Friday, January 23, 2015
Burning Man 2014: Spontaneous Play with Light-up Frisbees and Balls
One night, my brother Daniel, aka Fango, and I saw some of the large-scale sound camps along the outer edges of the city. Having had our fun, we were starting to head home along the Esplanade, the main drag of the city. Up ahead, we saw, among the mishmash of colored lights, a particular group of lights that seemed to be moving around independently. Getting closer, we saw they were Frisbees, all lit, presumably with LED's, which would slowly cycle through the color spectrum. People were flinging the disks back and forth, and they remained lit, creating a beautiful effect of flying and hovering colored lights. We felt the joy rising in us, and soon ran to join the fun. There was some camp hosting this party, who had supplied the disks, and participants were running in from every side, drawn by the dancing lights and the sound of playful laughter. We would chase the disks, attempting to catch them in this wide-open expanse, and throw them back towards the host camp.
After a bit of this, they came out with another toy: a set of softball-sized rubber balls, also lit from within and cycling colors. These they simply threw out towards the playa, and they bounced and rolled far on that flat surface, being chased and thrown back by participants. With about a hundred objects flying, bouncing, and rolling all over, there was always something to chase. No rules were needed, except the idea of keeping the toys in the general play area, throwing them back towards the camp.
This was classic Burning Man: Spontaneous, simple, but irresistibly compelling. We moved on after a time, panting from the exercise.