remembering someone you loved and lost. Or to think about your own death, how fragile we are, how little time there is. My very beloved brother had died that same summer, and I was carrying my own sorrow because of that. One young man sat inside the Mausoleum playing classical guitar, some people cried openly and a lot of the visitors had put up small pieces of paper with names and few words about their loss. The place was covered in dust and sand, making the atmosphere almost magic. Silence everywhere, but at the same time we could hear all the noices and sounds from the camp around us.
So here was this castle in the desert, making me think of the fact that people everywhere, - at all times, have put up places in order to remember those who were here before us. A strong experience in my life. Something I will never forget.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Till human voices wake us, and we drown

We were sitting in the van that afternoon waiting for the heat to reduce. The door was open, we had a couple of chairs outside but the heat out there was too much for a Norwegian coming from the Arctic region of the world. We were waiting for sunset.

So we just relaxed in the comfortable seats in the small livingroom of our van, a livingroom that in few seconds turned into a spaceful place to sleep when needed. I had my glass of wine. Thom was reading a book. We had been eating a well prepared avocado with sourcream and scrimps, mixed with some blue cheese - and some wholegrain bread brought all the way from the huge health food store in LA.

I knew that my companion on this trip had been working as an actor in several plays, but I had never heard him read anything loud. Not untill now, when he lifted his eyes from the book and asked if I wanted him to read for me.

LET US GO then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question …
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

The begining of T. S. Elliots first big poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. This is a difficult text, some say; As it shows us only surface thought and images, it is considered difficult to interpret exactly what is going on in the poem.

So I just sat there, listening to Thom's voice.

On the surface, Prufrock relays the thoughts of a sexually frustrated middle-aged man who wants to say something but is afraid to do so, and ultimately does not. Prufrock is full of self-doubts, with a pessimistic outlook on his future, as well as the future of society and the world.

By these words, Thom was coming out of the Noosphere, and became a person of flesh and blood. Maybe he was seeing himself as a picture of this middle-aged man, and Prufrock's many frustrations? He had gone through a heavy heartbreaking affair before we meet and had assured me from the beginning that this was not a romantic trip. I think that this Burning Man-journey was the opposite of some new romantic wave. It was a way of breaking out of the middle-aged frustration over not having done what he really wanted to in his life.

I was not his new love, I was a hard-headed Scandinavian woman who had been out on a winter night - as we say it back home - many times before. I was an easy travelling companion, he knew I would not freak out over the Burning Man-experience. He knew I would leave and hike back to LA if times got tough, and he knew we shared some real-life-experiences on broken hearts and broken illusions.

And me?

I was breaking out of my every-day-life as well, crossing the Big Ocean in order to experience something completely different. I admit that my expectations of a love affair were bigger than his. To say something else would be a lie, and I seldom lie. So he knew, and made the best out of it.

But all these things taken into consideration, I still think that Thom - my former Noosphere friend - will always remember this afternoon in the van in the middle of the Nevada desert.

Someone who wants more on T.S. Elliot and Prufrock may find it here. To me, there are parts of this poem that will always connect me to the Burning Noosphere experience, although the title of the poem is misleading since it is neither a love poem nor a song in the classical sense.
But the end of it is lovely:

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled (- which was very modern at that time -)
Shall I part my hair behind? ( - which was a Bohemian fashion, and a brave thing to do - )
Do I dare to eat a peach?

I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me (- oh, no?)

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves.
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back.
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea.
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown.
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

The Chapel

None of us cared particularely about the cradle or the children's playground. We had both passed these periods of our lives long ago. But The Chapel, representing love and relationship was attractive. And it was such a beautiful building, both day and night. We went there, and became part of a small, short ceremony where Noosphere and IceQueen (our nicknames or avatars) were tied together in a Burning Man promise about to have and to hold - etc. Rather cute, but not meant for an everlasting anything - if you ask me about it from a more distant point of view.