The Virtual Burn
Fast forward to 2003. Numerous Linden Lab employees were regulars at Burning Man, but by 2003 they were too busy getting Second Life out the door to visit the real life Playa. So Phoenix Linden approached the Burning Man organization for permission to build a tribute to the real event in Second Life. With permission duly granted, the Lindens built a Man statue much like the real thing, and "burned" it in-world. While Phoenix and Haney Linden started the Burning Life event, other Lindens facilitated over the years: Hamlet, Torley, Jeska, Iridium, and Everett.
By 2007 the Lindens were too busy to be directly involved with the event, and other SLers were running the event. These residents had never been to Burning Man and did not really understand how to represent its principles - yet they were using Burning Man's symbols and vocabulary, and representing it inworld.
Burning Man Involvement
Understandably, Burning Man was becoming concerned about what was happening to the vibe, the message, the community and its principles as represented and enacted by Burning Life. It was decided that sending help and getting involved was the Burner way to improve the event.
Everett Linden, the head of Community Initiatives for LL (and also a Burner), was aware of the issues involved. In 2008, the Lab hired Dusty Udal, an experienced burner, as a contractor and gave her a Linden name tag in order to help reposition the event. Also at this time, Danger Ranger - founder of the real life Black Rock Rangers at Burning Man - got involved and helped with reorganizing the Burning Life Rangers into a more community-based organization, truer to the principles of the RL Rangers.
In 2010, Linden Lab experienced a sharp downsizing, and ownership of Burning Life was transformed from a partnership between Burning Man and Linden Lab into an entirely regional Burning Man event held in the metaverse. This was seen as a win-win, as Linden Lab was focusing on its core business and technology, and less on supplementary activities, while Burning Man wanted a higher fidelity representation in the metaverse.
If you look at the history of BM, it has also undergone a dramatic shift. 1996 was an evolutionary year for BM. After that, BM found a balance between anarchy and organization. In a sense, BURN2 is where Burning Man was in 1997. We are establishing a firm base for evolution and growth in the future.
With the birth of Burn2, there is a sense of renewal, a sense of community and a sense of hope as Burning Man and the metaverse intermix. The Burn2 community is established and viable, and the future is at our doorstep.
After six years of Linden Lab support and guidance, both the Lab and Burning Man felt it was time to let the Burning Life event be completely community run and supported. This community of artists, builders, performers, and participants, collectively called “Burners” is a community so diverse, few like it have ever been seen. We ALL are that community! We will take this new beginning for our well-established event, Burning Life, and we will call it BURN2 to signify the freedom and opportunity we now have to recreate it.
With our new-found freedom comes the reality that we are now self-supporting for sims and operating costs. While the real life Burning Man event is funded by an admission fee, we have elected to fund the amazing infrastructure of BURN2; including the town of Deep Hole, our Center Camp, the Temple, Mutant Vehicles, event stages, art installations, and the MAN burn; through a combination of donations from the Burner community and plot charges for Burner camps on the sims. There will also be a lottery for free camps!
BURN2 is smaller by design than the previous Burning Life events. While smaller, we know it will push the boundaries of Second Life to be amazing and different in many ways. Every year, we add as many additional sims as funding and staffing allow for the "Big Burn" event in October.
So how about showing some Burner love? Any amount will help. Linden dollar donations can be made directly to M2 Burner inworld, which is the BURN2 fundraising avatar. You can also make donations through PayPal to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the PayPal donation widget below.