Dust & Illusions – 30 Years of History of Burning Man Festival

Olivier Bonin
Oliver Bonin
Dust & Illusions – 30 Years of History of Burning Man Festival

Single screening / Slovenian premiere
THU, 26 February 2015 at 8 pm
The Old Power Station (Stara mestna elektrarna), Ljubljana

Language: English with Slovenian subtitles

In the framework of the cycle of screening events Akcija! and programme Masters & Servers

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Documentary film Dust & Illusions by Olivier Bonin explores the thirty years of history of the BURNING MAN EFSTIVAL. Burning Man is a week-long annual event that began in San Francisco’s Baker Beach in the mid-1980s and then migrated to the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy. The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance and it is the largest cultural and art event in North America. From the renegade spirits of the 1970s in San Francisco, to the multi-million dollar business the event has become, the film looks at this necessary and explosive evolution.

Dust and Illusions is the only worthwhile documentary about Burning Man. Most are navel-gazing, utopian affairs.

The screening at the Old Power Station introduced Slovenian audiences to the topics discussed by John Law, one of the founding members of the Burning Man festival, in his lecture, which took place as part of the Networked Disruption Seminar in March in Kino Šiška.


Olivier Bonin was born in France and holds an engineering degree in microelectronics. He showed an early interest in photography and film. He studied photography in San Francisco, where he found his way into filmmaking. Starting with short fictions, he quickly found a perfect symbiosis between his interest and knowledge in social movements and documentary filmmaking. When he attended the Burning Man festival, he knew he had found a great subject combining film photography in such a beautiful environment with a complicated human story about community building.

John Law (USA) was one of the founders of the Cacophony Society in 1986. Emerging from the ashes of the mysterious and legendary Suicide Club, the Cacophony Society was an informal, unclassifiable group of anonymous people who spent their time exploring the boundaries of a conformist society, and occasionally crashing them. They sought imagination, adventure and mutual trust beyond the pale of those provided by mainstream society: that involved playful ways of disrupting propaganda, mocking respected symbols (like in their infamous Santarchy, an invasion of rebellious Santas), exploring forbidden urban space (from sewers to bridges), rebuilding freedom through mayhem, confusion, dangerous operation and sometimes just outright madness. Mostly harmless, often illegal, always fun.


Author: Oliver Bonin

Production of the event:
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

Stara mestna elektrarna Ljubljana

The event is realized in the framework of Masters & Servers, a joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), AND (UK), Link Art Center (IT) and d-i-n-a / The Influencers (ES).

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Supported by: Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.

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