Burning Slowly

Reflections from Burning Seed 2015
by Genevieve Sovereign, Slow School Community Manager

Yellow-grey dust clouds billow up and out into the gathering dusk. All across Red Earth City hundreds of feet tattoo their dancing, running, skipping farewell to a plummeting sun. Bass lines from dozens of theme camps manage somehow to complement rather than compete, harmonised by layers of laughter and questionably keyed karaoke. We’re all in this. Together.

Final traces of sunlight rebound from shiny thing to shiny thing – sweat beading a dancer’s arm, metalwork pieces near the Third Aid Station, waves rippling gently between rushes in the festival ground’s central pond.

There’s no trading here, proclaims the informational booklet for Burning Seed 2015, no bartering. Only gifting. Vending is strictly prohibited, as is the display or distribution of promotional material. Anyone caught flashing a brand will be severely frowned upon and asked to cover up. These are the only indecent exposure rules in effect at this event dedicated entirely to radical self-expression.

LEDs in every electric rainbow shade adorn crowd and artwork alike, dispelling the darkness as twilight deepens. A parade of fire dancers twirl time forward for us, to the long-awaited moment of ignition.

Radical economics, hey? Conceptual prefix for ideas so far outside business-as-usual that modern parlance otherwise struggles to make accessible. Like “quantum theory” or “the pursuit of enlightenment” – frequently exercised placeholders for thoughts “other people understand better than I do.”

Gifting is the only form of transaction permitted here. “You to me” and “me to you” are subsumed by “us within the here and now.” No further expectation. No onus. How radical.

The moment arrives. Flares burst suddenly from a multistory wooden effigy’s gaze, downturned at the model world held captive in its grasp. Beneath its feet, a great blaze erupts and begins slowly to climb. Creeping up the support beams, flame works its inexorable alchemy.

We, each and all, bring the gift of ourselves to this world. Our talents. Our striving. Our learnings and perspectives. Our choices.

Smoke billows up and out into the night, embers dancing briefly overhead among the stars. Fire consumes the effigy, crawling up its arms to engulf the model world it embraces.

In the crowd, we contribute ourselves to the here and now. Our presence and understanding pass between us – strangers who really aren’t strangers after all. Together we watch a blaze in this dusty Australian landscape that’s awakening seeds too-long dormant.




Genevieve Sovereign
Community Manager – The Slow School of Business



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