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Burning Man, Chaos or Community?

Broadcast on Channel 4 in 2000 this was one of the first documentary films about the relevance of the now infamous Burning Man festival held annually on an ancient lake-bed in the desert of Nevada, USA.

The film explores the thin line between community and chaos, collective creativity and individualism, and ultimately our innate desires for freedom.

The Burning Man Festival has grown from a small group of people gathering spontaneously to a community of over 48,000 people. There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event – rather, it is up to each participant to decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community. By the time the event is completed and the volunteers leave, there will be no trace of the city that was. Art is an unavoidable part of this experience, and in fact, is such a part of the experience that Larry Harvey, founder of the Burning Man Project, gives a theme to each year, to encourage a common bond to help tie each individual’s contribution together in a meaningful way. Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive, whether it is through a large-scale art installation, a theme camp, gifts brought to be given to other individuals, costumes, or any other medium that one chooses.