Friday, 30 September 2011

Burn2 2011 - The Rite of Passage

News Hound
A friend suggested I apply for a 'Press Pass' for an advanced preview of this year's 'Burn2' festival, which I duly did. 

(click images to enlarge)
The Playa
Burn2 is the virtual world's representation of the real world's 'Burning Man' festival.

Participants and attendees alike are encouraged to express themselves fully, freely and creatively but within the relatively liberal parameters known as 'The Ten Principles'.
The Man towers above the Playa
It is easy to see how such values and principles fit comfortably and naturally within the culture of Second Life.

Burning Man and the virtual equivalent have a history that goes back almost to the very beginning of Second Life itself, reputedly being initiated by Philip Linden.
The Man 2011
For reasons best known only to themselves, Linden Lab dropped "Burning Life", as it was then called, after the 2009 festival and wiped their hands clean of it.

Fortunately for us, however, a number of enthusiastic Second Life users recognised in Burning Life what the Game Gods had near-catastrophically proven themselves incapable of perceiving, and rescued the festival from virtual oblivion. 

Since 2010, the festival has been solely sponsored, run and paid for by Second Life residents, albeit re-branded as "Burn2".
The Man 2011 by Debbie Trilling et al
This year the festival comprises four region's worth of exhibits, performance stages, interactive games, creativity and joyfulness - collectively known as 'the Playa'.

There is definitely a feeling of chaos and clutter as you explore the Playa - it is the creativity of the wild frontiers; it feels, in fact, like suburbia unleashed!

This year's suggestive theme is "The Rite of Passage" and, although it is not compulsory for the participants to adopt this suggestion, many have. But many others have not. In still other cases, I really could not say if they have or have not adopted it!

Of the four jam-packed regions, two exhibits in particular rank of highest importance to the ethos of Burn2  - 'The Man' and 'The Temple'. The climax of the festival is the burning down of these two structures.

I'll discuss The Temple a little later in this blog but first I wanted to declare a personal interest with regards The Man - my home in Second Life is owned by one of its key creators, Debbie Trilling - and I have watched its creation on a day-by-day basis there.

In fact, one of my films from earlier this year, Showdown, uses the 2010 version on The Man in its climatic scenes:

The 2011 version of The Man has been created by Debbie Trilling, Aleeta Zelin, Elfod Nemeth, Gypsy Paz and Lorin Tone.

It is a Labour of Love.

Debbie has recorded machinima of previous Man burns from 2009 and 2010 which you can see here and here. They are dramatic and exciting!

She assures me that a machinima of the 2011 performance of The Man will be released on the weekend of 8/9th October.
The Temple by Damanios Thetan
The second of the two emotionally significant builds is 'The Temple'. This year it has been created by the highly respected Damanios Thetan - a resident of and content creator in Second Life for more than seven and a half years!

His Temple build is wonderful; you really must go see it as you explore the Playa. Honour McMillan has written an extremely interesting blog about Damanio's 2011 Temple and I can do no better than refer you to that.

As an aside, we used Damanios' particle Weather System in Showdown (embedded above) to create the dramatic rain and thunder storms.
'The Rites of Passage' by Puterdoc Devin
As mentioned, this year's theme is 'The Rite of Passage'. I particularly enjoyed how Puterdoc Devin interpreted this - full-on and almost literally.

Other Creators tackled the theme more obscurely - with varying degrees of success, it has to be said - while still other Creators ignored the theme entirely (or so it seemed to me!)

All these approaches are equally valid on the Playa.
Look, Mum! I'm on telly!
Burn2 encourages all levels of ability to participate and create and I suspect that this is one of its greatest strengths.

Newer lesser-known Creators build side-by-side with well-known Second Life "names".

And, you know what? It works. It works well.

Sure, you feel compelled to wander over and admire Claudia222 Jewell's latest masterpiece...
Claudia222 Jewell
... and the amazing geometrical and mathematical precision of  Wizard Gynoid's work...
Wizard Gynoid instinctively know that Cienega Soon will never, ever disappoint...
Cienega Soon
...and of course Trill Zapatero's imaginative, decorative, functional and wonderful "home from home" should definitely not be missed.... 
Trill Zapatero
...but to do this exclusively would be to miss many other fascinating and brilliant pieces of work and, above all in my opinion, miss the whole point of Burn2 itself.
Tea Pot Vehicle
By wandering freely around the Playa will you discover work like this incredibly cool installation by Starlash Sweetwater...
Starlash Sweetwat
.. or this fun, creative and colourful piece by the very approachable and lovely Kikiri Tuqiri...
Kikiri Tuqiri
...this intricate working mechanical appliance by Qwark Allen...
Qwark Allen
..and these delightful humanoid sculptures by Typote Beck...
Typote Beck
And to miss any of these, and scores of others besides, really would be a shame.

You need to allow yourself plenty of time to properly explore the Playa.
Banging the TV Repair Man
There were two particular artists that I thought were breathtakingly good...and I will do a full blog of their work in the next few weeks. But in the meantime, I would love to refer you to the work of Sohma G. Dawling and Haveit Neox.
Sohma G. Dawling
Haveit Neox
Now, if I had to isolate just one exhibit for you to go see...just one, then, without doubt it would have to be Mikati Slade's simply stunning 'Popscape':
Mikati Slade's 'Popscape'
It is a gigantic, no-apologies, no-compromise celebration of Japanese popular culture.
I love it.
In lots of ways it is in stark contrast to most of the other work on the Playa but this only serves to enhance just how spectacular it actually is.
Pixie & Mikati at Popscape
Its garish and brash exuberance is astonishingly beautiful, as is its Creator:
Mikati Slade
Burning Life was once nurtured upon Philip Linden's loving and tender teat.

M Linden was responsible for teaching it some of Life's harsher, more anal-corporate lessons. He initiated the process where the festival broke away from its overbearing parents to stand on its own two feet.

Burn2, now run by the residents for the residents, can be seen as the festival entering its teenage...It can be brassy and tasteless one moment, sensitive and perceptive the next; it is always loud and often self-conscious. It is experimental and wild, unruly and uncouth. It doesn't wash behind its ears.

But it is loveable. It is adored and even admired. It is happily, joyfully rebellious.

But above all these things, you dearly want it to succeed; you sincerely want it to live long and prosper.

Has Burn2 full matured yet? Has it entered adulthood? No, probably not. Not quite yet.

But it will. 

Because, you see, the story of Burn2 is itself a Rite of Passage! And the story is still unfolding....


Man Burn 1:  Europe Burn
Gather:   SLT, Sat, Oct 8, 11:00am 
Burn:       SLT, Sat, Oct 8, 11:30am 

Man Burn 2:  USA Burn
Gather:   SLT, Sat, Oct 8, 7:00pm 
Burn:       SLT, Sat, Oct 8, 7:30pm 

Man Burn 3:  Aust/Asia Burn
Gather:   SLT, Sun, Oct 9, 3:00am
Burn:       SLT, Sun, Oct 9, 3:30am 


Temple Burn 1:  Europe Burn
Gather:   SLT, Sun, Oct 9, 11:00am 
Burn:       SLT, Sun, Oct 9, 11:30am 

Temple Burn 2:  USA Burn
Gather:   SLT, Sun, Oct 9, 7:00pm 
Burn:       SLT, Sun, Oct 9, 7:30pm 

Temple Burn 3:  Aust/Asia Burn
Gather:   SLT, Mon, Oct 10, 3:00am 
Burn:       SLT, Mon, Oct 10, 3:30am 

1 comment:

  1. hey, sohma here. you have made me so happy! so so happy! i'm excited you liked our build as much as you did.

    just want to remind everybody, i didn't do that peice all by my lonesome, but with the ever lovely and amazing Eisie Etchegaray. sadly she is out of touch due to family business, but checks in periodically.

    hope people go to burn2, the creators do it for the love of creating, we get nothing else out of it.