Forest Interface & a Spirituality with Strangers
Deep in the woods of the district Östergötland, in the middlepart of south Sweden, I participated in my very first “burn”, last week. The event was called Forest Interface and was hosted by musician and religion scholar Jonatan Bäckelie and his project “Subsecular Arts” (http://www.subsecular.com).
Following the line of flight developed by other Burning Man events, and the “participatory culture” that those usually entails, the 35 of us at Forest Interface talked philosophy, danced, ate and created things together.
The location was perfect for the occasion. And many of us probably felt that the environment contributed at least as much as “the activities” to the burn.
Now, what is the point of a 48-h burn like Forest Interface?, you may ask. Really, there is no point. It is utterly pointless in the finest sense of the word. Sense is created, or rather the point is to create sense together. To be creative and participate in other creative spaces.
Of course, this kind of meeting releases a lot of pressure of creating something "new" and also the purpose of creation. Of course something new is happening, and of course something isn't. An event, like Forest Interface, is in the end the sum of all parts and people creating the event together; nothing more, nothing less.
So, some of us talked about philosophy and especially the philosophy of Deleuze, and others about participatory culture... and others about this.... and about that.... It didn't really lead anywhere, there was no goal and still all conversations created "a whole", of some kind. A creative mess.
In this sense, Forest Interface made me think about the convergence of things and people and the importance to let things fall apart and collide. It was not an utopian gathering. But creating things, eating and dancing and... and... with strangers does instill a sense of hope in me. Not unlike going to communion or the gurdwara, a "burn" like this is really a spiritual sort of event. Spiritual in the sense of creating and participating in a whole that cannot be reduced to any individual member of that whole. It is, for me, a spiritual activity to come together with strangers and "do" things or let things happen.
If god is, god is in creation and creating. Especially with strangers.