To Start It Only Takes a Spark

To start, it sometimes takes as little as receiving call from abroad with your friend’s voice on the other side and waterfall of words you hope you understand right. “I found great place, it is in nature, has enough space, they do festivals there and we can grow up to 2000 people. It is on the Austrian-Czech border. Let’s start the Central European Burn.” And your answer? Why of course “OK, let’s do it”.

This happened last Autumn and I can’t swear he said it like this word for word, but it is pretty close. It took 8 months and around 150 people from 12 countries gathered in Austrian countryside surrounded by fields and forest with a cold stream running in the middle.

Pirate ship at Spark
Pirate ship at Spark

Three days event with two days of preparations on site (and the eight months before over emails, Skype and calls, hours and hours of work) brought a bunch of creative people who share their love of Burning Man Principles and culture, and on a smaller scale recreated the thing we called Home. Because the reason we put ourselves through months of work and planning and sleepless nights is: we want to have Home closer to our homes.

When I arrived there was already Gate running and after some greetings, hugging and spanking, I jumped through the gate yelling Spaaark as loud as I could. And the world of magic opened in front of me. There was huge pirate ship with a swing and silk hanging down for acrobats. There was a treehouse on little island in the middle of the river and mud bath right behind our tents.

Workshop schedule at Spark
Workshop schedule at Spark

There was full timetable of workshops and performances from Japanese dance, shibari, human car-ass wash, screen writing to pimp your own cup. There was a cow with crazy projections. There was an installation of a camera which took pictures and shuffled them on three screens. The camera was supposed to take the picture every 30 seconds or so and after 20 minutes in front of we just didn’t figure out what the camera is really doing. I think the art project was actually to watch the people waiting for the pictures appearing on the screens. Funny.

Interactive art installation by Dawn, which tricked me to stand in front of it for ages:)
Interactive art installation which tricked me to stand in front of it for ages.

And there was this white dome with mini(do)me inside and I had to wait until the darkness to come to really see this interactive masterpiece of lights. I was actually rushing to bathroom when I saw it in all its blinkiness and said to myself, let’s stop for a minute. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking. I spent over 30 minutes (until my bladder was screaming out loud already) playing as a kid with the mini-dome, because by touching it you could change not only the light pattern and speed, but also the colors. It was like DJing the lights on the cutest mini(do)me ever and when you looked up, the big dome was shadowing the mini(do)me.

Mini dome by Mephy Kling and mini-participant.
Mini dome by Mephy Kling and mini-participant.

We talked about Burning Man a lot and how to bring it home and how to repeat and improve this event for next year and involve more people and have more art and our brains were working all the time. It took a spark on the phone and Spark happened with everything that one could expect from such an event.

And then, at the end, during packing, pirates attacked the ship, but they didn’t see this coming (none of us did). A troop of mud people surfaced out of nowhere and fought them off and it was epic.

About the author: Misa Rygrova

Misa has been burning since 2010. She learned about Burning Man by accident on internet and is dust addict ever since she stepped on playa. She started to volunteer as Regional Contact for Czech Republic and Eastern Europe, is helping the Regional Network and in 2015 became the first Burning Man Project Fellow. She is based in Prague in Europe and makes sure Europe keeps Burning. Misa also loves to wear black and volunteer with Gate, Perimeter & Exodus. Her name should be written with diacritics, but it usually breaks computers...let's try it... Míša (pronounced as Misha or Meesha).

One comment on “To Start It Only Takes a Spark

  • Misa! You rock. Thanks for writing this! Makes me cry and happy and proud and warm and cuddly and feeling home.

    You are right, the words in the first paragraph are pretty much exactly what I said. By now, I think since we know the Seedcamp/Kautzen/Spark location better, I would estimate that it does not hold 2000 people (as is). But it will be our home for the coming years :-)

    Looking forward to 2016.

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