Homo Ludens

Homo Ludens: A study of the Play Element in Culture.

The seminal sociological work by the Dutch Cultural theorist Johan Huizinga  (December 7, 1872 – February 1, 1945) describes and analyses the nature and significance of the play element in culture, a phenomenom hugely relevant to the nature of the individual experience at Burning Man festival.

“In play there is something ‘at play’ which transcends the immediate needs of life and imparts meaning to the action”

Huizinga describes the detachment and unreality of playing and the way in which it provides release from the reality of the everyday, embodied in the idea of constructing a temporary city (or playground) in the desert, in which fun, interaction and play are fundamental facets of the experience .

“The feeling of being ‘apart together’ in an exceptional situation, of sharing something important, of mutually withdrawing from the rest of the world and rejecting the usual norms, retains its magic beyond the duration of the individual game.”