The geek factor at Flipside: not too high
At that time I had been reading too much of Wired magazine, because it was probably there that I saw Burning Man described as an event that showcases innovative uses of technology. I’ve even read that Google’s founders had come to Burning Man in the past to seek out innovators (perhaps not with an explicitly pragmatic purpose such as hiring them or funding their startups, but still). So I guess I incorrectly inferred that Flipside must be the same way — that it must have a high geek factor. Not that I expected anything like a consumer electronics trade show, but still, I thought, if Sergey and Larry were impressed, then I, a mere mortal, should be bowled over!
Well… I guess Sergey and Larry would have been a tad bit disappointed by Flipside in that respect. I can’t say the geek factor here was high. This could be illustrated by a brief conversation I had with a guy who went by nickname “Dirac”. He was very impressed that I knew that the most famous bearer of that name was a physicist. You are only the third person here who knew it, he said. Oh well. He then said he had a fondness for Dirac delta function, which is equal to infinity at x=0, and zero everywhere else. This prompted my friend P to geek out about how Dirac delta function is used in signal processing, but “Dirac” quickly defused the danger of brain straining by offering a “philosophical” interpretation of this mathematical construct. For you see, you can interpret this function as saying that only this moment is important, whereas the future and the past do not really exist. Uh-uh.
I got an impression that whatever technology was displayed at this event, it was mostly to serve as party decorations. Decorations for what was essentially a 24-hour techno music party.
Here are more pictures from the burn.
A person in a shiny, metallic teal costume, with teal hair
People in costumes, with helmets and capes, awaiting the burn
A white pyramid called the Merkaba temple. It sat in the central area near the effigy.
A white mesh pyramid with a hat, sitting in the central area near the effigy
A person in a rabbit costume awaits the burn
A fire spinner named Warlock performs before the burn
A firespinner spins a fire hoop. (Her name may be Melissa or Missy.) Before the burn, firespinners danced around the effigy and performed their fire-spinning feats.
A fire spinner named Travis performs before the burn
A firespinner named Anna spins a hoop
A guy named Spot blows fire out of his mouth, performing before the burn.
The burn starts. Effigy catches fire.
Here are some pictures of how the effigy looked before the burn:
The flames of the burning effigy grow higher. Its face is that vague cello shape that you see in the fire.
The burning effigy from further back
A person in a multicolored costume with a fringe skirt
A person named Kimberly in fairy wings and pink umbrella
A person in a headdress and mask of red feathers
P and M in her costume watching the burn
P and M kiss while Rome — err, the effigy — burns.
A striped-and-checkered outfit
A person in an undescribable costume, with lots of fringe
A structure with colorful hanging fabrics somewhere near the main square where the effigy was.
A Flipizen under Merkaba temple. The Merkaba temple can also be seen a few images back.