Apr 26, 2012 - Podcast    1 Comment

Re-imagining Tribe

This episode picks up on the Burning State of Mind of the last podcast with 3 pieces of media recorded during the Burning Man Regional Leadership Summit. Together they give a strong sense of the commitment that the folks at BMHQ have towards the long-term success of the experience. They are always thinking of the community first and often working at a level far above what most of us can imagine that it will take to ensure that success. One potential title for this podcast episode I considered was “Burning Man grows up” for all the conversations had during the Summit around what we all can / need to do to share the transformative experience with the wider world. As Marian Goodell says during her speech you are about to hear, “We are unique, and of consequence in the world.”


  • Leadership Summit keynote address from Marian Goodell. Marian has been Burning Man’s Director of Business and Communications since 1997.
  • Steven Raspa‘s Acculturation Talk: Spermy wants to go home! Steven is an Arts Advocate and Special Events Producer for Burning Man who is also a part of the regional committee with a specific role of supporting official Burning Man regional events around the world. What you hear in this audio recording, but unfortunately cannot see is the hilarious handful of hand-drawn images which he tears through a flip-chart as he discusses this years’ theme of Fertility 2.0 and the challenges of scale which come along with thing in the desert reaching maximum capacity.
  • The final 1/2 hour of the podcast is a follow-up conversational interview I had with Steven following the Summit. The questions I asked were very much focused around the context of placing Burning Man and its’ unique culture within the wider world narratives. Or as Steven challenges, we should all “figure out how to bring what you love about that experience into your cities and into the way that you live your lives.”
  • Music from Roy Two Thousand including the audio from this impressive time-lapse of the playa which fans of past Steppin’ off the Edge guest Neil Kramer will recognize his voice dropping some social science in.

Notable Quotes

  • MG – “Black Rock City isn’t the transformative experience, it’s about being with ourselves and together. The key is the way we unapologetically interact with each other.”
  • MG – “There was never an intention for the event in Black Rock City to be overflowing endlessly; we already know there are so many people that fit in a clown car. It’s the culture that’s radically inclusive. The solution to scarcity is abundance.”
  • MG – “I am 100% confident of the capacity of this culture to create abundance. It’s an incredibly fertile culture and we’re at a crossroads. This is fertility 2.0 whether you are in Black Rock City or not; this is a cultural theme for 2012.”
  • SR – “I would never want to curate who gets to go into Burning Man – everybodies’ contribution is equally valued.”
  • SR – “We need to redefine home. We need to figure out how to lay out a different kind of welcome mat. But we want to do it in a way that is still true to our principles.”
  • SR – “We’re entering a new phase in which we are looking beyond events as the forms through which our community gathers and through which community is generated.”
  • SR – “We have tried our hardest not to set rules and only to set rules when there is no other alternative. Otherwise we favour etiquette, getting people to talk directly to one another, to work out their issues, challenges and problems.”
  • SR – “Honestly, if people bring this transformative experience into new places and it clicks with enough people; enough people say ‘Yes I like that, I believe in that, I want more of that in my life’ I’m going to dare say there is the potential to have a golden age on a global scale.”
  • SR – “Real social alchemy and engagement involves taking everybody forward together and not creating polarity.”
  • SR – “We have brilliant people that identify with the experience of having been to Burning Man. There are theologians, inventors, heads of business increasingly, decision-makers. We have the potential to shape thinking, consciousness and honestly, the well-being of the planet.”

This podcast will always be free to listen, download, subscribe or share with friends, and is very much a labour of love. There are a few costs I incur to host and distribute it that if you’d like to support would be greatly appreciated. You can donate via Paypal through the link on steppinofftheedge.com, or you can send a direct donation via email to jamie@steppinofftheedge.com. Any donations received in response to this episode in particular I will happily donate 75% towards the Black Rock Arts Foundation. Please include some mention of Burning Man, BRC, the summit or something I can use to connect the dots in the donation notes or send a separate e-mail to indicate your desire towards this fantastic arts organization.

The title for this episode, Re-imagining Tribe, comes from this last portion of the episode and is part of my contribution to the Six Word Story series that was happening throughout the Leadership Summit. All attendees were invited to participate by composing our own six word piece about any aspect of the event or global culture. If you have never been to Burning Man think “Mad Maxx meets Alice in Wonderland” as one example of a six-word story about it.

1 Comment

  • […] Summit audio from an RC in Ottowa http://steppinofftheedge.com/podcast/re-imagining-tribe/  keynote from Maid Marian and a fun talk with $teven Ra$pa about Fertility […]

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