People often come to Burning Man to enjoy the freedom. They stay, however, and contribute more each year, because of the community. In 2001, this feeling of connectedness inspired everyone. More people than ever before contributed to our cleanup. More people found it satisfying to participate as civic volunteers. They have followed down a path that we have tried to pioneer, organizing and planning over the span of an entire year in order to produce expressive gifts that they contribute to the life of our community.
In previous years, we have confronted many problems in the aftermath of the event: the blight of burn scars, the challenge of exodus, and the notorious state of our portable toilets. This year saw these problems all but disappear. We have learned how to make a city. None of this would have happened if we had not grown more organized. And it certainly would never have happened if our citizens had not embraced participation as a way of life. They have internalized an ethos, a unique way of being together. This is a spirit we will continue to foster. Having grown expert in the art of creating a city, we now plan to extend its culture.
In 2002, we want to reach beyond the horizon of our event and begin to do things that will nourish a much larger community. We will develop Black Rock Station as a resource that is available to all participants. Many of our artists and theme camp groups now engage in efforts that are equal to the entirety of Burning Man in its earlier years. Like our own organization, they now need storage and workshop facilities near our event site. They want to expand on what they have built. And they are ready to do more.
In addition to this logistical support for event participants, we also want to help the many groups that are beginning to exist independently of Black Rock City. As planners and communicators, we are aware of many events that participants have founded in emulation of Burning Man. Using our system of regional contacts, people are meeting and planning and learning to look at their particular corner of the world in a new way. In 2002, we plan to create new tools and offer more information designed help this Diaspora organize itself. We will produce a manual, a kind of “Do It Yourself” kit, designed to function as a template for creating and organizing community events, and we intend to meet more frequently with those who undertake this work. As a part of this mission, we are also planning to greatly expand and improve the Internet and computer tools we have innovated. We want to make these tools more available and more connective so that everyone can make use of them.
2002 will see another Man built and another Man burned. Black Rock City will rise up again, even greater than before, then disappear without a trace. But this coming year will also witness the inception of a larger and more meaningful event. It is ready to happen. Soon it will no longer be necessary to count each day until, once again, you “come home”. You will already be there. Black Rock City, as we continue to say, is you.