153 - Burning Man VR x IRL with Caveat Magister, Naomi Most, and Raven Mitch Mignano
This week we bring together Burning Man’s resident philosopher Caveat Magister (the author of The Scene That Became Cities, from Penguin Random House) together with anarchist community organizer Naomi Most of Noisebridge and Playa trickster historian Mitch Mignano for a conversation about the festival’s uneasy but remarkable transition into virtuality — and how holdouts worldwide persisted in “IRL” celebrations that preserved the face-to-face community and presence Burning Man cannot yet replicate online.
This discussion was a total treat, and covered everything from complex systems and the evolution of the city to the new and strange ontologies emerging in the blue light of our screen-bound era.
• Was Burning Man always just a physicalized version of the World Wide Web? Or is its power and uniqueness in precisely how it ISN’T?
• Is Burning Man a kind of virtual reality already, or — like VR — just a not-entirely-successful effort to screen out the world that creates it?
• What is the value of culture for culture’s sake, and why should we protect the efforts for it?
• Is Black Rock City pointless, or is it an engine for teaching Applied Existentialism…or both, and more?
• What happened at the in-person Burning Man(s) this year, when people still decided they would gather during a pandemic?
This episode is dedicated to the memory of James Oroc.
Writing and videos we mention in this episode:
*** The Case of the Missing Man by Caveat Magister (Read the whole series!) ***
The Garden of Forking Memes by Aaron Z. Lewis
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