“When I ran my spaceship into the chrono-synclastic infundibulum it came to me in a flash that everything that ever has been always will be and everything that ever will be always has been,” states Winston Niles Rumfoord in Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan.
This year’s Burning Man theme is Caravansary, This got us thinking about the Voyage….the Journey…
After much study/focused mindfulness on Kurt Vonnegut, the Great One spoke through the dusty pages of an ancient paperback…
In his 1959 Hugo award nominated novel, The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut describes the “Church of GOD THE UTTERLY INDIFFERENT” (more details in a post to come) and which has provided name for out theme camp. Vonnegut’s writings, and in particular this novel, has served to inspire our camp leader Steve Knauff for many years as he has worked to connect the larger Burning Man theme with other literary, philosophical, anthropological, psychological and artistic influences.
For Burning Man’s 2014 Caravansary Theme, we present:
The CHRONO-SYNCLASTIC INFUNDIBULA:
Camp of the Space Wanderer and home of the 54th Portal to the Soul–
the ultimate caravansary will be interplanetary/intergalactic.
On the Cosmic Dome of the Space Wanderer, we will inscribe the words of Vonnegut’s Space Wanderer who says, “I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all
…These are the fundamentally accidental chrono-synclastic infundibulations of the Temple of the Utterly Indifferent…. ALL TIME, past present and future in reality, IS simultaneous. Linear time… the illusion as real as the eye sees the earth as flat.
Physicist Julian Barbour illustrates our perception of time using the flipbook as a model. Time is made up of a veritable infinity of frozen “nows”, appearing as linear progression while the pages flip…thus the illusion of temporal linearity.
As long time Burners, we’ve always embraced the themes (several of us have 10 or more Burns under our belts). Of our five theme camps, we had the most interactive success with chess camps integrated with theme related art; these camps were placed twice on the inner ring directly across from the cafe.
This year we propose a multi-layered interactivity that encompasses
1] theme related art in various forms including a nearly 200′ long mural
2] 3 large 4’ sq chess sets
These PLAYABLE SCULPTURES offer a Three Ring Circus of Chess with three themed chess sets from years past on 4’ sq (largest practical playable) boards.
From 2007 “Green Man”: we were honored to have out camp on the Inner Ring with a single shaded chess set titled GREEN vs. GREED, subtitled, LARRY vs. THE LAWYERS. Even more awesome, we personally gifted, Larry a set of pawns when he played a game with our friend from Texas, filmmaker Mike Wilson.
From 2009 “Evolution”” we were humbled and amazed to be placed between the Pickle Bar and Jazz Café with more themed art; the new chess set for that year, SCIENCE vs SUPERSTITION subtitled, Darwin vs The Bible. A larger shade structure accommodated both boards.
From 2013 “Cargo Cult” CARGO CULT vs. CHRISTIAN CULT, or SPAM vs THE EUCHARIST. We introduced pawn propeller planes standing on end vs. Christian crosses with a crucified Alien Grey. The bearer of both believe for those who carry this icon, HE SHALL RETURN WITH GIFTS and salvation.
3] An interactive mutant vehicle that is a mobile stage in the shape of a giant TV set where playa participants can “be The Content” (LOTS more info on this in posts to come!)
5] Entirely new this year, the chess dome will be transformed into a story telling speakeasy. A conceptual caravansary of Vonnegut related themes and random and utterly indifferent story telling and generally low key erudite fun.
Inside the glowing Dome of the Space Wanderer, a ‘50’s rocket ship on top, containing the internally illuminated artwork of Rocket Rosie and sTeVe, which contains a model of Vonnegut’s Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum, hopelessly silly and simplistic representation of simultaneous nature of TIME (….In a state of pure energy we exist in state of temporal suspension….) to share stories, sing songs, play acoustic music, perform spoken word, recite poetry, discus research, and develop problem solving strategies for how to be thought leaders and change agents.
Evenings will have themes gleaned from Vonnegut’s novels. Reaching out to different groups (Burning Nerds, Black Rock Scouts, Kidsville, The Artery, and others) to host and or join these nightly gatherings, and to install their own art inside the Dome.
After chess play ends around dinner time, we’ll replace the three chess tables with an 8’ diameter circle table, painted with a spiral arm galaxy.
Our first level of interactivity, theme related art and ‘art-gineered’ (as in artistically engineered) structures by day and illuminated at night, like our “Dome of the SPACE WANDERER” and which will include our new 186” long curved mural containing theme related icons and various equations; see a few sketches here with more details to come.