Mad Cow von Christian Cricri Marmorstein beim Uferhaus

Mad Cow – oder Carnotaurus – ist ein tonnenschwerer Stahl-Bulle, der durch Feuer zum Leben erwacht. Eine Skulptur, geschweißt in über 1500 Stunden Arbeit in den letzten 3 Jahren von Christian “Cricri” Marmorstein aus Weidling. Stark und Intelligent: der Bulle funktioniert als Feuerkorb, in mehreren Schichten Stahlblech gearbeitet, durch Luftströme und Wasser gekühlt, um während des Abbrands stabil zu bleiben. Unterstützung erhielt Cricri beim Transport, bei der Materialbeschaffung und der Installation des Bullen beim Uferhaus in Klosterneuburg. Die Namen einiger Mitstreiter sind auf dem Werk verewigt. Am 13.10.2019 erwachte der Bulle zum Leben. Ich und ein paar andere Burning Man Community Mitglieder aus Österreich waren dabei.

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A change of wristbands – from “Nowhere 2014” to “I,Robot 2018”

As I am changing a wristband on my right hand, I also reflect about the bigger picture about me an participatory culture. As I am writing these lines, I am still wearing the wristband of the participatory temporary city “Nowhere 2014” on my right hand. As I have been for the last 1632 days since July 5th 2014. I am moving to an “I, Robot 2018” wristband by Severin Taranko. Both remind me that I am part of a global participatory culture where such small things represent and reflect the meaning of everything.

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Artworks want to be touched at Burning Man

“I quickly realized it’s the people that bring life to the artwork at Burning Man. Unlike those found in a museum or gallery, the creative achievements of the playa were conceived and constructed with the intent of human interaction. They were created specifically for climbing, touching, marking, wearing, giving and receiving, and in many cases, eventual destruction. They exist as sites of photo shoots, weddings, dance parties, transportation, wayfinding, sexual encounters, sleeping, bathing, mourning, and more. So rather than being protected from the masses, the artworks relied on them to achieve full actualization. And this was a curatorial revelation.”

Leobard’s idea how to connect Borderland Platforms

This is a set of 4-videos of Leobard (Leo Sauermann, me), talking about how we could use RDF/LinkedData/ to connect the various platforms of TheBorderland/Dreams/Realities/Burnertickets. I used video as a medium to convey the ideas, as I think it was the quickest way for me to transport it. Writing this up would have taken longer and as my Burning Man community contributions are done in my pastime, I try to make it fun for me to do this.

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A pastor on the playa? (or “Why I Go To Burning Man”)

Randy Bohlender wrote a text in 2003 about why he goes to Burning Man. At the time, he was Pastor at a Vineyard Church in Cincinnaty. People following Jesus and Burners mix well together, in my experience. I joined the Vineyard Church in Austria and started following Jesus in 2001. I went to Burning Man 2006 and 2010. I am co-organizing Burns since then. Like Randy, I believe that a person with a christian faith can contribute something positive at a Burn. I believe that Jesus’ teachings are relevant today. When I read his text A pastor on the playa? (or “Why I Go To Burning Man”), I found he nailed it: his reasons are right, his argumentation is right. In his shoes, I would do the same.

I copy his article on my personal blog here to replicate the ideas to my readers, and to “have a backup copy”, should the original go away.  The following is a 1:1 copy from the text published by Randy on 26.8.2003 here: Continue reading “A pastor on the playa? (or “Why I Go To Burning Man”)”

Dr. Megavolt wrote about his journey from physics PhD to pissing on the ground stake of a tesla coil at Burningman

Dr. Megavolt – a guy with a metal birdcage over his head getting zapped by a 1.000.000 Volt Tesla Coil on top of a truck at Burning Man. Also known as Dr. Austin Richards. His homepage: He wrote a compelling story about how he became Dr. Megavolt, who co-created the act with him, trouble and joy they had, eventual break ups and hick-ups, and the ongoing joy he gets out of it.

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Erntefestival 2011

If you haven’t heard it yet on other places: there is going to be a festival to celebrate art, music, do-it-yourself culture, and camp together for three days.

Fr 26- So 28.8.2011
Lindabrunn, 42km south of Vienna
Bring food and drinks
Bring Music, Art, Projects, creatively design the space there.

The place is awesome:

German Description:
“Das Erntefestival 2011 ist die Gelegenheit um gemeinsam kreativ zu feiern. Ob Top oder Flop, egal welche Ernte du im letzten Jahr Eingefahren hast, sei dankbar und feiere es. Das Erntefestival zelebriert Creative-Industries, MusikerInnen, WissensarbeiterInnen, Entrepreneure und Enterpreunessen, HackerInnen, Inventoren und FreundInnen. Ohne festes Programm, ohne feste Tagespläne kann sich jede(r) so freuen wie sie/er das für richtig hält. Gib dein Bestes. Das Erntefestival versteht sich als Plattform um vergangene Projekte vorzustellen und neue Projekte zu entwickeln.”

Disclaimer: I am co-organizing it. I do it because I love the idea of sharing and collaborating, and because I can’t afford to fly over to Burning Man every year.

Going Nowhere 2008 – I did it

From 9th – 13th July 2008 I attended the Nowhere festival in Spain. Its a participatory event, non-commercial, in the spirit of the burning man festival. In this post I want to pass on my experiences and also why I did it.

So, why would someone go into a deserted place where there is no water, electricity, housing? An event where you have no artists, you can’t buy beer nor food, nor do they offer anything?
I danced on the party of the “Burrow” camp, rocked on the party of the “Aröckalypse” camp, and chilled in our own camp, “The Village”. My friend Rinne rode on the Mechanic Bull from the “No Chance Saloon” and Robert sang in Arockalypse’s Karaoke evening. And I myself organized a “Tapesculpture” workshop where other people could learn the art of tapesculpting and create their own sculptures, lightning them up with LEDs. So, in a placed that offered nothing, people made a lot happen.

I knew that going to the nowhere festival will be an excellent experience, because I was at Burning Man in 2006, and the events are similar. Back then, I wasn’t dedicated enough to blog much, but now I take more time to write about my motivation and experience.

Chronologically, it was something like this: On the first day (we came Tuesday the 8th), I first met Nikolaas and Isolde, which organized “The Village”. Nikolaas, day 1Isolde
It was great to see their faces for the first time. We started mailing to each other via the nowhere mailinglist in mid-April about possibly joining their theme camp, kept exchanging many mails, and finally met.

tapesculptureWednesday, we organized the first tapesculpture workshop. I mixed up the time, so I stumbled into Esteban’s Yoga class and thought we have tapesculpture workshop, when you stumble into his yoga class he greets you like this: E..

In the evening, I cooked nice spaghetti (and fucked up by using all of Nikolaas’ propane, sooorry again/i>) and then we strolled around from camp to camp. tapesculpting SineadThursday again a tapesculpture workshop. This time we asked everyone to work on the same project, creating human sculptures. This was a bit better than working separated, when doing bigger things together you communicate more and get impressive results. Thanks to Sinead, she was not only a great tape-sculpture but also a great person to meet.

At this moment, everyone was rumoring about the river, a magical place where you can go swimming. For us it seemed that everyone was there but us. Cedric was already there in the early morning on sunrise. Besides mysterious rumors on the mailinglist about parasitic death insects that will breed under your skin (and healthy scepticism against magical candy mountain), it was irresistible. Swimming is something you can’t do at Burningman nor at normal rock festivals, so Robert, Ingrid and I walked to the river. Refreshing, it was worth the 30 minutes hike.
Thursday evening was open stage at Aröckalypse, Robert sang: Robert on Karaoke
Later again a great party at Burrows/TheLemmings _MG_0159

On Friday, I strolled around with Robert during the day, to the Saloon and other places. In the evening was “Miss Nowhere” Beauty Pageant, and we also moved the tape sculptures to the swiss art installation, thanks to Juus and Rinne for helping! Wunderturm Friday night was also the first night where the “No Chance Saloon” was serving whisky, excellent. Robert and I kept walking around together, the best moment was when we ended up on the upper floor of the Middle Of Nowhere and sung “Bohemian Rapsody” with assorted family&friends there. It was so great and in-tune, that even Ingrid (400meters away asleep in the tent) was awoken by the sound and recognized our voices 🙂 This was my personal “best experience”

_MG_0709 Saturday the winds and rain went stronger, it was already showing bad black clouds and impressive lightning on friday, on Saturday the rain really hit the camp. Of course, since woodstock hippies are magically attracted to mud and had a great time.
(we were playing poker in a nice Sibley tent, I was losing).

Saturday evening was the final pow-wow. A complicated “which camp is best” pageant in the middle of nowhere, a great fire show nearby, and long parties at Pandemonium Circus and the Saloon. Our beloved geodesic domes at the Burrows were partly gone already (“the bar! the beautiful bar!” – it was devastated by the wind), but party happened all over the festival. On Saturday we also had to bring a camp mate to Zaragoza, he was too tired and strung out to take it anymore 🙂 The night ended with Sunrise, I told as many people as I could to meet at sunrise in the middle of nowhere. Myself, I was clever enough to catch some sleep from 3am to 6am in a Sibley tent next to melfare tent, someone (thanks!) provided a blanket, bed, and good-night wishes. When I got up, it was so fecking cold that I had to plunder the costume camp taking everything I could possibly wear for some additional insulation, it was freezing so hard that people saw eskimos. I met other freaks in Costume camp with similar intentions (“dude, I already tried the pink skirt, it just doesn’t fit males, try this instead…”). For sunrise, about 15 people gathered in the middle, great sunrise, great people. Juus was one of them 😉 – greetings man, it was great to meet you.

Well, on Sunday we woke up booze-headed and hiked up the hill to take pictures and enjoy the view, eating Ananas from the can. We saw some horsies (horses! horses!) arrive at camp, but couldn’t touch them as we were on mountaintop – alas, you can’t have everything. During the day, we were cleaning up and talking with everyone we met, I gathered addresses and tried to finish off the beer stash (of course, an impossible task). Sunday night was pimped by Arockalypse (they had casualities, their church tower turned Pisa-nesque), they held sports games. Mud wrestling, tied-together-legs-race, etc. Arockalypse Multi-Legged Race Great fun, moderated by Michael and John (was this their names?). Arockalypse Sunday Evening Show Everyone was tired and exhausted at that point, so the sunset gently moved the community to bed early. Despite being the last, weird things happened on this day. Although the party was over, Hannah and some other artists set up a glass cube of river water to measure the body volume of people (at least I heard that this reason was shoved in the front row to explain diving in a glass cube!?). To the passerby it looked like this: Hannah and Danger with Watertank

Participatory – do instead of must

The reason why I like nowhere so much is because it’s a participatory event – everyone attending is also organizing and contributing. You will never meet a stressed-out lady selling beer – “thats 10 EURO for two beer, no we don’t take VISA” – nor do the performing artist have to perform “excellent because the audience paid for it”. In the contrary, you give away beer if you want, and you get beer if someone gives it away. The person you give your beer to is happy, and the next day you meet again, but then he or she may be the performer and you are the audience. No “VIP” area, no VIPs. If you perform something you do it because you want to, and maybe because you prepared for that moment for some months and look forward to it. Great people with a great attitude.

What makes it good

The event also works because there is a dedicated crew investing their time into it. Beyond the normal attendees, there are people that help organizing the event (Nowhere Organization), building up the core structures (the “Werkhaüs” crew), and a lot of volunteers that keep the wheels spinning. I would like to say thanks to people in NOrg, Werkhaüs, and the many volunteers for community jobs. To my knowledge, nobody makes money with this event, nor can anyone “make a living” out of it, which deserves much respect.

Second to the people, there are a few principles and social rules that make the event work. Participate. Express yourself. Be self-reliable: bring everything you need, bring everything you expect or communicate with others about it, don’t expect that others care for you. And everything you bring, take it with you – “Leave No Trace”. No commerce. This is the best part. You can’t sell or buy anything on the event. You give and receive, a culture of gifting keeps needful things circulating.

I like the principles, they are easy to follow and make the event safe and stress-less for everyone. Also, they render us all equal and make us able to communicate and connect to each other on the same level “whats your name, where are you from, which camp are you with, whats your project?”. There are more tips and tricks regarding nudity, children, etc… but I think the core rule is participation and self-expression, this helps me a lot to connect to other people.

Somehow … Like Christianity

Somehow, the idea is similar to christianity and the christian community. You have some rules and social principles which you share. Gifting is also a christian value, as is participation. In the churches I attend, the spirit is that everyone is a minister, everyone is a saint. From the first day on, you share the responsibility. I can connect to this when I see it on Burningman or Nowhere.

In my view, nowhere is not about changing the whole world, not everyone wants to stick to the principles nor has an inclination to socialize and share. Also, I can’t life like this the whole year nor do I propose to live a burningman life at all times. I take it as “work hard – party hard”. During the year, work hard and earn something that you can then spend within a friendly atmosphere.

So, after writing all this, and you reading up to here, some last words: greetings to all nowhere participants, I love you all! I will meet you again nowhere, sometime.