Even more background, I think everyone should read this. It answers alot of questions I had about it...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: LadyBee <email@example.com>
Date: Sep 13, 2006 4:22 PM
Subject: [staff] Those Belgians!!
Since everyone keeps asking me about the funding for the Belgian project, I
thought I'd put out this post with the information that I have.
The Belgians sent us a grant proposal last winter, but the cost was
prohibitive, and we didnt' fund it. Later in the spring three of the group
members came to the office and presented their project to us. They told us
it was being funded by a guy named Jan Kriekels, who had come to Burning
Man in 2005, loved it, and wanted to create an installation. We went over
basic logistics, and then didn't hear much from them. They ordered a huge
amount of tickets and they arrived on the playa on the first day possible,
August 14, and started building.
Here's the story that was told to me by Arne Quinze, the project designer.
(Arne and Jan met a year or two ago and decided to use some of their
business profits to fund community based art projects).
Arne was a high school dropout who lived in the streets for a while,
stealing food and falling under the influence of an older Hell's Angels
guy, who got him into serious drugs and street crime. After a short stay in
a local jail, Arne decided to start a design business and got loans from
the Belgian government to do so. He invented a foam product with the
texture of human skin, in many colors, that is hugely popular. He is not a
trained architect or designer and does not use CAD or any computer programs
to do his designs - just draws them. He has become very successful and if
you look at his
< http://quinzeandmilan.be/index.html>http://quinzeandmilan.be/index.html -
you'll see the range of work he does - interiors, furniture, graphics, on
and on. You can see the foam product in some of the furniture. So he's a
34-year old tattoo covered freak who has managed to become one of the most
popular designers in Europe. He's been selected to be the artist of the
year at the upcoming Basel-Miami Art Fair. He believes in chaos theory,
community, and collaboration, and he and Jan do these sorts of art projects
all over the world, once or twice a year.
Here's a bit about
Jan Kriekels studied anthropology and he told me that his basic life
question is: What truly makes people happy? One thing is warmth - hence he
started a radiator business-
< http://www.jaga.be/Default.aspx>http://www.jaga.be/ - which features
literally thousands of designs, as all of his employees get to design
radiators and all are put into production. Jan does not believe in top-down
management, and empowers his staff to create designs and to work on
projects like the Message Out of the Future, as well as many others: see
. Half of the Belgian group on the playa were factory workers, all on their
usual at-home salary, and the other half were artists, designers, sales
people, photographers, etc. Jan wanted to put everyone together in this
situation to foster collaboration and community. He and Arne believe in
what they call " the creative economy" where every person is empowered to
So Jan and Arne financed the whole project. In addition to the Message Out
of the Future installation, they are creating 50, 000 full-length books on
the project, each of which will contain a DVD of the film made at the
event. They are gifting these books to their creative contacts worldwide,
in an effort to promote the creative economy. We expect to see many more
European participants next year because of this.
You'll note that no corporate logos, URL's, or any mention of these two
companies was made on the playa, nor are their businesses promoted in the
project website www.uchronians.org. This is
truly a gift to Burning Man as well as to all of the Belgians who
participated in the project. Their mission is identical to that of Burning
Man : creating community through art-making. And yes, the wood they used
was low-quality Canadian wood destined for recycling, and they had an
adequate burn platform.
I hope many of you had a chance to visit their camp, where there were
nightly dinners, films and music. They worked tirelessly but welcomed
everyone to their camp and seemed to love Burning Man. Would that all
corporate moguls had their vision!!!
Christine Kristen aka LadyBee
Art Curator, Burning Man
415.865.3800 X 106