In This Edition of Turtle Head
In the beginning, there was Chaos. But from the chaos sprung the Default – a world of rules and systems. A world of limited expression. While in many way that world served the people who lived there, it also worked to dampen their true selves. But behind it all, the Chaos remained, hidden in Default like a shadow on the water, unclear and insubstantial.
As time went on, the people clamored to return to the Chaos they had once known. But they did not know how. Their voices rose and fell, a great sound that called forth the Cacophony, the Children of Chaos. These Chaotics brought the people moments of madness, of self expression, of temporary release from Default. They taught the people their ways. Thus was born the Society.
In the late 1980s, members of the San Francisco Cacophony Society attended a little party at Baker Beach. That radical moment grew into what we now call Burning Man. But when they weren’t burning structures, members of the Society were radically expressing themselves together by gathering and spreading a little chaos.
Sitting proudly in that great shadow is the Cacophony Society’s newest lodge: Tempore Chao. And you may already be a member. Join us as we spread a little chaos and express ourselves radically – with tea!
Communal Effort / 社群共同努力
(Disclaimer: this was written during level 3 soft-lockdown in Taipei)
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.(burningman.org)
In the year of our chaos, 2021, we are all in the pandemic mess together. In such a situation, it is a true communal effort to get through the situation as a whole. It may feel like you’re not doing much and that’s the point of communal effort. Everyone does their little part, and all of those little parts added together make something massive.
To make a Burn happen it takes communal effort. Everyone does their little part to make the whole thing that much better. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses- always remember: one person’s strengths are another person’s kryptonite. This communal effort is what makes a Burn special. Everyone does *something* in their camp, with the art, workshops, etc. No one single person should be doing all of the work. Communal effort is also an exercise in personal limitations and boundaries. What CAN you do and what DO you have the energy for when you might have multiple projects going at the same time.
Back to Default World, communal effort might be found at your job, in your household, or in your hobbies where there are multiple people involved for a single goal. Remembering that you are allowed to say no when you have multiple projects in the works or just do not have the energy for is alright as well, but when you do have the energy- communal efforts do help build amazing working and personal relationships.
Virgin Voices / 處女之聲
This year was my very first Burn. I’d heard a lot about the Burn experience before this, but I didn’t really know what to expect. Lots of people had talked about the idea of “coming home” and being able to really live as you wanted to live. I loved that idea, but I didn’t really believe that that was possible.
Boy, was I wrong.
Never have I felt as free to express myself and just relax as when I was at Turtle Burn. There was just something in the air that said, “Go ahead. Get vulnerable.” At first I felt a bit hesitant about getting into the clothes I’d brought with me, but once I changed into them it was like the whole world felt a little bit freer, a bit more loving.
Because that’s ultimately what I felt throughout the camp: a sense of love, both for others and the self. I felt welcome there more than I’ve ever felt in my life. As someone who is genderqueer (I have both a beard and breasts and fall somewhere between feminine and masculine expression), I almost always feel just a bit awkward when presenting how I want to in any space that isn’t explicitly queer. When I was on the mountain, none of that seemed to matter. I was experiencing the principle of Radical Self Expression like I’d never felt before because there were no strings attached. You didn’t have to be queer, trans, woman, man, adult, child… You can be whoever and whatever you are without worry.
I can’t wait until we burn again.
By Joel Fremming
Enchanted: A post AfrikaBurn story
About a meeting and how personal flow is about embracing opportunities.
It started out as a not so innocent night out. I was to meet a friend at a club called Fiction. He didn’t know I was coming. At the unusually uncrowded entrance a woman stepped in line behind me. There was an explosion. An explosion of light, colour and beauty. From top to bottom she glistened and sparkled like the nightscape of the AfrikaBurn that was so fresh in my heart. Her dinky tilted hat and set hair was coiled with purple fairy lights. Her eyes shined with black glitter trailing down to her black lipstick, a broad smile breathing strength and power. More purple curved down her body in a sparkling corset, leading to the frills of a layered netted skirt. A psychedelic arrangement of black and purple wrapped her legs down to polished high heels.
I came out of my daze to hear the words, “I love your outfit, whatever you are, you are so beautiful!” This came from a passer by, an entranced reveler who turned around just to say those words to her. I realised I was smiling. He was right. I had a moment then where I thought I won’t say anything and just let it be. My smile faded. I wanted to keep smiling.
I told her much the same thing as she had just heard, all the while my smile continuing. We were nearing the pay stand of the club. I told her she should get in for free with her sparkly self. She said she didn’t mind paying. I pitched the she-should-get-free-entry-for-being-fabulous bit to the door lady. She got in for free. How can you be that awesome and not be gifted things? Inside, I saw my friend and introduced her much like an old friend would. I wanted to say to him, “This is my muse.” And although I didn’t know it, for the next forty eight hours, she would be.
Names were exchanged shortly after this, hers being Lia, mine being Basil. I felt little concern for names at that point. She was crowd watching, I was Lia watching. I stood on my tippy toes and leaned in for a kiss. She turned her cheek, thinking I was going to tell her something. I laughed and drew her lips toward mine. The kiss was that of falling into a bed filled with down feathers. I drew back, whispering, “That’s what I’ve been wanting to do since I saw you.” We partied mostly away from each other from then but I felt we wouldn’t leave without each other.
When we did find each other we decided it was time to go. We found our way down and out of a very tired Fiction. As we walked arm in arm down Long Street. I knew we had been targeted. Nigerian, Congolese or Mozambican. I couldn’t tell which, one of the noticeably darker African groups had taken up stride in close proximity to us. I adjusted my awareness. She checked her bag. Her phone was gone. A tall dark man walked past.
“It’s him. It’s fucking that guy,” I said.
“Hey buddy!” I grabbed his shoulder. He pulled away and made a run. Around a car. Really? He was going to get away by pussy-footing around a car? This all took place amidst screams and shouts from both us and his partners. Lia grabbed the initiative and headed around the other side of the car. I have never seen a woman in heels move that fast. We cut him off at the bumper. Lia almost cut his throat. She grabbed him by the neck with one hand, her veins standing out, the sure grip of her whitening fingers digging into his dark skin. Even through his ‘Hey, you got me’ smile, I saw the fear in his eyes. He offered the phone up to her. She grabbed it with her other hand, both of us shouting at him all the while. Looking back I can only think that some deep rooted piece of Africa was brought out in both of us then. The raw physical prowess, the power to command a situation with the strength of our voices, the surety of knowing we were in the right and the unwavering confidence that we would not be harmed.
We needed tequila. A small sushi spot beckoned. One of her friends arrived. We got a free round. The glory of Lia’s attire had not faded. The rest of the night is softly blurred. A long walk, seemingly to nowhere. A car ride to a beach front apartment overlooking an endless sea, melding into the black sky. A taxi ride filled with thrill and ecstasy. A steaming bath with a giant window looking down on Long Street, hot water shared in passion. A walk down into Long Street, vision wavering. A meeting with two others on a traffic island. We four shared coffee as the sun rose. Many more kisses with Lia. Delectable, lingering, soft and unabashedly open. Sleep was attempted. Too much excitement, too much coffee. I needed my own bed. A kiss farewell and the promise of a meeting the next day.
我們事後都需要來杯龍舌蘭，於是我們到了一間小小的日本料理店。她的一個朋友來找我們，請我們喝了一輪。Lia的服裝依然耀眼，但當晚剩下的情節越來越模糊。我只記得長時間的漫步，不知道通往何方，以及坐著車抵達一座有海景的公寓，伴著無止盡的黑夜。一趟充滿刺激和狂喜的計程車之旅，在有大窗戶的浴室的熱水澡，在激情中的Long Street夜景。在模糊的視線中走過Long Street，在安全島上和另外兩個碰頭，四個人一起喝咖啡看日出。更多更多的親吻。可口的、流連的、輕柔和大膽的親吻。好像有試著入睡，但周遭有多刺激、喝了太多咖啡。我只能在自己的床上入睡。最後互相道別的吻，以及隔日見面的承諾。
Volunteering / 關於服務
My volunteering started before the event. I enrolled myself as one of the fire performance crew on discord. Pretty quickly I found myself taking the “lead fire performance” role. TB needed someone. I had the experience and more importantly, I wanted to do it. If you’re going to volunteer, you have to want it.
I arrived on Friday evening and went to find someone who could tell me about the performance. The answer was, basically, to just roll with it when the time comes. That made me relax considerably. Maybe too much. Fast forward to Saturday night: I’m chilling at camp and Yoshi (thank fuck for him) very politely comes to my chair, “Hey, are you Basil?” I affirm. “Okay we need to start the fire performance soon… so what’s going on with that?” My eyes went a little wider, “Oh shit ja. What’s the time now?” I had about 40 minutes. Perfect.
I gathered my gear and my wits and headed down. With some shouts and runners, the crowd began to gather. Ian, Joel, Tony and I went over the plan for the intro and outro of the performance. I gave the performers the safety briefing and we decided the order of performers. I put on my loud boy pants and addressed the crowd. Everyone quietened down… after Joel and Ian put on their loud boy pants. The crowd listened, accepted and understood (special thanks here to a welcome burner translating on the spot). The performance was awesome and the effigy burned beautifully. Success!
After Temple Burn, I found myself introducing virgin spinners to fire spinning. There must have been 20 people, back to back for three hours. I couldn’t leave – if no one was there for safety, shit could go down. The briefing that came to me was: “Fire is an element. It will not respect you. Respect it.” People played and the fire was not just in their hands, it was in their eyes – it was in their hearts.
Climbing into bed, stinking of paraffin, I was exhausted. And so very, very full.
我在星期五晚上抵達營區，並去找比我更熟知表演細節的人。基本上我得到的答案是「在時機成熟的時候就順其自然地開始吧」。這讓我放鬆了很多。也許太多了…… 快轉到週六晚上：我悠閒地待在營地，Yoshi（他X的感謝他）非常客氣地走向我，「嘿，你是 Basil 嗎？」我說「是。」 「我們待會兒就要開始火舞表演了……目前有什麼想法嗎？」我的瞳孔頓時放大，「哦，該死的。現在幾點了？」我有大約 40 分鐘。完美。
我收拾好裝備、整頓好腦袋，走向會場。有人從我身邊跑過、有人興奮地喊叫，大家開始聚集。Ian, Joel, Tony 和我一起確認了表演開頭與結尾的流程、我再向表演者夥伴們佈達流程的重點、安全要點、接著決定了表演者的順序。我扯開嗓門試圖與全場觀眾說話，但無法與大家高張的情緒抗衡！直到Joel 跟Ian 也扯開嗓門，所有人的躁動才逐漸平息下來，聽進且理解了我們的宣導（在此特別感謝一位火人朋友協助即席翻譯）。我們的火舞演出非常順利、雕像也燃燒得很漂亮。成功！