Burning Man announced its 2018 theme on Wednesday, “I, Robot,” a theme inspired by the 1950 collection of short stories published by author Isaac Asimov. The stories tell the fictional history of robots…
“This year’s art theme will focus on the many forms of artificial intelligence that permeate our lives; from the humble algorithm and its subroutines that sift us, sort us and surveilus, to automated forms of labor that supplant us. Are we entering a Golden Age that frees us all from mindless labor? Everything, it seems, depends on HMI, the Human-Machine Interface. In a world increasingly controlled by smart machines, who will be master and who will be the slave?” …
The theme seems appropriate given the increasing reliance Burners have on technology at the week-long event
If you wonder what that means, especially in the context of Burning Man, start here.
You can read more of the philosophy of I, Robot at the BJ.
The allure of immortality and god-like powers is as old as god. The Greeks, who more or less invented humanism, had a word for this ― they called it hubris, making it the basis of all tragedy. This enduring fantasy is lately clothed in cyber-togs. It is said that computational power is increasing exponentially, much like the singularity that created the universe, and charts and numbers are employed to predict the point in time at which this supra-intelligence will take over.
This is a millenarian idea, sometimes called the Rapture of the Techies, and like all such schemes, it is essentially a religious concept now dressed in the trappings of science. In this scenario, the future rule of one vast integrated Robot will exceed all human comprehension. This notion also contains an ingenious escape clause, a sort of intellectual insurance policy. When pressed to pinpoint exactly when this event will occur, its acolytes reply that it may have already happened — its advent will elude the grasp of slimy brains. This is a contest between wet intelligence, something that we barely understand that has evolved on earth over a span of billions of years, and dry intelligence, which in its digital form was invented in 1936
Burning Man is a contest? I guess they started the themes with Good vs Evil, and now it’s humans vs robots.
Image: Tyler FuQua
I agree with them that the Singularity has already happened, and Google and the NSA are already inside our heads. We live in a Sentient World Simulation, operated by the Deep State. The Defense Department, defending The Man against the humans that might question him with armies of always on, always faithful robots.
Will Smith loved Burning Man so much they named their theme after him?
As I pointed out in Shadow History Part 3, robots are a specific vision of the Church of Satan (as is the “allure of immortality and god-like powers” that are also part of this theme).
Will Google and Tesla be debuting new walking robots at Burning Man 2018?
In 2004, the DARPA Grand Challenge was launched: for a car able to navigate through an obstacle course by itself. It was a complete failure. By 2007, half a dozen cars successfully completed the course. In 2014, Tesla announced Auto-Pilot – and self-driving cars hit the mainstream. Tesla expects to have completely self-driving cars by the end of this year.
In 2013, the DARPA Robotics Challenge was for humanoid robots to walk, climb over rubble and stairs, open doors and use tools.
They’ve come a long way since then.
As if all that wasn’t trippy enough, check out this little guy:
So what’s it going to take to bring Androids into everyday life? Burning Man?
An epic performance from Sammy Davis, Jr from the 1969 movie Sweet Charity looks very much like a precursor to Burning Man. He is a preacher, singing about his new church which is sweeping the nation. It contains so many elements that make it look familiar to Burners – art cars, furry sleeveless vests, indulgent principles, a satire on Judeo/Christian religion, acid culture, weed, Pied Piper…is that the Merry Prankster’s FURTHR bus lurking in the shadows? Hit the floor and crawl to Daddy!
At the time he made this, Sammy Davis Jr was in his prime. He was a member of the “Rat Pack” with Shirley Maclaine, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. They were also known as the “Clan” (presumably with a C not a K) or “The Summit”.
In addition, Sammy Davis, Jr just happened to be a celebrity superstar promoter of the Church of Satan – doing for Anton LaVey what Tom Cruise and John Travolta do today for the Church of Scientology. Blonde bombshell actress Jayne Mansfield, the Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian of her day, was another star Satanist.
Jayne Mansfield takes the “sacrament” from Anton LaVey
Michael Aquino, Sammy Davis Jr, Anton Lavey. Image: VICE
Sammy made a pilot in SF for this 1973 TV series. It was the plot of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in reverse. Image: VICE
Another video surfaced this week, which I posted on our Facebook Page. Apparently Walt Disney and Salvador Dali teamed up in 1945 to create a trippy surrealist desert adventure called “Destino”, based on a Mexican folk song.
Once again, we see similarities to Burning Man. Desert, mountains in the distance, cracked playa, bicycles, art cars…we have a lot of themes converging here. Humans merging with gods to create hybrid species; dancing through the wheel of time; dancing and metamorphosis, leading to love. It is dripping with occult symbolism, pyramids, all seeing eyes and so on.
Although Disney and Dalí did collaborate, most of this video was created much later. Still, it looks like Disney and Dalí imagined Burning Man in World War 2…yet another link into the vast occult empire which is Disney Corporation.
Once upon a time the Micky Mouse creator, Walt Disney, worked with the world’s most famous surrealist, Salvador Dali.
Dali was approached by Disney himself in 1945 to propose a collaborative film. Entitled “Destino”, the picture would be based upon a Mexican folk song of the same name, with the music played to accompany a sequence of Dali-designed animation. Destino is a fabled romance between Chronos, the personification of time, and a young mortal woman. The scenes blend a series of surreal paintings of Dali with dancing and metamorphosis.
Walt Disney’s Destino was produced by Dali and John Hench (the Disney artist who did the storyboards) for 8 months between 1945 and 1946. Hench was described as a “ghostly figure” who knew better than Dali the secrets of the Disney film. For some time, the project remained a secret.
But the film was eventually shelved due to WWII-era financial problems at Disney’s company. Dalí described the film as “a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” and Disney said it was “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”
However, some 54 years later, the development of Fantasia’s long-awaited sequel, Fantasia 2000, inspired Disney’s nephew, Roy, to finally revive the project. A team of French animators were brought on board to produce the six-minute film on the basis of Dali’s notes and storyboards. In 2003, his musical vision was released at long last
What were the “secrets of the film” which Hench knew, but Dalí didn’t? Surely Dalí was the big name in this collaboration?
The work of painter Salvador Dali was to prepare a six-minute sequence combining animation with live dancers and special effects for a movie in the same format of “Fantasia.” The characters are fighting against time, the giant sundial that emerges from the great stone face of Jupiter and that determines the fate of all human novels. Dalí and Hench were creating a new animation technique, the cinematic equivalent of Dali’s “paranoid critique”…inspired by the work of Freud on the subconscious and the inclusion of hidden and double images. The plot of the film was described by Dalí as “A magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.” Walt Disney said it was “A simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”
Of all the Surrealists and their achievements, there is one that stands out above all the others. The Paranoiac Critical method was a sensibility, or way of perceiving reality that was developed by Salvador Dalí. It was defined by Dalí himself as “irrational knowledge” based on a “delirium of interpretation”. More simply put, it was a process by which the artist found new and unique ways to view the world around him. It is the ability of the artist or the viewer to perceive multiple images within the same configuration. The concept can be compared to Max Ernst’s frottage or Leonardo da Vinci’s scribbling and drawings. As a matter of fact, all of us have practiced the Paranoid Critical Method when gazing at stucco on a wall, or clouds in the sky, and seeing different shapes and visages therein. Dalí elevated this uniquely human characteristic into his own art form.
Dalí, though not a true paranoid, was able to simulate a paranoid state, without the use of drugs, and upon his return to ‘normal perspective’ he would paint what he saw and envisioned therein.
Dalí was able to create what he called “hand painted dream photographs” which were physical, painted representations of the hallucinations and images he would see while in his paranoid state. Although he certainly had his own load of mental problems to bear, it can be said that Dalí’s delusions and paranoid hallucinations did not totally dominate his mind, as he was able to convey them to canvas.
Being a painter of miraculous skill, he was capable of reproducing his myriad fantasies and hallucinations as visual illusions on canvas.
It is in this context that one of Dalí’s most famous statements takes on a whole new meaning and understanding.
“The only difference between myself and a madman, is that I am not mad!”
In Dalí’s own words, taken from his Conquest of the Irrational:
“My whole ambition in the pictorial domain is to materialize the images of my concrete irrationality with the most imperialist fury of precision…”
He then goes on to say:
“Paranoiac-critical activity organizes and objectivizes in an exclusivist manner the limitless and unknown possibilities of the systematic association of subjective and objective ‘significance’ in the irrational…”
“..it makes the world of delirium pass onto the plane of reality”
It’s also quite possible that Dalí was tripping on something and just didn’t promote it in media interviews.
Here’s the video set to Pink Floyd’s classic “Time” from Dark Side of the Moon:
Transformation and the Projects
The word “Transformation” sure seems to come up a lot in looking at this Presidio/Esalen/Disney/Stanford/Burning Man cluster. This week I discovered that Dr Michael Aquino’s MindWar concept was heavily influenced by Esalen’s Transformation Project think tank.