Students showcase “Burning Man” presentation

Victoria Briggs, Staff Writer

Senior theatre majors Katelyn Lamb and Matt Atkins gave a presentation on Wednesday,
October 30 at 4:00 p.m. in the Cauthen Educational Media Center (CEMC) concerning their
experience at “Burning Man,” a weeklong event in Black Rock City, NV that they attended in
early fall 2013.
According to the website, Burning man is an annual experiment and temporary community
dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.
Atkins, who is also a Spanish major, explained why he decided to attend the Burning Man
event and what he gained from the experience.
“I attended Burning Man to gain a better understanding of myself and learn how to be a
better person,” Atkins said.
He also stated that previous presentations and student accounts of their experiences helped
him choose to attend Burning Man.
In the presentation, Lamb and Atkins explained that during the week, participants live at a
camp of their choice. The camps are different themes including a dance camp and Barbie death
camp. The pair also explained that each year Burning Man has a different theme, usually
focusing on something historic or philosophical. This year’s theme was Cargo Cult, a metaphor
for how technology rules us.
The presentation included a slide show that showed photos of the duo experiencing the
events and meeting new people during the trip. A video was also shown highlighting their most
memorable moments of the trip.
According to Atkins and Lamb, Burning Man got its name because at the end of each event a
life size wooden man is burned. This represents letting go and moving on, a message the two
spoke on throughout the presentation.
Lamb, senior theatre major, explains what she got from attending Burning Man and why she
chose to go.
“For me Burning Man was a spiritual journey for peace and help shape what I believe”, Lamb
Like Atkins, Lamb also said that she decided to attend Burning Man based on stories she
heard from other theatre majors.
For someone who didn’t know what Burning Man was, Lamb and Atkins said they presented
the presentation mainly for them.
Janil Seegars, junior english/spanish major, had always heard about the presentation , but
never seen it. She thought it was cool and also came to support Lamb and Atkins.
Dr. Dawn Larson, associate professor of theatre, is responsible for hand selecting the students
who get to attend as well starting the program. Larson was able to get a FMU real grant for
experiential learning. She believes you can’t get more experiential learning than this.
According to Larson, about 60,000 people usually attend the annual event. Larson explained
that many artists of the fine arts disciplines come from all over the world to attend the event.
Larson has had the grant since 2009, but as of next year it will no longer be available. Larson
hopes to have the grant back in the following years to continue the experiential learning.