A Nation of Makers: Burning Man at the White House

At the White House this week, President Obama is hosting makers of all stripes to present the ways they’re welding, programming, sculpting, building and teaching our way into the future. The program is called A Nation of Makers, and it coincides with the National Maker Faire in Washington, D.C. You can watch the kickoff event, featuring presentations and panels on this exciting work, live now:

Last year, on June 18, President Obama hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire and challenged “every company, every college, every community, every citizen [to] join us as we lift up makers and builders and doers across the country.” This administration sees the maker movement as a national priority.

Over 100 U.S. cities have taken a Maker Cities pledge, developing maker spaces, redesigning education along the lines of participation, STEM and civic participation, and engaging citizens in the co-creation of their cities. This effort will be expanded this year as cities work together in an emerging Open Innovation network to pursue these goals. All of this will be a centerpiece of announcements during the National Week of Making.

That all makes good enough sense, but… Burning Man at the White House? Really??

Messaging by Mac Maker, made of recycled found objects

Messaging by Mac Maker, made of recycled found objects

In fact, organizers of this White House maker stuff tell us that Burning Man comes up often in their work as an example of some of the best aspects of making and the American experience. Burning Man is a federation of wildly diverse groups of people who come together to celebrate that diversity, the powerful and different personal expressions within it, and the shared values underlying all of it.

It’s kind of like a microcosm of the United States that way.

Burning Man and the U.S. share this element of experimenting with unprecedented models of community, which requires constant innovation and reinvention. Since our earliest days on Baker Beach, we’ve seen how that effort starts with the maker spirit. It’s inspiring to see that spirit catching on at the highest levels of government.

Burning Man has been turning up its civic maker efforts lately, too. Burning Man Arts does more than provide grants for art projects in Black Rock City. It reaches out to communities globally that would never come to Burning Man and gives grants to kindred interactive civic art projects to catalyze new communities. And Burners Without Borders sends our culture’s talented makers, builders and fixers into areas stricken by poverty or disaster to provide relief efforts. They help local grassroots movements solve their own problems with sustainable solutions.

So that’s why the White House invited Burning Man to participate in this year’s National Week of Making. We’ve got staff on the ground in D.C. this week, and they’ll be reporting back. Stay tuned.

Top photo courtesy of the White House

About the author: Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man Project's Communications Team.

4 Comments on “A Nation of Makers: Burning Man at the White House

  • Sammy says:

    >…a federation of wildly diverse groups of people who come together to celebrate that diversity

    What kind of diversity? Certainly not ethnic diversity.

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  • Pajamas says:

    >no one can represent you but you

    Do-ocracy is bullshit. It’s some kind of hipster anarchist fantasy where everyone pulls their weight. Next time you’re at BM take note of the percentage of people who actually pull their weight, it’s roughly 20% and those people also provide for the other 80%.

    In a prolonged do-ocracy, those 20% would bail on the other 80% after a week or so (after the dead weight is identified), and let the 80% actually feed off each other to lower their numbers to decrease the threat level.

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    • d says:

      whah, if you dont like it and want to complain about it, don’t come. I suppose you just happen to be in the 20 % that do it all for everybody else? if it bothers you, then don’t DO it. like she said, do it for yourself, do it for others, or don’t do it, but complaining ? please, dont do it….meanwhile, I’m gonna keep doing it.

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