our theme camp Gymnasium gearing up for Burning Man 2017 – new campmates welcome!

Theme camp Gymnasium has become a big part of Active Naturists project, and we are set to continue at this year’s Burning Man festival. We’ve already scored some tickets for the core crew, and a few of us are applying for Low Income Program, but the rest should get tickets through the Main Sale: registration opens next Wednesday, and the sale itself is in two weeks (info and dates here). We are open for new campmates too, so if you would like to participate, please e-mail us or leave a comment below!

If you read this blog, you must have heard about our theme camp quite a lot, but if you are new here or would like a reminder, here are some key links:

camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2016

Burning Man festival this year saw the second installation of our theme camp Gymnasium, which refers to the Ancient Greek institution for athletics, philosophy and socializing. You can read more about the concept of our camp on its webpage, but here is our report with some imagery that should help you imagine what it was like (or evoke some good memories, if you participated in our events).

naturist philosophy camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Even though our theme camp was first conceived with an idea to revive the ideals of the Ancient Olympics, this year besides the athletics we put more effort into another aspect of the concept of ‘gymnasium’ in its original meaning – philosophical discussions (with wine). For one session, each participant received a quote of a Greek philosopher and lead discussion on its subject, which let us cover all kinds of topics. We also had a session when we talked about our personal attitudes towards nudity as well as our views on the possible role for naturism in the [default] society. The common theme was the feeling of liberation and bonding with others that brings the simple act of social nudity – and the photos here seem to confirm that.

An entirely new idea for this year was the gymnastics wheel (aka German wheel). Several month before the festival, I stumbled upon a photo with German wheel gymnasts from 1920’s and immediately got an impression that it would be a big hit at Burning Man. As you can see below, it provided a perfect link between the theme of our camp and the theme of Burning Man this year  – ‘Da Vinci’s Workshop’.

naturist gymnastics wheel Vitruvian Man camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We of course refer to the drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Da Vinci, and expectedly the Man himself took the iconic shape this year.

Vitruvian Man

We were so happy to see that our idea was immediately understood by other burners – as soon as we rolled the wheel onto the playa, we had people queuing to take a picture,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and it seemed like it was self-explanatory that one was supposed to get naked for a photo à la Vitruvian Man 🙂

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This was a big success in terms of bringing all kinds of people to try a new fun activity in the buff and in public,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0004 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and they were creative with poses.

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0005 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

But we didn’t forget the primary function of the gymnastics wheel,

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and  the flat playa surface was perfect to roll it.

We had to be careful to avoid possible injuries, as even one rotation proved to be a lot more difficult than we had anticipated. The gymnastics wheel turned out to be a great magnet for people back at the camp too – dozens of passers by stopped to try it every day; only a few managed though, even with helpers.

naturist gymnastics wheel camp Gymnasium 0075 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

In their defense, I have to note that in the first days we only knew one, difficult way of holding yourself in the wheel during rotation: pushing up with your arms with all power while maintaining them as straight as possible. That was until someone came by and said that there had been a workshop on gymnastics wheel at Hellfire Society camp. (On what subject isn’t there a workshop at Burning Man?) So we went there, and the camp lead gladly arranged another workshop specially for us. It turned out that while our technique wasn’t impossible, the typical and much better way to hold yourself during rotation on the wheel was by hooking your feet.

naturist-gymnastics-wheel-camp-gymnasium-burning-man-black-rock-city-nv-usa-s

After we learned that, the success rate among all the newbies to gymnastics wheel skyrocketed, and we were on the roll 🙂

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our first athletic event in the week was the running race.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we only had a short race on our street,

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

but it was a nice way to get attention from our neighbors and passers by.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0004 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It was all for fun, but it was a competition nevertheless.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0005 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

It was no surprise that David won the race, as he was among the top runners at Bouncing Buns trail race two years ago.

naturist run camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our Gymnasium also offered daily fitness exercises, with Matt leading push-up sessions every morning.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we had a certified yoga/acro-yoga instructor among our campmates,

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

so we had a few sessions at the camp

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and also played a bit on the playa.

naturist acro-yoga camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We probably should have spent a little more time posing with those amazing and massive art pieces,

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5702/30885939485_b68b54a42d_z_d.jpg

but unfortunately some of them were burned much earlier in the week than we had anticipated (e.g. the pyramids on Friday morning).

naturist camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Some installations were quite interactive and served as great frames for photos, literally.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0002 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Other installations referred to familiar views of the “default world”, like NYC skyline at the Kostume Kult, making the whole experience only more surreal…

naturist camp Gymnasium 0006 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

(I wish we could sip our morning coffee in Manhattan just like that!)

Unfortunately I enjoyed my nights out in an immediate manner, and recorded neither my own naked dancing on the ashes of the burned Man and at the White Ocean nor the performance by a couple of naked fire-spinners at the Mayan Warrior art car, which was probably my favorite mutant vehicle in terms of the music (and certainly in terms of the lights). But here is a short clip from that night I found online, where you can see those two naked fire-spinners, but resting in the crowd at the time – perhaps a video with their performance will appear at some point too, but I’m just happy to have witnessed it.

As you can see, our camp was primarily focused on providing interactive events rather than art and installations,

naturist camp Gymnasium 0005 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

but we arranged some decorations to highlight our reference to Ancient Greece.

naturist camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

This year we added a statue depicting Hercules wrestling Diomedes for his 8th labor. By the way, I haven’t been able to find an explanation behind that ‘penile grip’ – so if there are specialists in history of art among the readers here, please enlighten us in the comments 😎

naturist camp Gymnasium 0007 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Speaking of wrestling, finally getting to our camp’s most famous feature – naked oil wrestling – with more than 600,000 views of our last year’s wrestling video on Vimeo and a mention in the Independent, we can truly say famous!

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0000 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

As you’d expect, our wrestling matches are preceded by oiling up (with a pure Greek olive oil),

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0006 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

which feels great in the arid environment of Black Rock City.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0008 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Our entertainers led the show,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0010 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and we had a good turnout of spectators and participants for all three matches that we hosted.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0043 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Just like last year, we used sumo wrestling rules, as the simplest to adopt at a festival setting.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0023 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

The wrestlers had to stay within the boundaries of the blue mats,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0039 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and only their feet were allowed to touch the ground.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0037 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

There was a great deal of pushing

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0028 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and lifting,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0030 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

or even carrying the opponent outside the rink.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0020 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Though pushing was certainly the favorite technique,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0024 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and sometimes our puzzle mats did not withstand all that force.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0018 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

But some matches looked a lot more elegant,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0040 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

almost like a dance.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0026 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And surely it helped to possess a good grip (which the oil made more difficult)

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0003 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and/or ability to escape one (which the oil made easier).

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0016 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

We had some well matched participants,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0015 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

so their matches were intense

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0017 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

and unpredictable.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0013 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USAnaturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0014 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Sometimes we’d need a few judges to decide who stepped outside or touched the ground first, but often enough the victory was clear.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0025 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

When the most active participants had wrestled each other a few times, we selected those with most victories for semifinals and finals.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0034 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

You could tell the finalists took the competition seriously,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0027 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

although all they’d get was a laurel wreath and glory, just like in the authentic Olympic Games 😉

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0036 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

After the winner was determined for each of our three competitions,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0038 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

we awarded them at our ‘temple’.

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0042 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And the winners awarded us with their glorious smiles 🙂

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0009 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

Besides giving the golden laurel wreath,

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0004 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

we added one more touch of the Ancient Greek ceremony by scraping dust, oil and sweat from the winners with a strigil (bought on eBay, supposedly authentic!)

naturist wrestling camp Gymnasium 0001 Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV, USA

And here is a video compilation from the wrestling matches – our only video from Burning Man this year. Enjoy, hopefully it’s a good reward for your long wait for our report!

 

Active Naturists are going to Burning Man again with the theme camp Gymnasium

Many of you have been asking whether we are going back to Burning Man with our Gymnasium project, and the answer is definite YES! Thanks to our successful participation last year, we could secure tickets for the core members via Directed Group Sale, but you can still get yours through the main sale – and join our camp too? If you’d like to, please e-mail or leave a comment here!

You only have time until THIS Friday 12:00 (noon) PDT to create a Burner Profile AND register for ticket sale.

Read our blogposts about how this project came about:

– first experience at Burning Man in 2012

– freedom and creativity, just at a smaller scale at Free Form Festival 2014

– FreeForm Festival 2015: camp application approved!

– first experience as a theme camp at FreeForm Festival 2015

– Gymnasium theme camp will be at a prime location at Burning Man!

– Gymnasium schedule at Burning Man 2015

– camp Gymnasium at Burning Man 2015

Our camp’s theme is Gymnasium in its original Ancient Greek meaning, so you can go through ‘How it used to be’ sections of this website to get some inspiration for our camp, be it athletic activities 

or simply fun!

And let’s just reiterate this quote from Wikipedia:

“The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term γυμνός [gymnós] meaning “naked”.

The word gymnasium is the latinisation of the Greek noun γυμνάσιον (gymnasion), “gymnastic school”, in pl. “bodily exercises” and generally “school” which in turn is derived from the common Greek adjective γυμνός (gymnos) meaning “naked”, by way of the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), whose meaning is “to train naked”, “train in gymnastic exercise”, generally “to train, to exercise”. The verb had this meaning because one undressed for exercise. Historically, the gymnasium was used for exercise, communal bathing, and scholarly and philosophical pursuits. The English noun gymnast, first recorded in 1594, is formed from the Greek γυμναστής (gymnastēs), but in Greek this word means “trainer” not “gymnast”. The palaistra was the part of the gymnasium devoted to wrestling, boxing and ball games.”

theme camp application submitted for Burning Man 2015

Last week, we submitted our theme camp placement application for Burning Man, and if we get approved, we should get a nice location for better traffic and attendance. Our program is quite extensive, so we hope our guests and we ourselves will have a fun and productive experience at the Gymnasium camp. If you are going to Burning Man this year and would like to participate in any way, please e-mail us or leave a comment here! New members are also welcome! Here are some excerpts from our application (with illustrations of our inspirations as well).

Gymnasium camp layout plan + name 3.0

The layout of our camp is very simple, as our main focus is organizing interactive events rather than creating mind-boggling constructions. We will have a square shade structure with open space in the middle – our gymnasium’s “palaestra”, where most of activity will happen. The entrance will be adorned with columns, while the internal court of palestra will feature a couple of [artificial] trees typical to Greek landscape such as cypress and  olive. The perimeter of the camp will be used a track for our races.

yoga wine drinking Ancient Greecewine drinking Ancient Greece

Unfortunately, we’ve ditched our idea with serving food and drinks to our participants so far, as this would require additional applications to state authorities, which might be too much for the first year while not really crucial for our theme.

But we shall certainly have several athletic activities, as we shall revive a few events from the authentic Olympic games with some modifications.

wrestling Ancient Greece

Greek-style wrestling, and as a variation, oil wrestling; we shall provide olive oil to participants; on the one hand, oil will make wrestling more slippery = difficult and fun at the same time, but on the other, we think participants will appreciate its soothing effect on their skin, being in the harsh arid environment.

oiling Ancient Greece

We had do think how go around prohibition of animals at Burning Man for our “equestrian” events

chariot race Ancient Greecehorse riding Ancient Greece

The solution is simple, our participants will play the roles of both riders and horses:

piggy back Ancient Greece

piggy-back and barrel-run races (possibly relay races, depending on the number of participants) will be our equivalent of equestrian events. We would like to hold these two during the Burning Man’s edition of the World Naked Bike Ride aka Naked Pub Crawl. We may offer participants to cover themselves in olive oil for these events as well, as a symbolic act for filling a car tank, to remind that the World Naked Bike Ride is a demonstration for oil-independency and for alternative energy sources and body-powered transportation (not to mention that the slippery aspect will make it more fun as well).

discus thrower Ancient Greece

A frisbee throw will be our equivalent of discus competition (this is one of the reasons why we would like our camp to be at the esplanade); we could have one frisbee event during day and another during night with LED-lit frisbee discs.

For athletic training, we would like to provide workshops on wrestling, yoga, acro-yoga, street-style dances (hip-hop, house, break etc.) and capoeira. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance and usually accompanied by music. In this aspect, it is similar to the way Ancient Greek athletes often trained, accompanied by live musicians.

music and jumps Ancient Greece

As for the artistic aspect of our theme, we plan to hold a poetry slam. In ancient Greece, literary events were an indispensable part of athletic festivals, including the Olympics. Also, champion athletes commissioned great poets to compose their victory odes, so we would like to combine one of our athletic events with a poetry competition and make the losers compose odes to the winners.

Similarly, to make our events even more interactive, we could introduce bets among contestants or their supporters: e.g. “If you win, I’ll give you a foot rub every night for three nights”.

Our camp has two certified and even more amateur masseurs, so we would like to provide massages to the winners and most active participants of our events.

To add another aspect of Ancient Greek culture – mythology and drama – we will reenact some famous duels between mythological figures.

For the philosophical aspect of our theme, we plan to hold discussions on various topics, and at the same time experiment with different forms of discussion: symposia, Socratic dialogues, debates, autobiographical explorations of themes related to the body. Our topics will include:

– body image and body acceptance across cultures and history; their roles in naturism, and what naturism may teach the rest of society about body acceptance;

– body modification (e.g. cosmetic surgery, piercing, tattoos, scarring, the practice of circumcision);

– the place of god(s) and humans in our modern worldview and in Ancient Greece;

– the concept of gymnasium, as training for the body and mind in equal measure; mind/body relationship; mediations of the body and athleticism of the mind.

thinker

Let us know what you think, and if you cannot participate directly but have an idea related to our theme, just comment here.

Gymnasium camp for Burning Man 2015: first ticketed participants!

The first update on our theme camp for Burning Man 2015:

We now have 8 confirmed ticketed participants, despite getting tickets was a sort of painful race against time. Somehow it worked out for many of us with a little bit of luck, but almost as many, if not more are still desperate to find tickets. As the official website says, you do “have a number of other opportunities to get tickets, including through the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP), the OMG Sale in August and the Low Income Ticket Program (which is reserved for those who are in, and can demonstrate, actual financial need).” But probably the best way to find a ticket is to ask around among your burner friends.  A few of our campmates will apply for Low Income Program – let’s wish them best of luck!

If you are going this year and are interested in our theme – Gymnasium – please contact via e-mail or leave a comment here! I was happy to get a couple of requests already. I hope you have tickets though, as we don’t have any spare ones so far. And if you have a spare ticket that you’d like to sell to one of our eager campmates, please let us know too!

More details about our camp ideas and development will follow, and we’ll also be able to polish our program at Free Form Festival on the first weekend of June in Pennsylvania. Their 2015 website is not up yet, but you can read my report from last year. Some general info is available on their ticket sale webpage, and by the way tickets go on sale tomorrow! There won’t be as much craze as with Burning Man tickets, but the price goes up by a lot as the sale progresses – no reason to wait, if you know you want to be there. I highly recommend this festival for anyone who wants to explore their creative side!

Active Naturists are going to Burning Man this year! Camp announced

Active Naturists are going to Burning Man this year! More details to be released soon – you’ll hear about our camp via this blog. But if, by having read this blog for a while, you already know you’d like to join the camp, please e-mail or leave a comment here!

You only have time until THIS Saturday to create a Burner Profile AND register for ticket sale.

Only then, you’ll be able to buy tickets, which go on sale in one week! (If you think you may be eligible for low income tickets, check the website for more info on that). Ideally, you should aim at buying tickets asap. 40,000 tickets at $390 each, and they got sold out in 45min last year! You may be able to find tickets later in season, but don’t rely on it.

Our camp’s theme will be Gymnasium in its original Ancient Greek meaning, so you can go through ‘How it used to be’ sections of this website to get some inspiration for our camp, be it athletic activities 

or simply fun!

And let’s just reiterate this quote from Wikipedia:

“The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term γυμνός [gymnós] meaning “naked”.

The word gymnasium is the latinisation of the Greek noun γυμνάσιον (gymnasion), “gymnastic school”, in pl. “bodily exercises” and generally “school” which in turn is derived from the common Greek adjective γυμνός (gymnos) meaning “naked”, by way of the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), whose meaning is “to train naked”, “train in gymnastic exercise”, generally “to train, to exercise”. The verb had this meaning because one undressed for exercise. Historically, the gymnasium was used for exercise, communal bathing, and scholarly and philosophical pursuits. The English noun gymnast, first recorded in 1594, is formed from the Greek γυμναστής (gymnastēs), but in Greek this word means “trainer” not “gymnast”. The palaistra was the part of the gymnasium devoted to wrestling, boxing and ball games.”