Alchemy is a place where artists and creatives of all types can come together and experience art and music, and get to know each other through participation in a temporary autonomous community that is free from those things that define ordinary society. There is no consumerism or expectations of ‘societal norms.’ It runs solely on volunteer efforts and teams of participants inside the community. It is a “burn” event, focused on art, expression, and inclusion. The environment created is centered on the expression of the participants in whatever manner they see fit, as long as they abide local, state, and federal laws.
We call it home.
The ten principles of our home are :
- Radical Inclusion: We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
- Gifting: The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
- Decommodification: No commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising.
- Radical Self Reliance: The individual is encouraged to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
- Radical Self Expression: This arises from the unique gifts of the individual. Each person brings something different to the group experience. That’s why every burn is different.
- Communal Effort: Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks(not of the facebook kind) , public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
- Civic Responsibility: Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
- Leaving No Trace (LNT) We are committed to leaving NO physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
- Participation: We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
- Immediacy: We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
In recent years we have rallied to add an 11th to this:
- Consent: We value the transformative experience of sensual and consensual touch, play, and interaction. We believe that consent plays a vital part in our connectivity and community. Our vision is that all parties participate in a physical encounter from a place of enthusiasm and autonomy. Consent must be explicitly granted from an individual who is clearly in a state of mind to be able to grant it.
In 2011 me and my friend,Jessica,went in search of our HOME at Alchemy. We were both virgins to this particular burn. It turned out to be quite the adventure.
We started,as all things should,with a roadtrip of awesomeness. We went through Asheville ,specifically, in search of breakfast! Early Girl Eatery is amazing!
El Bravito is my penguin pal who goes with me everywhere at this point 🙂 You will see him in photos or attached to me at almost every burn or event.
Next stop….ADVENTURE!!! …ERRR…or anything that excites us and we are easily excited.
I visited both Santa’s land and Cherokee as a child. I have very fond memories of the Rudicoaster! We walked through the gift shop a little,it has a great one! Cherokee itself is sort of a dystopian looking land now though. The statues we are posing with are the same ones I have photos of posing with as a child on vacation in NC. It was creepy. The casino is right across the street….. yea….
Along the way we decorated little pumpkins! It’s Sept so that means…it’s basically Halloween 🙂
OMG WE ARE HERE!!!!! TOO EXCITED!!!!
Once you get in…the Greeters want you. The greeting process changes from event to event. It’s some form of interaction,spanking, game, and an amazing gift up front like a necklace with a pendant from the burn. Volunteering as a Greeter is one of my favorite things IN LIFE. You get to welcome everyone into the burn..meet new people and you have a great time. Also..we are all about the ‘staches
Once you enter the burn you find your camping location…whether you are with a specific theme camp or in regular camping…and you start the unpacking and setting up process. Let me tell you..I suck at putting a tent up. SUCK. The great thing is that there are always people around that will just come help you. They don’t know you,but they will after this! Sometimes you meet up with friends you only ever see at burns!
After setup we change and dive right in! Ain’t got no time to waste! The magic has already begun…go join it!
Life is good 🙂 Let’s go make new friends. And yes we totally walked into a tent that was all set up…with people playing Nintendo. Open your mind…anything can happen here 🙂
We found ourselves up at the effigy that first night and decided to write on the walls.
The next morning waking up like…..where exactly are we in the world????
We are feeling piratey today! Arrrrr!
Autumn fed the pirates chocolate covered bacon for breakfast. I ❤ her!!!
The Effigy and hot air balloon up on the hill are amazing!
I cannot even describe the community that is built up in here. There is so much creativity…art and beautiful people. You are easily distracted by all the new people who want to talk to you…who want to feed you…who want to know you.
As the sun goes down it’s time to get your nighttime costuming on….or run around half naked like I did for a while. Tonight Jessica and I are involved in an event called The Burner Connection. Basically this is a panel,American Idol style,of our friends…interviewing guys and gals to be our burn dates. YES. What to wear….It’s going to be COLD.
Vip is always a laugh at a burn. We are always invited 🙂 In fact,I used to be the poster girl!
We didn’t want to be late for our date with The Burner Connection so I got dressed,we hopped onto The Death Car (a vehicle that drives around burns blasting death metal to shake up the hippies) and rode over with Flavious.
Welcome to The Burner Connection!! Flavious is on hand to make sure our participates are worthy of us 🙂 *SWOON*
We had a great cuddle puddle audience for our embarrassment. WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS??? Damn it…too late now.
Thanks Thomas for actually wanting to go out with me…sorry I ran off….WE ran off….with Flavious. We spent the rest of this first night following around Jesse in a wig AKA Flavious and pretending he was famous 🙂 Flavious was our hero this night. He even trapped a tripping hippie in the labyrinth when he wouldn’t leave us alone.
The next morning though….alll that remained of Flavious were memories and his hair…
Thus ends our first full day at Alchemy on Cherokee Farms. So many things happen in one day at a burn. It’s impossible to relay all the connections and just general fun there is to be had. Be sure to check out my next blog, Happy Burn Day! Alchemy 2011 , to continue the journey.
More adventure awaits us when we wake up on day two and BURN NIGHT!!!!