Every year, tens of thousands of people descend upon the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada to let their “freak flags fly” (as the kids say) at the annual Burning Man Festival — a gathering of like-minded, drug-friendly “burners” looking for a temporary, communal, hippy-dippy shantytown complete with giant art installations, barter systems, and, of course, an Orgy Dome. And who wouldn’t wanna miss something like that in this Age of Coronavirus?
As a solution, a group of organizers recently announced Take Me To Your Burn: a virtual reality Burning Man experience taking the place of this year’s in-person gathering, which was previously cancelled due to, y’know, everything. And, hey, wouldn’t you know it? The promos for the “experience” is all kinds of weird and ridiculous.
Blockchain Burners — The event will be hosted through Somnium Space, a persistent, open world VR space akin to Second Life and employing Etherium blockchain technology, and take place from August 31st through September 7th. Those of us without fancy PC rigs and Oculus Rifts can still attend, however, since the site describes “2D access” and a “Live stream platform.”
“‘Take Me to your Burn’ started as a bold initiative to gather some of the best visual crypto artists in a virtual world...,” explains the TMTYB website. “We wanted to give them an opportunity to show their art to Burners around the world in these crazy COVID times, but the Burning Man spirit took over the project and rapidly expanded to [a] fully immersive and interactive virtual festival on its own.”
One of many digital burner bashes — The VR festival promises over 250 live acts and DJ sets, more than 70 digital artist installations, along with “holistic workshops, seminars, spiritual ceremonies, and handcraft sessions” at various digital locations throughout Somnium Space. Alternatives to an in-person Burning Man have been in the works for a few months now, ever since it became pretty clear to everyone that throwing 70,000 sweaty, half-naked, drug-addled ravers together in the middle of the desert for a week probably wasn’t compliant with the bare minimum of CDC guidelines.
There are currently a number of different, Burner-related virtual events taking place to assuage those currently stranded across the “multiverse” without a dusty rave on lands adjacent to concerned Indigenous populations, but Take Me To Your Burn appears to be the most expansive attempt yet at mirroring Burning Man in a digital landscape... which is a nice thing, we suppose.