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Help bring Commune to Burning Man 2024

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We are looking for your help to bring the Commune art project to Burning Man 2024.

Last year at Burning Man 2023, I set out to bring my first large art project to reality. The entire project changed my life in many unexpected ways. This year, I am reimagining my project and building something completely new for a project called Commune.

Commune is a fully set dining table placed on the deep playa. Without any signs or instructions, the dining table will encourage spontaneous connections amongst strangers, who instinctively sit at the table to get to know one another. This isn’t just an ordinary table. The entire piece will be coated in over 8000 LEDs, animated together to encourage new friends to visit and create a shared experience for those who are already there.

The project was inspired by my son who plays a game called Friends for Dinner. He sits at the table and we interview him as he makes up a story (normally about pizza). It occurred to me that people rarely sit at a table and meet someone new. I sought to inspire these sort of connections and built last year’s project named “Friends for Dinner .”

Many of you know that I’ve dedicated the last nine years to creating delightful experiences at Burning Man, using my own dime and time. In 2023, I self-funded an art project called “Friends for Dinner ” which was the first iteration of the dining table idea. Even though I didn't put up any signs or instructions, people instinctively understood what to do: strangers sat down at the table and started to get to know one another. Over the next several days, I watched people from all walks of life finding themselves drawn to the table. People began to bring their own food, and one couple even spontaneously had their wedding receptions at the table.

It was really exciting to see a simple idea of a dining table becoming a beacon of connection.

Seeing the success of last year, I am determined to reimagine the concept and bring it back to the playa in 2024, but I cannot do it alone. Your support and financial contribution can help us make this dream a reality again.

As last year's build did not survive the harsh weather elements, we are starting nearly from scratch. Our goal is to raise $10,000 this year to fund these essential expenses:
  • Space to build and store this year's Commune setup.
  • Transportation
  • Safety measures: auto-on lights for night time when the power goes out.
  • Build material: steel pipe, shade cloth, electronic supplies, a generator, and more.

All funds raised go directly toward material and logistics costs. Everyone working on the project (including me!) are volunteers. A donation of $20 or more will get you a sticker mailed to you!

I spent every evening of Burning Man at Commune last year, watching spontaneous conversations happen (and of course filling up the generator and fixing the lights). Word must have gotten out about a dining table in the deep playa. One evening, an art car showed up at Commune with a pizza oven in tow, and the Commune diners erupted in cheer. At that moment I knew this was an idea worth bringing back.

Thank you for considering helping make this idea a reality. Your support means the world to me.

Jim Cortez


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Spendenteam (2)

Jim Cortez
San Francisco, CA
Eugenia Chien
Team member

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