A floating Burning Man on the Sacramento Delta

Ephemerisle is a Burning Man inspired event on the Sacramento River, this year from June 6-10. A number of floating platforms are constructed, with art attached. Need to cool off, or take a leak? Just jump in the river.

We construct a floating city on the Sacramento River Delta and live on it for four days. You could think of it as Burning Man on water, but there’s a lot more to it. Burning Man is now a large, polished, centrally organized, and carefully controlled event. Ephemerisle has elements of Burning Man in the early 1990s: a new adventure into an alien environment, with discoveries, adventures, and mishaps along the way. There are no tickets, no central organizers, no rules, and no Rangers to keep you safe. It’s radical self-reliance. New to life on the water? So are we! We’re figuring it out as we go.

Since there’s no central organizer, the event only happens if people contribute. Here are some things you can do: bring art, give talks, build your own boats and platforms, make music, help build this wiki, go wakeboarding and enjoy being a pioneer.

This event is related to the anarcho-capitalist offshore island Ephemerisle, a plan being pursued by the Peter Thiel-backed Seasteading Institute. It began in 2009, with about 100 people. The Seasteading Institute later backed out when they learned that they would have to pay $300/head for insurance; the Ephemerisle community decided to press on and have the event anyway. Seasteading have now given the Ephemerisle name back to the community.

Ephemerisle 2009, photo by Dav


Originally the event was organized by the Seasteading Institute (http://seasteading.org/) to promote the cultural concept of seasteading – the construction of autonomous floating nation-states – in a hands-on and accessible way. TSI bravely did this event with no insurance the first year (2009).

In the second year, TSI abandoned the event about a month before it was to begin because the insurance costs turned out to be around $300/person. As a community we decided to show up anyway and create an unofficial self-organized event. Despite the lack of central organization, it still worked quite well, and around 120 people showed up and had a great time.

For 2011, there were no central organizer, but things came together great for another Not-Ephemerisle Event.

After the 2011 event, TSI officially abandoned the Ephemerisle name and handed it over to the community.

Wired Magazine covered the event in 2010:

When participants weren’t trading visions of their utopian futures, they floated around and enjoyed art and music. Pirate accordionist Jason Webley and trapeze artist Miriam Telles regaled spectators. Interactive art bobbed beside the boats. And a heady gathering called “Memocracy Conference” gave festival-goers a chance to share radical ideas (or memes) about the future of biotech, telepresence, life extension, secessionism and robots.

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