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Burning Man ticket for a Million

Friends of mine recently directed my attention to this post on Craigslist:

Burning Man Ticket. One Million dollars. – $1 (Echo Park)

Hi. I have a Burning Man ticket, and I’m selling it for one million dollars. The million dollars must be paid in United States one dollar bills which i will burn in a pile on the playa as some kind of retarded example of the futility of money or something.

Of course I couldn’t resist to offer the seller One Million for his ticket. Not a million dollars though, but a brand new crisp One Million Exchanghibition Banknote!

And yes, he did mail me back, which resulted in an interesting conversation. His initial reply was:

‘While interesting, I’m afraid that anything other than one million U.S. one dollar bills won’t suffice.. I’d much rather burn real money than your beautiful art money.’

The conversation continued after I mentioned to him the burning of a million British pounds by the K Foundation:

‘Yep. Been a KLF fan for a long time.. As far as I can tell, they are the only people who have ever burned that much money on purpose.. I love their empty, solemn expressions in the documentary as they talk about it. Nobody seemed to care much in Britain when they did it, but i guarantee that Americans would be completely outraged if someone was to burn a million American dollars.. Sad really. We’re the most wasteful nation in history, yet so dumb that it would take burning a pile of paper with pictures on it to wake us up.’

And then:

‘My inbox is chock full of emails ranging from congratulations to death threats.. But in all honesty, i would put a match to one million dollars without blinking an eye.. Look at all the different things people burn every year on the Playa.. Your boat for example.. It’s exactly the same as burning money.. Your time, materials, shipping costs, travel expenses etc.. It all cost money.. That gorgeous three master is basically a pile of money, just not in the form of bank notes.. The guys who built and burned the “Belgian Waffle”.. That wasn’t free.. Burning a big pile of money is more efficient.. Not as pretty, but It cuts out the middle man.’

I do think he’s right: Burning the Fools Ark was in a way similar to burning a pile of money and it crippled me financially for a few years, but it wasn’t directly about burning money. I had the guts to build the threemaster, ship it to the States and burn it, but maybe the K Foundation showed a little bit more guts (though some people might argue that they showed a bit less brains……) – They did indeed cut out the middle man……..



17 thoughts on “Burning Man ticket for a Million

  1. Brilliant e-mail discussion!
    And that's what fascinates me about Burning Man. Even though it doesn't look like I am going this year, I still feel I can participate. Through funding, writing on this very blog, engaging in online discussion and through spreading the word through facebook. Keep it up guys!

  2. The Fools Ark is (STILL) one of the most beautiful fires I've ever seen– from my experiences with myself and my camp-mates and other people on the playa leading up to it (I remember having several really awesome conversations with people as we waited for the burn to start) to the actual fire itself, which took forever to get going. It wasn't so much of a pyrotechnics display, all flashy and up-down-over in 10 minutes. Instead, it was a ship going up in flames– slowly. The fire creeping along the sides of the ship, licking up the masts, and the masts and ropes taking forever to burn. A REAL fire. Thank you.

    And while I totally take the points of the guy who wants to burn the money (and I gotta say it's a novel way to fund an art project :) , I just don't think that watching a pile of money burn, even a big one, would be as beautiful of an art experience. Given that I tend to appreciate and gravitate more towards things that intrigue me by their beauties and mysteries on the playa than things that make statements (though that's not an absolute– I can think of some statement pieces that still bring tears to my eyes), I'm glad you decided to invest your money/effort/energy in the Fools Ark instead of just putting all the money in a cookie jar and bringing it to the playa to burn. <3

  3. That newspaper sufggested it was the last burn….Maybe all visitors should all bring the money the spent on Burning Man and put it all together and light it up. I´m sure it would be way more then a million bucks…!
    Nice and warm fire!

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