A Thank-You Letter To The Team
by 747 Big Imagination founder Jonathan Teo
This year a team of inspiring people brought a small gift to the playa – the top section of a Boeing 747. It was awesome. Armed with the lessons learned, next year we hope to bring a bigger gift, the whole damn thing. And this is a call for help, because this gifting dream depends on you.
I’m calling on our fellow dusty imagineers and dreamers out there to participate and join us in gifting the biggest EVER art car to the playa for everyone to enjoy.
“…[I] had always wondered what it would take to get the best folks I knew to build together, on a project like that with the spirit of generosity, devoid of competition.”
Two years ago, Ken Feldman and I started the 747 project while we were drinking fancy boxed wine and decompressing on the sands of Venice Beach, after he shared with me an old idea he had: to bring a big-ass plane to the playa and to turn it into a big-ass art car.
I’d always wanted to start a project that was, by its very scope, inclusive in nature – by the community for the community. I had always wondered what it would take to get the best folks I knew to build together, on a project like that with the spirit of generosity, devoid of competition.
With the 747 as the catalyst, I said to Ken “fuck yeah, I’ll make this happen”, and there we planted the seeds of a collective intention.
So we founded the Big Imagination Foundation and began the early work to erect the so-called pillars that I thought would bring together a collective intention from many individual ambitions. These pillars were: community, collaboration and iconism. Each, hopefully, would respectively bring resources, learning and purpose to the project. And we bought the plane. But that was the easy part (kind of).
“The first is a community made up solely of volunteer leaders comprised of scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and makers who embody the spirit of inclusion and openness. A camp where everybody works and participates.”
In two burns, and with the help of generous leaders dreaming up their own goals for the project, and bringing the resources they have, a collective intention formed through action. From the carving of the plane in the Mojave desert, to dodging mountain lions, to insane light shows, to transporting massive metal, to dreaming up experiences for burners to participate in, everyone had a project to lead and navigate. What resulted was beautiful to watch.
The first is a community solely of volunteer leaders comprised of scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and makers who embody the spirit of inclusion and openness. A camp where everybody works and participates. A community that includes other camps where everyone felt ownership because the project allowed for a platform large enough for each to have their own voice. Burning Man’s DPWs themselves did a takeover of the plane which we saw as immense validation of the embodiment of the various principles on the playa. And a fucking fun time.
The second was the collaborative goodwill generated by other community builders. Robot Heart blessed us with a sunset link up, Android Jones gifted us his incredible art, Symmetry Labs created visual magic, and many artists came to showcase their creativity through music, artwork and experiences. Singularity University hosted sessions about what we could all be hopeful for.
And the third was an iconic project that brought some of the conversation on the playa into the less dusty world out here. We pushed the iconism of the plane, and the audacity of the project sparked debate and attention on and off the playa. If we wanted to leak some of the gratitude and fearlessness we all love out into this world, there was now yet another chance for that. It’s a start, and we are now lucky to have dreamers who have joined and who share the understanding that the project represents hope and optimism. That it is a symbol of where we can dream to go and, at the same time, the very vehicle for spreading that message. And, wonderfully, this platform can exist year-round.
We’ve come this far, and it’s been fun, and it’s been great learning along the way, but if we don’t want the dream to end here, we need you to help out. So that we can get there!
We need more resources and manpower, so please help us all delight in each other’s intentions and meet this unknown together.
If you can support this in your own meaningful way, please reach out to us. Or, just send us good vibes along the way and share this call for support.