The discussion of this thesis questions, how can architecture serve as a mechanism to facilitate escapism, in the content of taking Burning Man Festival (the previous Art Pavilion Work ) as a temporary city/short period event/action of anti-capitalism to study, also, the city as a utopian city where base on New Babylon thesis. The context from which utopia is explored is through energy and housing crisis in 2017 and the future.
We all try to escape from it, in many ways.
Mega-social-events are the epitome of contemporary escapism, the contemporary escapism can be defined as the avoidance of unpleasant, boring, arduous, scary, despair or banal aspects of daily life, it can also be used as a term to define the actions people take to help relieve persisting feelings of depression or general sadness, even to avoiding tragedy. Such actions serve as a channel from which audiences can retreat from mundane, conventional lifestyles by immersing themselves into a shared, collective experience. In short, I argued that due to certain reason, burner and refugee unavoidably flee from their habitat, and, this unavoidability may cause by self-aware-awaken and others interest conflict.
Further investigation into the question forms a themed theoretical discourse around the temporary architecture, or enclosure and the escapism provided by ornamentation. The question is not restricted to the current architectural context and is discussed and ordered throughout different contexts or circumstances. The investigation departs from two mega-social-scale events gradually focussing to the macro and micro theories, ending on a site contextual level.
Burning Man’s Money
Consumerism, capitalism, decommodification and the digital world forced the people to re-think the fundamental value of a citizen. However, the burning man festival can be argued as a utopia of modern society. Oscar Wilde famously argued that “a map of the world that does not include utopia is not worth even glancing at”. In the 16th century, the dream of an ideal world coincided with a new age in European thought. The quest for Utopia and the urge to discover new horizons led to unprecedented levels of creativity. Utopia as an ideology of hope, a hope for an unsatisfied citizen, but, it often been criticized on unrealistic. Nevertheless, in contrast to the common recent view of utopian thinking as moribund and even dangerous, some commentators now proclaim that a revitalized utopian tradition can help us engage with ‘some of the fundamental issues facing humanity’ and fuel the imagination with new possibilities for the future. In other words, during the week of the festival, it is the time for unsatisfied urbaner to explore their true desires and try to establish their own rituals, and, therefore, free their mind. To a certain degree, both the burner and they all simply try to pursue their own dream. Question remain, could utopian plans and manifestos give a similar boost to contemporary-temporary-utopia city?
The differences between burner and refugee, however, the burner, they live in the rule of capitalism city for 51 weeks, this period as a preparation of escape, it often associates with burning man society which keeps the idea of “burning man spirit” spread. Then, escape from the city to the wilderness, to “participate” the festival, for a week-long therapy, an expensive therapy, through the action of radical self-expression, through creative self-reliance. The notions of a dialogue between stay and change, encapsulates the cognitive and physical experience, which awakens though ‘Escape’, escape from the unjust, unfair, high pressure and high taxing capitalism society, heading to the paradise society. (Capitalism is mainly manifested as private investment and private management, the endless pursuit of profit and capital accumulation for the purpose of production, while capitalism is also a social form.) Yet capitalists also unironically love Burning Man, and to anyone who has followed the recent history of Burning Man, the idea that it is at all anticapitalist seems absurd.
And black rock city becomes the metaphysical space where the situations of enclosure and escapism accumulate in multiple forms, a place where man’s perceptions of authenticity and reality are challenged. To a certain degree, architecture as Escapism presents the postcapitalism theoretical debate regarding representation in the current age of production and consumerism, where the authenticity of knowledge and information plays a vital role. In 2015, Paul Mason state that there is no limit to the number of times a mp3 file or a film is copied, an e-book distributed or a string of programming code replicated. This is mean that value can be created independently not only of raw material, but also of the labour hitherto required to transform it into a saleable commodity. By exploiting the networks made available by the internet and telecommunications more generally, humans can now engage in constructive, apparently social labour across distant geographies, and they can do so as an appendage to their workplace activities.
For the situationists, they were always a bit ideologically opaque, one of their core beliefs was that cities had become oppressive slabs of consumption and labor, and needed to be reimagined as places of play and revolt. Participation sounds egalitarian, but it leads to some interesting contradictions. The most elaborate camps and spectacles tend to be brought by the rich because they have the time, the money, or both, to do so. Burning Man reinforces and fosters the idea that they can remake the world without anyone else’s input. It’s a rabid libertarian fantasy, an extreme escapism action, though, therefore, become free. The ten principals indicate that they have the power and right to make a society for all of us, to determine how things should be. This is the reason that high-powered capitalists, and especially capitalist libertarians, love Burning Man so much. It heralds their ideal world: one where vague notions of participation replace real democracy. It is a society that they find themselves living in “the default world” for 51 weeks(a term Burners use to describe the period of lives off-Playa), and dreaming and waiting for the week to live “on the Playa”(it is to describe the festival grounds), then, escape.
The extreme situation: political refugee
Today’s refugee crisis is the biggest since World War II, and it’s growing. Now, 60 million people had been forcefully displaced from their homes by conflict and war. The political formalization of our planet’s surface into territories through the nation-building process assigned every human to a specific territory. This organized the world nicely and granted the people within the territories with specific rights. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US ruling elite concluded that it was free to exploit America’s unrivaled military might as a means of offsetting US capitalism’s long-term economic decline.The US invasion of Iraq caused the rise of ISIS. The group started out as an insurgency against the Americans but they weren’t very successful and they retreated to Syria during the revolution.
However, the civil war in middle-east can be seen as the biggest conflict in the twenty-first century, citizen forced to flee their country for surviving. In the other word, the force of capitalism caused this difficult situation, and it unreversible.
The Same situation happened in the United State America, the Burning Man Festival, the community explores various forms of artistic self-expression, created in celebration for the pleasure of all participants. Participation is a key precept for the community – selfless giving of one’s unique talents for the enjoyment of all is encouraged and actively reinforced. In the great United State of America, the capitalism and industrialization indeed benefit human civilization in many aspects, spanning from agricultural age to modern age. However, the pursuit of individual self-interest is indispensable in the capitalism. And, competition results from scarcity, there is never enough to satisfy all conceivable human wants and occurs “when people strive to meet the criteria that are being used to determine who gets what”. The capitalist sees man as a “labor and property”, like a machine. Individual perspective erased by the whole industrialize and capitalize process, and urban environment and a man’s daily life been unified to a similar scenario.
Thus, a man hunger for radical self-express. A creative self-reliance is needed. “Decommodification” and “gifting” can be seen as therapy of capitalism, in order to free from the boring ordinary life.For whom, they have the opportunity to “purchase” week-long experimental treatments.On the other side, they do not have the pleasure time to enjoy the experiences, but run away from their own habitat.