In This Edition of Turtle Head
Participation / 參與
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart. (burningman.org)
Participation is a personal choice and an active choice. You choose the level of your participation based on your interests, ability, and desire. Sometimes, choosing not to participate in one workshop or activity means you can be more present to participate in something completely different. You get to choose your level of participation…just remember that by participating in activities, art, theme camp activities, workshops, etc. you are making the community richer with your presence.
In the Default World, this can mean getting together with friends for an unspecified social gathering where you have a meeting place but don’t really have a plan of what you are doing. Participating in the Default world can also be self care – knowing your limits, boundaries, and what is and is not going to enrich your life. This can also include taking time for yourself rather than participating in activities with others.
In the year of our chaos, 2021, social distancing does not have to limit participation in activities. Many activities and gatherings that can be done online have already moved to online spaces. This has been a way for folks who might not always WANT to participate in person to be able to participate in group activities or discussions from the safety and comfort of their homes. Being able to participate in these online spaces will help us as a community when we are able to return to in-person interactions.
我最喜歡的火人記憶來自2021 的龜焰── 活動場域中有一位非二元跨性別族群的火人，而我無意間聽到一位台灣火人向巡邏隊員詢問起關於這個族群。這時應該是凌晨 四點，這場輝煌的跨文化交流在他們之間展開：這個台灣人不確定 Skye（非二元性別火人）是男性或是女性，並且對這個概念完全陌生。巡邏隊員耐心地解釋，而這位台灣火人很感興趣地仔細聆聽與學習；雙方都心胸開闊、不帶偏見。
The middle of the night is a great time to chat life philosophies, but that pre-dawn haze when you’ve been up all night is a better time to ask the kinds of questions you might not pose in the light of sun or moon.
My favorite Burn memory comes from Turtle Burn 2021. One of the burners on site is a non-binary transperson, and I overheard a fellow Taiwanese burner asking a ranger about them. It must’ve been 4 in the morning, and they were just hanging out having this glorious cross-cultural exchange. This Taiwanese guy was not sure if Skye (the non-binary burner) was male or female and was entirely new to the idea. The Ranger explained it with patience, and the Taiwanese burner listened thoughtfully, both open minded and unbiased. He was interested and liked learning something new.
This is why I think local burns are so important. We constantly exchange progressive and new ideas and learn from one another.
It was encouraging to see all that positivity.
Give it to me, Baby: What BDSM can teach the Burn Community about Consent.
「你能夠接受的與不能接受的── 撫摸、親吻、拍屁股…… 身體的哪個部分是絕對不希望被觸碰的？」
根據工作坊主持人 Frenchy 的說法，皮繩愉虐情境下的同意「可說是區別嬉戲與攻擊最重要的差異」。現代流行文化對皮繩愉虐的想像大多是打屁股、繩索和命令夥伴…… 「這些片面的描繪無法完整說明更深層的面向── 從縛繩前的討論、到縛繩後的緩和與照護過程。」Frenchy 這麼說。
為什麼「取得同意」是如此美好的事情？Gypsy 說：「在同意的情況下，你會了解自己的界限、如何更好地與伴侶溝通這些界限、以及這些界限真正被尊重時的感覺── 這簡直太性感了。」 我非常同意！雖然有些人認為取得同意前的討論非常尷尬，但我必須承認，有人認真地詢問你的渴望、同時尊重你不喜歡的部分，這是非常令人興奮和充滿親密感！
我在龜焰體驗皮繩愉虐過程中學到的一件事情，是「關於同意的討論不是靜態的、也不是一次訂下而不可變動的。」 Shin Nawakiri 在台北主辦縛繩活動，他對眾多皮繩愉虐玩家強調：同意是積極的，並且不斷變化。 「在皮繩愉虐過程中，」Shin說，「如果任何一位夥伴感到不舒服，他可以要求停止。在縛繩過程中，雙方必須保持對彼此的注意，透過每個時刻、每個動作中的連結來相互交流。」
“What are your hard limits?”
“Umm.. Could you please clarify?”
“What are you okay / not okay with? Touching, kissing, spanking? Is there anywhere on your body that’s off limits?”
I participated in a shibari / rope play workshop for the first time at Turtle Burn 2021, and I was flummoxed by challenging questions that I had never considered before. Doing a BDSM workshop at Turtle Burn compelled me to really think about my body’s boundaries in the moment: What was I excited to do? What was I definitely not willing to do?
As experienced BDSMers will tell you, all this falls within the static negotiation of Consent.
According to Frenchy, the workshop leader, Consent in BDSM is “probably the most important thing that differs play from assault.” Modern pop culture often portrays BDSM as things like spanking, ropes, and ordering people around. (Picture: 50 Shades of Grey or any porn site). “What these [portrayals] fail to show is everything behind the scenes, from negotiation to aftercare,” says Frenchy.
What’s so beautiful about Consent? Gypsy says: “With consent, you learn your own boundaries, how to better communicate those boundaries with a partner and what it really feels like to have those boundaries respected – and that is sexy as hell.” I couldn’t agree more! While some people assume that having a discussion about Consent pre-play is a huge buzzkill, I have to admit that it’s super exciting and intimate to have someone actively asking you about what you want to do, and respecting what you don’t!
One thing I’ve learned from BDSM play at the Burn, is that discussion about Consent isn’t static. Nor is it a one-time thing. Shin Nawakiri hosts shibari events in Taipei, and he emphasizes a common theme amongst BDSMers: Consent is active and constantly changing. “During play,” says Shin. “If any partner feels uncomfortable, they can ask to stop. During an SM Session, partners must maintain constant attention towards one another, exchanging communication with one another through all sorts of minute check-ins.”
We need a culture at the Burn where we learn how to communicate and listen to each others’ boundaries because boundaries and personal desires change. Calling all Burners: next time we are asked to communicate our hard limits, let’s all be prepared!
Volunteering / 關於服務
Turtle Burn 2021 was my first sanctioned “Burning Man” regional event, though I was familiar with the campgrounds and the principles after participating in ‘Spark’ a few months prior. I was psyched to volunteer as a ranger, being of service to anyone who needs me, and getting a full view of everything going on. It is easy to get stuck in your own camp or corner of the forest, but rangering requires you to go everywhere and meet everyone, and experience all the different ways people camp out and participate with the culture… not to mention cook. I rangered shortly after lunchtime, and many camps were all too eager to offer their surplus vittles to me and my ranger partner, Eamon. It was a nice bonding experience for the two of us as well, and his sociability made engaging with the community easier for my otherwise taciturn self.
We had no trouble to report: Taiwan Burners are peaceable and polite. A dull ranger session is a good session! What we did find was MOOP, so I would encourage any would-be rangers to bring a pair of gardening gloves to carry trash and help keep the campground clean. I hope the three abandoned headlamps we picked up eventually found their owners!