October 9th, 2015


Obligatory post Seed reflection

At Seed, someone asked me if it was my first burn. After a minute's thought I realised it was actually my tenth. Gosh! I've been to:

Kiwiburn (6)
American Kiwiburn (2)
African Kiwiburn (1)
Australian Kiwiburn (1)

I think that makes me a veteran. *pause here for those who've been to more burns than me - including Mangle - to comment about how they've been to 592 burns and I'm just a whipper snapper*

Right, now we've got that out of the way, I was reflecting on this 'been to a lot of burns' thing. Seed was quite different from my usual burn experience - it felt more chilled, less frenetic. I didn't feel the need to see and do everything and everyone. I missed stuff. Hell, there were people there that I knew that I didn't even run into. I only went out all-night dancing twice, and I didn't go back to the life modelling thing even though I enjoyed it the first time. I passed up the opportunity to participate in a pole jam in favour of hanging with a newfound friend, and went to bed straight after the Temple burn on Sunday night.

Am I getting old?

Yeah nah. This burn was just as much of a lifechanging experience as every other burn. But there's lifechanging in the OH WOW OMG I JUST FOUND COMMUNITY LIKE WHOAH AND ALSO LASERS kind of way, and there's lifechanging in the slight shift in perspective kind of way. My first burn, Psyche in Nevada, was the first. How could it not be? I probably turned into a burner bore for a while* - at least until my suntan wore off. After my second burn I started thinking about how I could bring the parts of this culture I loved into my day to day life - the Wellington Dance Collective was born, and I got involved in Kiwiburn.

I've been living that ever since. Because of burns, I rediscovered my talent for sewing, creating, and costuming. Because of that, I kitted out my community with clothing they would not otherwise have had, got into cosplay, and discovered a whole new community. I've learned electronics, (very basic) coding, risk management, event planning, and how to facilitate diverse groups of people. My work in drug reform stems from the positive experiences I've had and the community I've built through being part of burner culture, and that's taken off after 8 years because my associations within the culture led to another community that contained people who could help me (Foo).

And I think that's what I've taken away from this burn - the recognition that going to burn events isn't really the lifechanging part of burner culture for me. It's the little changes of perspective that have led to little decisions that have led to growth and expansion of my communities, which in turn have created more little changes in perspective - and so on and so forth. It's kind of neat how that's worked. As a flow on effect I've had a constant stream of personal growth opportunities, learned a bunch of new skills, and been able to give back to my communities in new and varied ways.

I quite like that I don't have to prance down the street dressed as a unicorn in order to feel that sense of community. I quite like that for me, the real burner culture happens away from the burn, dressed in jeans (or PJs, or whatever the fuck I want), and involves having potato chips with MPs or craft nights with cosplayers or sitting alone in my room listening to Faithless while soldering stuff. It was all catalysed by the OMG LASERS revelations of that first burn, but that's all a burn event really is - a catalyst for individuals to decide whether they are motivated to be who they are at the burn, all the time.

So when I was thinking about what life-changing thing happened to me at Seed, what occurred to me was the juxtaposition of the above realisations and coming home to find the TPP had been signed. The theme for Seed was Revolution. Like all themes it didn't really get reflected much in the art or the attitude - but now I'm thinking about how to effectively revolt against the TPP, and I think that my quiet revolution will be to continue to grow my communities, and consciously consider how I can continue to be who I am at the burn, all the time. Because that person doesn't give a crap about multinational corporations or profits or copyright. That person is interested in making her immediate environment a better place for herself and her communities, and is capable of making that level of difference. Which, based on what's happened so far and how I feel about it, is all the difference in the world.

(yes this does read like a Burners Will Save The World post. I don't think they will. But *this* burner will save *this* part of *my* world. Bite me.)

* You know the type - every sentence starts with "When I was at the burn..... and suddenly their life becomes about preparing for the next one or reliving the last one, and they make sure everyone knows it.