There's a hush in the air...

There's a hush in the air...

Summary: People in San Francisco and Silicon Valley are getting ready for Burning Man - the annual harvest festival -- a celebration of abundance and innovation.

SHARE:
8

There's been a perceptible hush in the air around San Francisco as people get busy finalizing their Burning Man preparations. You can see cars and vans being packed, bikes being strapped and roof racks piled high.

Burning Man is very much a San Francisco/Silicon Valley festival. It's a type of Dionysian harvest festival where people bring together tremendous creativity and industry and where there's no commercial payoff at all. There's no commerce and there's no advertising and no sponsorships.

Out of a dusty ancient lake bed where nothing can grow, a city of 50,000 people rises, with buildings and structures several stories tall.

A week later it all goes away, back to the bitter alkali dust that is everyone's souvenir of Burning Man because you keep finding it in every nook and cranny.

Burning Man always seems so unique and so fragile, it always seems that it might fall apart, but it hasn't yet.

A core culture...

Burning Man has been around long enough, since 1986, that it is now core to the experience of the culture of the Bay Area. That's why you should plan to go one day.

But a trip to Burning Man is not about throwing a weekend bag into the back of the car. You have to pack everything in and out. There is only ice and coffee that you can buy in the centre camp. You have to bring everything and take everything back out with you.

Also, the environment is hostile. This is where they should test the mars rover because the extremes of temperature, rain, sand storms, freezing wind -- are harsh. This is not a pleasant experience and it's not for the weekend spa goer. Which is why Burning Man attracts a particular type of person.

Playa art...

The best part of Burning Man is the art in the playa -- a truly vast canvas where people create incredible art. Some of it is giant sculptures such as the one above, "Bliss" a 40 foot tall sculpture of a dancing woman built by artist Marco Cochrane, you can see it on Treasure Island.

It's a good example of the huge ambitions of the artists that come together at Burning Man.

It teaches...

The event is important because it teaches a lot of things: town planning, survival in extreme environments, cooperation with others, how to work in teams, how to be productive, and how to be generous. There is no commerce of any type at Burning Man, the art and other projects rarely have any names attached to them.

The entire experience is unmediated, there is no expectation of any kind, it's a meritocracy of in it's truest sense -- there is no history. Each year Burning Man is reborn again, from the same dust but into a totally new world.

Commerce free... mind free

The commerce-free experience is great because it frees up a lot of your mind that you didn't realize was affected. For example, there are dozens of radio stations, several daily newspapers but there's no advertising. Even brand names on the sides of rental vans are blacked out. There is nothing that is "sponsored by Intel" or any visible brands at all. As far as you can see.

It was painful leaving Black Rock City and moving beyond the range of the Burning Man radio stations and having to switch to commercial radio, even PBS. It was so hard having to listen to all those commercials.

Even reading a magazine with adverts was difficult for many days. I realized how much I'm flooded with commercial messages, repeatedly, constantly. It felt very good to be away from all that commerce chatter because it freed up some of my internal dialogue.

That's a great benefit of Burning Man: living for a week in a place where there is no commerce at all. A commerce-free experience -- where else can you get that? Nowhere. Everywhere you go in the world, even remote territories, someone is trying to sell you something -- but not at Burning Man. That's a priceless experience.

All the work that people do to build Black Rock City is donated, there is no commercial intent. To see an entire city functioning, productive, and so innovative -- without any commercial payoff or intent is truly extraordinary. What type of blueprint could it provide for our cities today? [IBM with its Smart Cities program should study Black Rock City.]

Plus, Burning Man can be a great place for networking. Eric Schmidt got his job at Google because he hung out with Larry and Sergey there one year.


Topics: IBM, Google, Intel, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Message has been deleted.

    netraider_z
    • RE: There's a hush in the air...

      @netraider_z
      That was GOOD! <a href="http://www.replicawatchesbest.org">imitation Watches</a>
      yantangseo
  • Wait

    So, you write an article extolling the virtues of a commerce-free economy, only to end on the note that BM is a great networking opportunity where you can come out of it like Eric Schmidt? That basically negates everything you've argued until that point. Albeit, this is a tech blog, so it is relevant to make that connection- I understand this. Your tone and phrasing of that last sentence elevated that point's importance, making it seem like such a personal gain is a main reason of going, rather than just an interesting bullet point.

    I would also pick a smaller bone with saying Burning Man is commerce-less. There is an economy, but in the form of trade ("gifting" being the cool, non-corporate-maaaan way of putting it).

    Overall, I wasn't too impressed by this article. I will say though, your viewpoint is consistent with the upper-middle class, baby boomer view of this event and I don't mean that as an insult. I rarely respond to articles on the internet, but felt compelled to pick these bones here. You win some points for being provocative enough to induce that.
    ichiboy
    • He only reported the facts

      @ichiboy
      One must take from it what they wish. Remember, once the festival is over, many will be returning to the world of commerce.

      Having no job can make that quite difficult.
      :|
      Tim Cook
  • RE: There's a hush in the air...

    I wold like to go there to this festival! I always dream to go on Silicon Valley!
    Mike from <a href="http://www.usi-sticla-interior-exterior.ro/usi-sticla-interior.html">Usi Sticla</a>
    tampo
  • Commerce-less lifestyle not sustainable

    The author writes about this place that would be nice to live in long-term because of the lack of commerce. However, he overlooks the fact that all the stuff needed to survive this commune is acquired someplace else where commerce exists. There is a big difference between a vacation place where you bring your own supplies and a settlement where you bring short-term supplies to keep you going while you establish infrastructure and trade of some sort.
    smollenhauer
  • RE: There's a hush in the air...

    <p>Coach handbags and purses at the <a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? with new designs make them have the most outstanding and eye-catching advantage among other brands goods.<a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? handbags You can not just save your cash but also your time inside a convenient way to obtain the exact same bags product and do not be concerned the shippment of one's products.In terms of the quality and superior design that make more and more customers are satisfied to <a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>????.Welcome!Come by for dinner soon and check out the wine list for yourself. We are always here to help with selection. Cheers for the successful of <a href="http://www.coachfactoryoutletcenter.com" title="coach factory outlet store"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet store</strong></h1></a>????.</p><p><a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach purses"><h1><strong>coach purses</strong></h1></a>???? have to be considered the most wanted designer purses in the world. Known around the globe for their excellent craftsmanship and trendy styles, these purses are worshiped by millions.The <a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? has been in business for many years. You can log in to find more information about its products and services.The Coach bag is from the latest release of Coach Bags. Its crisp, scribble material, leather handle, perfectly complements the relaxed shape of this stylish pouch. All the items of <a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach outlet online"><h1><strong>coach outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? Store fit all of your essentials and more.If you want to buy quality Coach products at lower prices, visiting <a href="http://www.coach--purses.com" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? online can be your best decision.</p><p>Where there are women, there are bags. Where there are bags, there are <a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach bags"><h1><strong>coach bags</strong></h1></a>????. Coach products are the direction indicator of the latest fashion and trend.Coach is a renowned leather brand throughout the world. <a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach handbags"><h1><strong>coach handbags</strong></h1></a>???? are famous for their special designs and beautiful shapes.Bright colors, exquisite workmanship, durable material and up-to-date style all lead to the great fame of the goods in <a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>????.Do not miss the opportunity to get the Coach Outlet Coupons.<a href="http://www.coachbagsoutletsstore.org" title="coach outlet store"><h1><strong>coach outlet store</strong></h1></a>???? spends more efforts on building their own brand.</p><p><a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? has become necessary in everyday life of women seeking fashion and simple designs simple and elegant to look at very affordable and practical.If you desire to go to <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>????, but have no idea in which to go, you can research online. It is no doubt that there is drastically information and details about it for the reference.<a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is one of the most popular and successful leather brands in the U.S. market.Coach stands for the most-admired innovative style and conventions in American fashion.That <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinesstores.net" title="coach factory store online"><h1><strong>coach factory store online</strong></h1></a>???? annually consultation on item pattern to 5,000 high-end consumers, investing of as a good deal as much more than three million bucks a year.</p><p><a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? can provide the coach exactly the same is expected in a retail store. It can help you find bags of various colors, shapes and designs, which prove once again that the coach is actually a selection for the housekeeper.Would you like to meet more friends, or go with the times? If yes, <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is opening welcome doors to you.<a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? is famous for the discounts it offers. Latest coach purses and sunglasses can be purchased at discounted rates from this coach outlet store.Coach Bags in the <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinestore1.org" title="coach factory store online"><h1><strong>coach factory store online</strong></h1></a>???? feature a front red stripe with a red Coach logo on op art print sateen and other details, such as the double soft red straps, which allow for carrying conveniently and comfortably.</p><p>It's wonderful to find out it does not slip in your signature at the bottom of the case and the appearance of brass accents from <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinex.com" title="coach outlet online"><h1><strong>coach outlet online</strong></h1></a>????, Because women who can look stylish this summer.When I first went to the web site <a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinex.com" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>????,I wasn't sure what to expect.Then,once I was scrolling through the handbags I saw this and I was fond of it!Once I received it, it matched my cell phone and no matter what I put in it, it never hurt my shoulder.<a href="http://www.coachoutletonlinex.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? offers you the modern and very comfortable coach bags. Since many women often do not know things and are daily buses to challenge their handbags handbag, also comprehensive.The reputation of the coach outlet with the good old bag, was actually the original inspiration came from a softball glove, Cheap replica Coach Handbags features soft.</p><p>There certainly are a amount of methods to acquire affordable coach products at <a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>????,it could possibly the most effective options.the most vital cause may be the reality that you simply can purchase genuine coach products at there.Attention! <a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach outlet"><h1><strong>coach outlet</strong></h1></a>???? is offering new products at favorable prices for August. Brighter colors, finer looks and newer designs, all bring you a whole new summer.<a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? are loved by many people, when you walk in the street, you could see many people take coach styles.<a href="http://www.coachhoutlett.com" title="coach factory"><h1><strong>coach factory</strong></h1></a>???? outlet has new coach laptop bags in listing. No matter which style do you want, we can provide it for you.</p><p><a href="http://www.coachoutletfactoryss.net" title="coach factory outlet online"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is one of the most popular and successful leather brands in the U.S. market.Coach stands for the most-admired innovative style and conventions in American fashion.The reputation of the coach outlet with the good old bag, was actually the original inspiration came from a softball glove, Cheap replica Coach Handbags features soft.Today, following half a century, mentor leather-bases <a href="http://www.coachoutletfactoryss.net" title="coach factory outlet"><h1><strong>coach factory outlet</strong></h1></a>???? continues to be the delicate craft of leather-based master is accountable for,Sweet and petite, Coach purse is a gorgeous standout. Featuring the most fashionable styles and the best upscale quality, Coach goods at the <a href="http://www.coachoutletfactoryss.net" title="coach factory store"><h1><strong>coach factory store</strong></h1></a>???? are definitely your choice.</p>
    erica55
  • RE: There's a hush in the air...

    <p>Of couse, the products are best quality. Just 5-7 days delivery! Our <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton online</strong></h1></a>???? shop provide worldwide free shipping. So what are you waiting for? Take a Louis Vuitton home now!We are glad you come to join in our <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? online store, because the winter is upcoming now, Louis Vuitton released many new handbags to feedback our customers.The <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? is so colorful.Its products, both for the female and the male, touch upon all walks of life.The online <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.org" title="louis vuitton sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton sale</strong></h1></a>???? has the latest styles of cheap LV handbags for you to find your favorite Louis Vuitton products more conveniently.</p><p>LV bags in the <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.net" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? are a feminine update on an urban classic. With plenty of room for all of your essentials this covetable carryall will take you through the weekend in style.Looking for a <a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.net" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? and don't know where they are? The easiest way is to Google it. That simple. You should at least get a hit on the actual online designer store and you can search geographically for the one nearest to you.<a href="http://www.ilouisvuittonoutlet.net" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? is really so well-liked and also treasured during the human beings to be a number of high-end, they may realize that the bring up to date might impact their very own laurels signature in the fashion world as well as talk about in your predisposition in their enthusiasts.</p><p>Just come to visit once the <a href="http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlinee.com" title="louis vuitton online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton online</strong></h1></a>????, you will fall in love with its fancy bags, purses, sunglasses, shoes and so on.LV sells its products through standalone boutiques,lease departments in high-end department stores, and through the <a href="http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlinee.com" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>????.<a href="http://www.louisvuittonoutletonlinee.com" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>????,welcome to buy urban louis vuitton on our online shop.discount price is our special offer, durability and high quality is our promise.</p><p>Don't feel upset, there will be a great conversion to this kind of situation because there are a large number of <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton sale</strong></h1></a>???? now!In the web times, even if you are a noble person on <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>????, or to real action to prove himself, has been integrated into a new era.If in a foreign country to join the twitter, it is best to join army of micro-Bo;Your energy is regained and your eyes are refreshed, right? You can avoid the boredom if you buy the <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton outlet sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet sale</strong></h1></a>????.Last Sunday my friends Sally brought a new purse to show us. She told us she just bought it from an outlet of <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-outletsales.com" title="louis vuitton sale"><h1><strong>louis vuitton sale</strong></h1></a>????, which provides high quality LV goods at low prices.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton bags outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton bags outlet</strong></h1></a>???? are amazing and you will rest assured by proudly owning a bed that you will find yourself envied by simply your colleagues.<a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton bags"><h1><strong>louis vuitton bags</strong></h1></a>???? I bought a few days ago looks almost the same as the one at online presentation. Also,service attitude from the seller is very good and delivery speed and logistics pretty fast.As we show below, <a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton outlet"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet</strong></h1></a>???? have a number of Louis Vuitton Earrings, louis vuitton replica handbags, in different styles for your selection.<a href="http://www.louisvuitton-bagsoutlets.com" title="louis vuitton outlet online"><h1><strong>louis vuitton outlet online</strong></h1></a>???? will not solely store and build pertaining to your entire necessities,and makes it possible for you to create a typical appearance.Lots of women like these bags.</p>
    erica55