Art and Survival: Radical Creation at Burning Man (Graduate Studio MFA 7167) 
Faculty: Carolyn Cooke, Louie Jenkins, and Ryan Tacata
California Institute of Integral Studies (SF) and University of Chichester (UK)
MFA Theater and Performance Making Program
Summer 2016

The Burning Man Event is one of the most vibrant hubs of creative thinking and making in the United States. This three-unit course offers students an opportunity to deepen their artistic practice in an extraordinary setting.

Informed by the ten principles of Burning Man, students will create a series of performance art pieces on the playa. The ten principles are: radical self-expression, radical self-reliance, radical inclusion, immediacy, communal effort, participation, decommodification, gifting, civic engagement, and leaving no trace. Students with an interest in any arts medium are encouraged to register; no performance experience is required.

Before Burning Man, students will meet to set up performance and rehearsal structures and organize a self-sufficient camp (Camp Cosmicopia). Students will also read some of the existing academic literature that describes the performance making culture at Burning Man, view a slideshow of the art of Burning Man 1986-Present with special guests, and explore the lineage of radical Bay Area Artists from the Dadaists through the Diggers through the Pranksters through the Cacophony Society. During the event, students will create, rehearse and perform group and solo site-specific work, responding to the unique challenges and opportunities of the environment, and tour the major art works with associated faculty at Burning Man.

Throughout the week students will participate in practical workshops that contextualize and inform the development and delivery of collaborative participatory performances. These compulsory workshops will encourage the students to consider: site, ‘the radical,’facilitation, communication and participation. At various times students, as small ‘troupes’ of actors, will cycle to a venue and establish their performance site. Students should have the willingness to enjoy and learn from the process of working collaboratively and have the flexibility to adapt to the demands of the environment. This is a wonderful, unique and dynamic opportunity for students to develop their practice at a radical and inspiring event.