If there was a polar opposite to the lifestyle mocked in the song Gangnam Style, it would be the Burning Man. The event encourages individuals to free themselves from the superficial constraints of society’s expectations and the demands of blending-in. For a weekend, these constraints are burned away while all that was encouraged to remain was true self, free self-expression, and uninhibited creativity.
The original Burning Man began in San Francisco. I was fortunate enough to talk to some people who attended the Burning Man in Nevada this year. They explained to me that the Burning Man is all about sharing your inner gifts and your true self with others. Some people teach classes, some create works of art, others perform, some construct their own buildings, and others… do whatever they want. Whatever gift you have or whatever is in your heart, you are encouraged to share it with others. There is no money and no advertising. Only people striving to be their true selves working together for the liberty of self-expression and the benefit of helping others.
For more information on the Burning Man and what it really means, please visit here.
For those of us who attended in Korea, we worked within a much smaller venue. We didn’t have access to resources like our counterparts in Nevada, but in time as we come to a better understanding of the Burning Man, I believe more creativity and work will go into making the experience incredible. I also hope more Koreans will participate in this event in the future, as it was mainly populated by foreigners. Honestly, it was a far larger and intense party than I experienced during Mudfest. Perhaps since it was mainly foreigners, some shackles of Korean conservatism were released. However, in time I hope more Koreans attend, and I hope to see their distinctive mark on the Burning Man. There is no doubt their ingenuity, gifts, discipline, talents, creativity, and individuality would be an amazing force to witness if it was unleashed from the extreme pressures and rigors of their society.
My gift is being an amateur photographer with an enormous heart. There were far better photographers at the event, and I would like to thank them for their advice on flash photography which I struggled with at the event. I can’t wait to see their photographs. Nevertheless, I would like to share with everyone my favorite pictures of the event. If your pictures are not on this post, I will post the remainder on my Facebook page.
More than Bacon
The most touching story of Burning Man involves a Korean man named Mike. He was unable to attend the event. However, his presence was felt since every foreigner at the event had at least one piece of bacon at the “Poetry for Bacon” tent. A wonderful girl by the name of Kaly Reyaht, explained to me that Mike owned a shop in Gwangju. He is in an epic fight with terminal cancer, and due to the medical costs he is closing his shop. Yet, despite his mounting debt and fighting the battle for his life, this incredible individual wanted to donate all of the bacon for the event. She eventually negotiated him down to donating a pound of bacon for every pound of bacon purchased. However, it’s paramount for me to spread his story and thank him for his incredible heart.
Mike, I didn’t bring any food because I had no idea I was supposed to bring food. I was starving Sunday morning and the smell and taste of your bacon was heavenly. If there is any person who represents the true beauty of Burning Man in Korea this year, it is you! We all love you and are praying for you. We want to see you next year so keep fighting knowing that we are all behind you.
Brent and every single person at the Korea Burning Man event
Mike did not make it due to his condition, but here are pictures from his tent and his friends who shared his story with me.
While Burning Man Korea lacked the exquisite structures of the event in Nevada, one area of compensation was the use of costumes. Very few people with the exception of myself (Hey, I was working) opted for a simple bathing suit. Instead, self expression reigned supreme as unique costumes and characters stretched from the edge of the campground to the breaking ocean crests.
Wink in Limbo
I love When in Korea (Check out their Chuseok trips). They are the absolute best travel group to meet new people and visit different places in Korea. It’s no surprise that they threw the best party on the beach headed by the Captain on Insanity himself, Mr. Skofe A. Lofe. This is a family oriented blog and I can’t post several of the shenanigans that went down, but the limbo party was both fun and maintained a PG rating.
Some people learned to set up a tent in hurricane-like settings Friday night. Others partied straight to daybreak on Sunday morning. Some people took a yoga class while others attempted to walk a tight rope. For some the dancing never stopped and for others one new friend was never too many. Whatever the various experiences, when the fire started Saturday night, we were all witnesses. Symbolically, whatever our chains were, they were released in a cloud of smoke and we were free to be ourselves.
These are just a few more pictures of the beautiful sights I saw, the friends I made, and an experience I will never forget. Thank you for all who participated and you can see the rest of my pictures on my Kimchibytes facebook page.
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The Tripping Pencil – A great account of Burn Korea complete with all the videos and photographs from the event. Plus, you are dumb if you’re not following this great blog.