Annual report 2018 of Ukrainian Burners NGO

In our opinion, every public organization has to publish annual reports on the results of its work. We would like to present the results of the first official active year of the Ukrainian burner community. These results should not be taken as a boast of achievements, nor as reflection on the past. We do this solely for the purpose of being accountable to those, who support the existence of our community.

At the beginning of 2018 we held the Kurenivka Afterpartywhere we realized that we had a community forming. More than 60 people came to the party; they, along with hundreds of friends, later became part of the first official Ukrainian camp at Burning Man. That evening, we could not stop chatting with each other; it was very fun, warm and sincere!

The next important date was March 5, 2018, when we received the registration documents of the non goverment organization “Ukrainian Burners”. The founders were eight members of Kurenivka camp: Ella Vasilevskaya, Vika Denisyuk, Yaroslav Dyakiv, Yevhen Zasutsky, Yaroslav Korets, Oleksii Novikov, Olexander Ovsyanko and Irina Fartuh. The NGO was formed in order to sign an agreement with the headquarters of Burning Man for the right to hold the official regional event “Precompression: Dreams of AI”.

On May 29, the Precompression Kyiv, event took place and created an aftertaste of the magical Burners atmosphere. What we managed to do with dozens of volunteers was a surprise for everyone: friends who traveled with us to Burning Man in 2017, the Burner community from neighboring countries, Ukrainian artists, musicians, city partiers, and, frankly – for ourselves. Noone has ever thought that we would be able to recreate the unique spirit and atmosphere of Burning Man in Ukraine.
The next goal was to participate in “Burning Man: I Robot”. We planned to return to the playa with the Kurenivka camp and make the camp smaller in size but bigger in content.

During preparation for Burning Man, another significant event occurred: we started our cooperation with the Ukrainian government. It’s possible that Ukraine is the first country in the history of Burning Man to be allocated a grant to create art objects in Black Rock City. We brought two art projects to the playa: “Ai.Tlants”,, which was financed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Information Policy, and “SORRY“, financed by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We consider this to be a bright example of positive change in our country, which forms a favorable image of Ukraine in the international cultural community.

Black Rock City met us with the worst weather conditions of the last 7 years: building the camp during strong winds and virtually zero visibility, we felt like a sad group of monkeys trying to colonize Mars. In addition to its art projects, the Kurenivka group:

  • built a dance floor (with a bar which served Ukrainian liqueurs)

  • fed about a hundred burners dinner every night

  • brought an art car

  • held a workshop on casting of tin office soldiers

  • held a “Fake ICO” party.

It was a radically challenging yet enchantingly fun Burning Man experience for our community.

The next event,  Decompression Kyiv: U Augment US., was equally challenging. The initial idea was to make a several-thousand person rave in an ultra-modern location, filled with 3D art and augmented reality. However, the venue unexpectedly needed to be changed with just two weeks before the event. It was no longer a turnkey operation; instead, we were now in a complex location without heating or sewage. In just two weeks, a team of a hundred volunteers created the necessary infrastructure out of nothing, and filled it with a water supply, heating, a dressing room, a street perimeter, a dance floor in a tent brought from the playa, dozens of art objects, a conference hall, a bar, and five dance areas. That night, we enjoyed the smiling faces of participants from ten countries.

Well, that was our year: cheery, bright, unusual, interesting, and very challenging. However, the most important thing is that during each of these adventures, we found more and more like-minded individuals: interesting, talented, intelligent, resourceful, extraordinary. I am very pleased with every new member of the community, and I am glad that the 10 principles of Burning Man have become a magnet that attracts the best people in the world – people with whom even the most Napoleonic plans seem achievable!

 

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