Where the Sheep Sleep 2023 pictures
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Pictures by Brenda & Huybert
Tempel Pictures by Brenda & Huybert
Last Schaap I was rehearsing a song by singer-songwriter Roos Meijer with 30 choir members for the temple ceremony. We played Roos’s original to sing along to. It is a close-harmony piece and one of the singers on this recording is Wasim Arslan.
The last time I spoke to Syrian singer Wasim Arslan was in 2017, after we spent a weekend filming the documentary Dune Sessions with 12 other musicians, inspired by Burning Man. We lost track of each other after that, but I implore you to listen to this song ′′ Alles is anders ′′ that is about his mother, written and sung together with Arjan Amin.
Now Wasim was invited to come to the Sheep for the first time this year. His first Burn.
Having just arrived, he stroled around the grounds for a while, when he suddenly heard his own voice coming from somewhere. He walked on and looked for where the sound was coming from, towards a wooden structure at the edge of the forest. Wasim walked up the footbridge of the Heart theatre and saw a group of people unknown to him singing along to his own song, their eyes closed.
He looked around and first recognised Peek, turned to his left and recognised me.
We were both completely overwhelmed by this unexpected reunion in this place, at this moment, tears running down our cheeks, it was so incredibly special, singing from the heart, meeting in the heart theatre after all these years, through music at the Dutch Burn.
On the spot I asked him if he wanted to lead our last song during the ceremony. His song, together with us. A beautiful example of Playa Magic.
Artist Mieke Ziegler describes ‘ creatuals ‘ as tailor-made contemporary rituals, infused with personal input and collective creativity.
In her book she quotes” Joseph Campbell mythologist, writer and lecturer:
“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a protection of the depth of wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyway. Your consciousness is being reminded of the wisdom of your own life.” “I think ritual is terribly important.
I also think what we bring to the effigy burn and temple ceremony are creatuals.
So, how do you explain Burning Man?
Why groups of people from all over the world come together in a desert, or in our case, on a field, to build a dreamworld in less than a week and then tear it down again and leave it behind as if nothing ever happened?
How do you make it clear that what we create, do and experience together is of lasting value?
What makes a Burn so different from a festival?
One of the essential elements is that we create our burn together. Another crucial element are our rituals, or creatuals.
In addition to all individual, firsthand experiences, there are a few moments where we all come together, as a group, with all Burners; during the effigy burn and the temple ceremony. Moments we celebrate together, time we in which we reflect together.
I can tell you from personal experience that one of the most important principles during these shenanigans is immediacy, because any plan, no matter how well prepared, may have to change in a split second. For example, because of weather conditions, which suddenly prevent us from burning.
In 2022 there were heavy rainstorms on the Saturday, which meant we were left with a small window of exactly 45 minutes to perform & burn. It’s a nerve wrecking, utterly exhilarating experience, where, behind the scenes, the seemingly impossible is always made possible.
Each year innovative ideas and plans arise and every burn there is a growing group of participants in our beautiful community, willing to contribute to our multidisciplinary collaborative works of art.
For me personally, the temple ceremony is a tribute to the enchanting temple itself and the dreams, ideas, memories, and stories that have been shared by all of you. I try to give them wings, by choosing the music and images that hopefully help shape the dreams in an artful, abstract way.
I don’t do this alone, but together with an incredible team of event architects, producers, builders, musicians, dancers, choir members, artists, with a fantastic group of participants and in the future perhaps together with you!
Dusty hugs, Julie
2023 Temple Ceremony Team & Creators:
Mirjam Harding – temple lead & costumes
Julie Scott – ceremony concept show & music, choir lead & voaclist
Ilana Sandelowsky – ceremony architecture and production
Annoushka Claassen – temple ceremony co-lead choreography & dancer
Wasim Arslan – choir lead during ‘We dance till we win’ and vocalist
Roeland Drost (piano), Maaike Peterse (cello), Ruben Margarita (violin) – live musicians
Annelies, Guy Esmeijer & KJ – swing builders/placement
Guy & KH – boatdock
Tiger & Wolf beauties – human statues at the swing
Willem Verheij – production on the Sunday
Burning Man Netherlands Choir ‘Flock of Sheeple’
The Veiled Sirens
Martin Chambon – lights, special effects
Jasper Toeli – light art, tree art
Sander Beenen – the boatman
Jurgen Uffink- preparation/placement
Rick Kuyper, Peek Hijmans & Remco Visker – firestarters
Pepijn Stutterheim – soundmagician
Patricia Loos & David Quysner effigy carriers
Frank Gabriel & Andre Hörmann catering ceremony coreteam on the Sunday
Brenda van der Meulen & Huybert van de Stadt – photography