DESERT UTOPIA: A RADICAL VANISHING ACT
PERFORMING UTOPIAN IDEOLOGIES IN THE BLACK ROCK DESERT
BY RACHEL BOWDITCH
A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth glancing
at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.
And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country,
sets sail. Progress is the realization of Utopias ."
IMAGE 1. AERIAL VIEW OF BLACK ROCK CITY.
" Imagine you are put upon a desert plain, a space which is so vast and blank that only your initiative can make of it a place. Imagine it is swept by fearsome winds and scorching temperatures, and only by your effort can you make of it a home. Imagine you're surrounded by thousands of other people, that together you form a city, and that within this teeming city there is nothing that's for sale. The Black Rock desert is an empty void. Not a bird or bush or bump disturb its surface. It is a place that is no place at all apart from what we choose to make of it. The Playa is like an enormous blank canvas. The desert is a blank slate. It is empty when burning man begins and it is cleaned up, it is empty again at the end, as if it never happened ." - Larry Harvey
August 2001, San Francisco
I finally made my pilgrimage in 2001. With three friends, I drove directly from the airport to Trader Joe's, a local San Francisco supermarket. With two shopping carts we strolled up and down each aisle searching for boxed, add-water-and-stir meals, nuts, granola bars and anything that would not perish under the hot desert sun. The shelves were unusually sparse for an American supermarket chain. Gapping spaces echoed where products used to be. The aisles were crowded with people busily preparing for the pilgrimage to the desert, hustling in an unspoken atmosphere of preparation, anticipation and excitement. We waited at the checkout line for almost an hour with our two overflowing carts, lined up behind rows of equally bulging carts. The supermarket was left looking like a war zone, the scene of a crime with every shelf disheveled, gapping holes in the mountains of fruit, logos and brand news tipped over and crooked. Next we drove to Costco to pick up bulk items: 28 gallons of Poland Spring water, 100 multi-flavored fruit roll-ups, cartons of juice, a 20-pack of Raman noodles, toilet paper, 10 boxes of baby wipes (great for wiping off playa dust), and batteries. Again, we were not alone. Carts whizzed by each other in a frantic race to get last minute supplies. This would be our last chance to get the things for our seven days of survival in the harsh desert conditions. Our final stop was Kmart, where we picked up some tarps, two lawn chairs, flashlights and rope. Six hundred and fifty dollars later, our mission was complete. We were ready to go.
August 2001, Black Rock City, Nevada
We drove through the dark for six hours, equipped with two tents, four bicycles strapped to the roof of the car, boxes of add-water and stir meals, instant noodles, nuts and dried fruits and 28 gallons of water. We seemed to be driving into oblivion. No street signs, gas stations, pit stops or signs of life. Finally, we reached the town of Gerlach, the last town before our final destination, Black Rock City. A few miles later, we saw a small, hand-written sign saying, "Burning Man-this way " and we turned off the tarmac onto the desert. Ropes and markers guided our car for about two miles. In the distance was a dim glow of a fluorescent blue light and what looked like a small city looming like a mirage. With tickets in hand, we approached the entrance and were greeted by a man in a pink fairy dress, wings and a wand. He took our tickets and said, "What do you have for me?" We gave him the tickets. Then he demanded, "What else?" We gave him two beers, some fruit roll-ups and some nuts as a gift. He thanked us and said, "Welcome to Burning Man! Enjoy! Leave no trace! Remember, 5 miles an hour."
We had crossed the threshold, and entered the playground, a second reality leaving logical time and space behind. Following the arch of the outskirts of the city we finally reached our address, Nine and Oblivion. A thin golden line streaked across the horizon as we stepped out of the car into forty-degree desert air onto the pre-historic lakebed composed of hardpan alkali. The blanket of night slowly lifted to reveal the most spectacular sight. A golden light spilled over the horizon onto this vast expanse of playa, illuminating the ephemeral city ringed by majestic, jagged mountains. The eighty-foot effigy of Man on a white monolithic platform loomed over the playa, gazing down at the 35,000 temporary citizens of Black Rock City, a conglomeration of tents, teepees, domes; RV's and make-shift living structures lined the temporary streets, avenues and boulevards. We had entered the desert utopia, the Republic of the Imagination.
August 2001, Black Rock City, Nevada
Burning Man drifts suspended between beams of reality. Lifted in and out and around the dust of an ancient ocean, tribes unite and collide to worship divine nothing-ness, the desperation to believe, to belong, to behold, something, anything sacred and holy, in our automated, homogenized existence of grids and vortex's, of 1's and 0's. What is this place? Created out of necessity- an escape from all the confines and deadlines of concrete jungle claustrophobia. Sanctified, purified, a week without walls, a place where the regular boundaries of time and space dissolve into dust and fire. The fluorescent blue man stands as a Deus; a new found Christ figure in the center of this illusionary city, a mirage in the desert, an oasis in the sand. Dance until dawn around fire covered with a glistening coat of luminescent powder, wearing the playa like a second skin. This sci-fi apocalyptic circus is a highly evolved civilization, cultivated with streets signs, a post-office, ritualistic processions and micro societies of the imagination. Marmalade crimson skies outline the silhouettes of believers in this new found religion.
IMAGE 2. TEMPLE OF TEARS 2001. CREATED BY DAVID BEST.
COUNTER-EMPIRE: Acts of Resistance
Within Empire Against Empire
" Empire is materializing before our very eyes... Globalization must be met with a counter-globalization, Empire with a counter-Empire...The geography of these alternative powers, the new cartography, is still waiting to be written...The counter-Empire must also be a new global vision, a new way of living in the world."
Hardt and Negri's Empire demands the necessity for communities that exist within Empire working against Empire. Situating my argument within this framework, I analyze the phenomenon of Burning Man through the lens of globalization as a political utopian performance. While Burning Man is creating new paradigms for the direction of performance, installation art, technology, community and ritual the focus of this investigation will center on analyzing utopian models in relation to Burning Man as a radical, creative resistance to the pressures of a capitalist, consumerist society. Working within Empire yet against Empire, I would like to argue that Burning Man, is one of the most complex, highly sophisticated and imaginative alternative utopian societies at the turn of the century, creating an oasis apart from the vortex of capitalism and the commodity. By closely examining utopian models of real and imagined communities throughout history reveals the current social need to create alternative societies within the contemporary dominant culture of globalization. By analyzing Burning Man's financial reports, their "gift economy" and civic volunteerism, we see a staged rehearsal of a consumer-free society as a political performance that proposes a new alternative way of living full of impossibility, contradictions and ambiguities. By analyzing historical utopian models various paradigms begin to emerge that I feel will be useful in understanding the Burning Man phenomenon as a radical political act.
Over nineteen years Burning Man has evolved from a personal healing ritual into an ephemeral city of thirty-five thousand citizens. In 1986, founder Larry Harvey staged an impromptu therapeutic burning of a makeshift wooden man on Baker Beach in San Francisco. This minute, personal performance has spontaneously erupted into one of the most significant and creatively radical utopian movements of the late twentieth, early twenty-first century. In Patterns of Order and Utopia , Frank Manuel's approach is to study utopias as psychological documents that tell us about the sensibility of the societies in which they are produced and have been interpreted as "decisive social bombs of revolutionary changes." In News From Nowhere, Morris illuminates that utopias can be seen as "signs" or "signals" of evolutionary developments in society, providing a liminal stage were new forms of economic and political possibilities can be enacted and rehearsed. In considering utopias as a catalyst for social change, what "signals" and "signs" does a festival such as Burning Man reveal about the current social transformations occurring within the United States? In light of the current political situation in the U.S., Burning Man is a radical and necessary escape from the regimes of the mainstream. What does an event like Burning Man, an ephemeral city of 35,000 citizens teaming with large scale art installations, performances, and invented rituals inform us about contemporary U.S. society, cultural transformation and our relationship to work, leisure, capitalism and commodities? Why are people spending their leisure time building life-size temple like structures in the desert and what is the object/subject of worship? In doing an in-depth analysis of utopian societies and structures throughout history perhaps a few of these questions will begin to be unraveled and illuminated.
For centuries utopian thought has been investigated, rehearsed and performed in a variety of ways. From Plato's Republic written between 390-370 BC, Aristophanes The Birds , St. Augustine's City of God , Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (1624), Tommaso Campanella's City of the Sun (1623) and Andreae's Christianopolis (1619) to Bellamy's Looking Backward , Marx's Socialist utopia , and More's Abraxa , utopian experiments have appeared in a myriad of forms and styles. Literature became a popular outlet for utopian ideology to emerge through bedtime stories, poems, and literary epics to novels, myth, shorts fiction and religious allegory as well as through staged utopian experiments. The term "utopia" was coined in 1516 by Sir Thomas More in his famous Utopia , blending two Greek words "topos" or place and "u" that means "no" or "not". Thus, "utopia" can be translated as "noplace or nowhere." More's Utopia, a commentary on the social ills of sixteenth century England was published in only 24 years after Columbus had discovered America. In American Dreams: A Study of American Utopias , Parrington reveals that " from the very beginning, Americans have dreamt of a different, and usually of a better world. America is a Utopia... America was built on promises... From the first voyage and the first ship there were promises. " Since the 1680's, the United States has been the site for the founding of hundreds- possibly thousands- of utopian communities, both religious and secular. Popular U.S. utopian experiments were: the Oneida Community, Amana Society, Brook Farm, Fountain Grove (1875-1900), to Joyful (1880-1890), Winters Island (1890-1900), Altrurua (1890-1900), Little Landers (1900-1915), Fellowship Farm (1915-1925), Llano (1910-20), Holy City (1920-1950) and Tuolumne Farms (1945-50) to name only a few. Robert V. Hine has recognized that since the fifteenth century when Garcia Ordonez coined the term California, it has called up visions of utopia. California, since the 1850's has been a hub for U.S. utopian colonies and settlements with over sixteen functioning colonies over the last century, both religious and secular. According to Hine, these Californian utopian communities attempted to establish new social patterns that experimented with new cooperative forms of living. Burning Man, born out of the San Francisco community although moving to Nevada in 1990 is quintessentially a part of the Californian utopian trend. By examining past paradigms, it is not a coincidence that Burning Man is predominantly a West Coast, San Francisco generated phenomenon.
Historically, utopias have been known to be inherently ambiguous, impossible to achieve, impractical and unrealistic. As a result of World War One, the image of utopia has deteriorated significantly, and has even become a synonym for totalitarianism and fascism, " one person's utopian dream turns out to be another's nightmare. " The classic era of technological anti-utopias known as dystopias flourished between the 1920's and 1940's offering a much darker vision of the world from Huxley's Brave New World (1931) and Lang's Metropolis (1927), to Orwell's 1984 and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (1951). In 1967, Foucault coined the term " heterotopias ", counter-sites that can be " found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality ." Museums, libraries, zoos, and cemeteries are heterotopic spaces, " juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible ." Burning Man is not a dystopia but rather suspended betwixt and between a utopia and a heteropia. On one hand a "no-place", a construction and performance of new social ideals situated in a vast, open expanse of desert and yet a "someplace", a juxtaposition of multiple spaces, life-styles, social groups and patterns in one place. Utopian theorist, Rosabeth Kanter argues utopias are humankind's " deepest yearnings, noblest dreams and highest aspirations come to fulfillment" held together by commitment and cooperation that is self-created and self-chosen not imposed by the repressive apparatus of the state. Utopian societies perform the distance between things as they are and things as they should be . It is within this liminal utopian space where the agencies of "real" social change and transformation are rehearsed and staged. Larry Harvey, an advocate of community building insists Burning Man is a "complete" model of civilization. He wants participants to return home with the confidence that they can radically change the world and the contexts that surround them by living out their creativity and innermost visions.
Burning Man not only aligns with ideological utopian paradigms but also with spatial and geographical historical utopian models. In studying the spatial configurations of both More's utopian island Abraxa (1516) and Campanella's circular City of the Sun (1602), Black Rock City's architectural design seems hauntingly familiar. In Campanella's City of the Sun where no money or bartering was permitted, the city was " divided into seven huge rings or circles named for the seven planets, and each is connected with the next by four streets passing through four gates facing the four points of the compass ." The seven concentric rings echo the blueprint of Black Rock City's ephemeral urban infrastructure, divided by streets, avenues and intersections. In 1999, street names were introduced corresponding to the annual theme, Wheel of Time . The linear streets were modeled after a clock 2pm-10pm and the radial streets after the planets. Each year the street names change according to the theme: The Body , The Seven Ages of Man , find 2002 Beyond Belief , and Vault of Heaven .
Bagschik, Thorsten. Utopias in the English-speaking world and the perception of economic reality. 2 vols. Frankfurt am Main; New York: P. Lang, 1996. p.19
Foucault, Michael. Of Other Spaces (1967 ), Heterotopias HYPERLINK http://foucault.info [Assessed 04/20/04]
Eliav-Feldon, Miriam . Realistic utopias : the ideal imaginary societies of the Renaissance, 1516-1630 . Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, 1982. p.1
Harvey, Larry. Viva Las Xmas. Speech at Cooper Union, New York City. April 25, 2002. p.14
Negley, Glenn and J. Max Patrick. The Quest for Utopia: An Anthology of Imaginary Societies. New York: Henry Schuman, 1952. p.318
IMAGE 3. MORE'S SKETCH OF ABRAXA 1516 (Left)
IMAGE 4. BLUEPRINT OF BLACK ROCK CITY 2002 (Right)
IMAGE 5. BLUEPRINT OF BLACK ROCK CITY 2001
Similarly, in More's Utopia , the island Abraxa is " a circular island...shaped like a crescent moon- in fact a waxing moon ... It is circular, but within this large circle of land a second and smaller maritime circle is inscribed...It is hollowed out internally; before coming full circle, it creates another circle. This empty open space of the island in its center is an alvus- bowels, womb, or stomach ...It is a mapped, representative picture of the city on which place names are written: streets, recreational areas, squares, and esplanades. They are arranged from the perspective of seeing all possible routes and circuits at once... Free spaces are differentiated from constructed spaces. It is everywhere and nowhere simultaneously."
More's description of Abraxa almost word for word describes the map and layout of Black Rock City. Placing the More's 1516 sketch next to the 2001 blueprint of Black Rock City, the two are practically interchangeable. The small internal square describes the exact location of the central café, the "naval", the social hub of Black Rock City. At the end of the esplanade stretching out from the "naval" stands the Man, an eighty-foot effigy constructed out of wood and neon resting on an elaborate monolithic altar. The Man stands as a totemic presence in the center of city, serving as a navigational icon on the barren desert surface. What does the Man symbolize? Different things to different people; the Man is everything and nothing all at once. In discussing totems, Durkheim illustrates how a " territory is bound to the group by means of sacred objects- by means of images and is thought among other functions to hold a group together. For Durkheim, visual and tactile images are crucial to functioning societies serving as commodity fetishes and objects of worship.
At the climax of seven days in the harsh desert conditions, the Man is ritualistically burned followed by the incineration of the large wooden Temple constructed by David Best out of recycled jig-saw puzzle scraps the following night. Then the city vanishes, completely. Burning Man is a radical disappearing act evaporating into the ethers of the Internet, transforming into a virtual community three hundred and fifty-eight days of the year. Larry Harvey, proudly states, " We're committed to a Leave No Trace effort. We say Burning Man is a disappearing act. We miracle up an entire city, it lasts for one week, and then it absolutely disappears. And I mean, everything disappears; every sequin, every boa feather, every cigarette butt... There are no trashcans in our city. Think about that; a city with no trashcans ."
Marin, Louis. Utopics: spatial play. Atlantic Highlands, NJ; London: Humanities Press; Macmillan, 1984. p.102
Apter, Emily and William Pietz. (Ed) Fetishism as Cultural Discourse . Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993. Taussig, Michael. "Maleficium: State Fetishism." P.246
The Temple at Burning Man constructed by David Best.
Harvey, Larry. Viva Las Xmas. Speech at Cooper Union, New York City. April 25, 2002. p.2
IMAGE 6. NEON MAN. (Left)
IMAGE 7. MAN IN FLAMES. (Right)
Black Rock City is governed by what Harvey calls a "gift economy" where no vending, no advertising, no buying or selling of anything is permitted. Brand names need to be masked and he discourages bartering because even that is a commodity transaction. The entire city is constructed and maintained through an economic system of civic volunteerism of giving of time, creativity, talent, skills, and resources. Several fundamental laws common to utopian communities are no private property, public work, labor rotation, a money-free economy, and agriculture in order to be self-sustaining. Through investment of time and manpower participants feel a sense of belonging to the community. Communal orders represent major social experiments in which new or radical theories of human behavior, motivation, and interpersonal relations are put to the test. Utopian communities are social "laboratories" characterized for their spirit of experimentation where members are highly conscious of themselves as a community and of their role in history. They have a clear sense of their own boundaries, who belongs and who does not.
When Burning Man first started it was free to all participants, in 1996 entrance fee was $20 and now in 2004 tickets range from $165-$250. In 2004, over 12,000 tickets were sold in twenty-four hours the day they went on sale generating over two million dollars in less than a day. In 2001, the operating budget was $5,255,000 and has grown into a national regional network of satellite communities who spend all year preparing for the coming burn. Burning Man's infrastructure is now managed by the non-profit Black Rock City LLC with six core LLC members, senior staff members, and hundreds of volunteers working in the Fire Conclave, media department, print production, Department of Public Works, Black Rock Rangers, regional groups, art theme department, administration, center camp, documentation team, Black Rock Gazette, and web team. In 2001, the LLC published an AfterBurn Report giving a detailed break-down of expenses spent on the event; $300,000 on port-a-potties, over $100,000 on fire safety, $20,000 on law enforcement, over $500,000 on desert rental from the state of Nevada and numerous other expenses. These numbers, seemingly irrelevant reveal the economics and mechanics behind a "functioning" utopian experiment.
Kozinets, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management who is conducting a study of temporary communities such as Burning Man believes such a study informs " our understanding of the consumption meanings and practices surrounding specific gatherings, and the ways in which consumption meanings interrelate with other cultural meanings... Burning Man may help deepen and inform our understanding of these important, previously noted consumption phenomena ." In order to purify products, acts of decommodification are rehearsed at Burning Man such as customizing products, masking or transforming brand names, burning them, and turning commoditized products into gifts. The irony behind covering the logo on a Pepsi can is that you are still drinking a Pepsi and a consumer transaction took place at the supermarket before you entered the desert. In the transnational hyper-real world of flows, networks, high-speed Internet DSL lines and the multi-national corporate conglomerates, Debord's society of the spectacle is inescapable. Bombarded by the scopic regime of the mainstream, Burning Man attempts to escape into a world without logos and corporate sponsorship, yet the inherent contradiction of attempting to erase a product's surface illuminates the impossibility of ever really escaping the regime of the commodity. Everything we feel, touch, smell, eat and see is part of this invisible network of globalization and part of the decentralized governance of Empire. As Louis-Ferdinand Celine accurately remarks, " There is no escaping American business ."
The concept of Empire is characterized fundamentally by a lack of boundaries: " Empire's rule has no limits....Empire posits a regime that effectively encompasses the spatial totality that rules over the entire "civilized" world. No territorial boundaries limit its reign ." Arjun Appadurai captures the new quality of these decentralized structures with the " analogy of landscapes, finanscapes, technoscapes, ethnoscapes ." Burning Man functions as a futile attempt to "escape" the commodity and the reigns of the global empire of exchange. One participant interviewed by Kozinets remarked, " I'm walking around with no cash. I love that! It's great! It would certainly be idealistic if everything worked on a barter system- that would be beautiful. Of course, the real world doesn't operate like that but then again this isn't the real world. This is like an experiment, creating some semblance of utopia. " But consider the amount of cash that was spent before the interviewee-with-no-cash crossed the threshold into Black Rock's utopian universe. In my own experience, the preparation to enter "utopia" cost over $3000 between four people for airfares, entrance tickets, car rental, food, water, and camping gear. It costs money to create the temporary illusion of a commerce free world - utopia is an expensive endeavor.
William Morris in News from Nowhere (1890) argued that utopian concepts are bound to be failures because of their "lack of perception" about economic reality. According to Bagschik, every utopian system struggles with the fundamental economic problem of how to provide and sustain the community with necessary supplies. In the case of Burning Man participants fend for themselves and even buy tickets to enter into the ephemeral playground. Without an agricultural foundation or access to natural resources such as water to maintain and feed the community, ultimately Burning Man can never be a self-sustaining community. No matter how much it tries to escape, it is intimately bound to the economic reality of capitalism. As Hardt and Negri conclude, Empire's always rise and fall, if utopias are signs or signals of major social transformation perhaps Burning Man is a first indication, a symptom of this inevitable decline. According to historical paradigms, the inability of a utopian community to sustain itself would be the sure sign of failure but I would like to argue that in fact, Burning Man is a shining example, an incubator, and a social laboratory of how utopian ideals can perform alternatives within the realm of globalization. It is beyond the seven days in the desert that the seeds of an alternative way of living are planted into the everyday. Burning Man doesn't pretend to be self-sustaining and in fact celebrates its ephemerality and disappearance as a radical, political act. Burning Man rehearses and stages an alternative model of how the world "should" be within the limitations of how the world actually "is". Burning Man is quintessentially utopian full contradictions and ambiguities but without this radical, political and timely intervention, what other alternatives do we have?
Ibid. p.3/ p.9
Morgan, Arthur E. Nowhere was somewhere; how history makes utopias and how utopias make history. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1946. P45
Kanter, Rosabeth M. Commitment and community; communes and utopias in sociological perspective. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972. p.51
Burningman.com accessed 04/14/04
Kozinets, Robert V. (2002) " Can Consumers Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man ." In Journal of Consumer Research, 29, June 2002. p.1
Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000. P.370
Ibid. preface xiv
Kozinets, Robert V. (2002) " Can Consumers Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man ." In Journal of Consumer Research, 29, June 2002. p.6
Bagschik, Thorsten. Utopias in the English-speaking world and the perception of economic reality. 2 vols. Frankfurt am Main; New York: P. Lang, 1996. p.10
IMAGE 8. MAN SURROUNDED BY FIREWORKS. 2003
Apter, Emily and William Pietz. (Ed) Fetishism as Cultural Discourse . Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1993. Taussig, Michael. "Maleficium: State Fetishism." P.217-247
Baczko, Bronislaw. Utopian lights: the evolution of the idea of social progress. 1st American Ed. New York: Paragon House, 1989.
Bagschik, Thorsten. Utopias in the English-speaking world and the perception of economic reality. 2 vols. Frankfurt am Main; New York: P. Lang, 1996.
Debord, Guy. Society of the spectacle. Rev. ed. Detroit: Black & Red, 1977.
Donnelly, Dorothy F. Patterns of order and Utopia . 1st Ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.
Eliav-Feldon, Miriam . Realistic Utopias: the Ideal Imaginary Societies of the Renaissance, 1516-1630 . Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, 1982.
Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Harvey, Larry. Viva Las Xmas. Speech at Cooper Union, New York City. April 25, 2002.
Hine, Robert V. California's utopian colonies . 15 vols. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.
Kanter, Rosabeth M. Commitment and community; communes and utopias in sociological perspective. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972.
Kaufmann, Moritz. Utopias : or, Schemes of social improvement. Folcroft, Pa.: Folcroft Library Editions, 1972.
Kozinets, Robert V. (2002) " Can Consumers Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man ." In Journal of Consumer Research, 29, June 2002, pp.20-38.
Kozinets, Robert V. and John F. Sherry. (2002) " You will be Filled with Other: Constructing (Con) Temporary Community at Burning Man ."
Marin, Louis. Utopics: spatial play. Atlantic Highlands, NJ; London: Humanities Press; Macmillan, 1984.
Morgan, Arthur E. Nowhere was somewhere; how history makes utopias and how utopias make history. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1946.
Negley, Glenn and J. Max Patrick. The Quest for Utopia: An Anthology of Imaginary Societies. New York: Henry Schuman, 1952.
Niman, Michael I. People of the rainbow: a nomadic utopia. 1st ed. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997.
Parrington, Vernon L. American dreams: a study of American utopias. New York: Russell & Russell, 1964.
Plato, and Benjamin Jowett. Plato's Republic. New York: Modern Library, 1982.
Siebers, Tobin. Heterotopia: postmodern utopia and the body politic . Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.
St. John, Graham (Ed) Rave Ascension: Youth, Technoculture, and Religion. New York: Routledge, 2003. Kozinets, Robert V. and John F. Sherry (2003) " Dancing on Common Ground: Exploring the Sacred at Burning Man. "
Wells, H.G. A Modern Utopia . Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967.
Newspapers & Periodicals
Collier, Robert. Building A Community For Grieving At Burning Man. San Francisco Chronicle. Sept 9th, 2001.
Collier, Robert. Burning Man Shows Its Conscience: Temple of Joy Tribute to 9/11 Victims Highlights Arts Festival . San Francisco Chronicle. Sept 2nd, 2002.
Davis, Erik. Terminal Beach Party. The Burning Man, USA , 1995. Village Voice, October 31st, 1995. New York City.
Hamlin, Jesse. Arts Bash Adds Order to Anarchy/ New Nevada Site for Burning Man. San Francisco Chronicle, August 13th, 1997.
Haring, Bruce. Burning Man Elevates the Surreal to An Art. USA Today, August 28th, 1997. Arlington.
Marks, John. Burning Man Meets Capitalism. U.S.News & World Report; Washington; July 28th, 1997.
Nolte, Carl. The Burning Question At Black Rock . San Francisco Chronicle, December 1st, 1996.
Reed, Mack. Where the Wild Things Are . Los Angeles Times. September 4th, 1996. Black Rock Desert, Nevada. 1996.
Richler, Daniel. The Century In Flames . Saturday Night. Dec 1999/Jan 2000.
Sanders, Adrienne. Burning Patriotism . The San Francisco Examiner. September 3rd, 2002.
Stein, Joel. The Man Behind Burning Man . Time Magazine. Sept 18th, 2000. New York, 2000
La Vie Boheme: A History of Burning Man . Lecture by Larry Harvey
Foucault, Michael. Of Other Spaces (1967 ), Heterotopias HYPERLINK http://foucault.info [Assessed 04/20/04]
1. Thom va Os. 2003. www.vanos.com/bm/2003
3. Marin, Louis. Utopics: spatial play. Atlantic Highlands, NJ; London: Humanities Press; Macmillan, 1984. p.122
8. Photograph by George Post. http://members.fotki.com/naturalturn