For one of our upcoming collaborations I set out this week to explore the connections between JACK Amsterdam and The Spirit Train / Netherlands Fundraiser featuring Rey&Kjavik in more depth. And I have to say, the more I explored this inspiring project, the more I became convinced it’s another match made in higher dimensions.
The Spirit Train is an initiative of Michael Kennedy - Corparci and Ruud Kalis part of the Burning Man Family. Not yet familiar with Burning Man and its family of Burners? Check out our radio interview below.
“Black Rock city (Burning Man Project) organises itself, through initiatives that arise spontaneously within the community.” - Steven Raspa (Associate Director of Community Events | Burning Man)
Well, one of these initiatives is The Spirit Train, not only providing entertainment, experience and a stunning view, also cleverly resolving the issue of public transport. You might already know that we love MUSIC | ART | CULTURE at JACK - and so we are always in for a fundraising that supports one of these aspects that are so intertwined with our core.
“You cannot summon inspiration ... but when the relative elements within your sphere align themselves you will know it is near.” - Michael Kennedy
Veterans in the burn department for sure, these creative souls behind the Spirit Train project. With Afrikaburn 2014 (Africa’s own Burning Man!) bringing some dark moments of internal questioning to the surface for Michael it seems eyes turned hard as flint for a bit on the pink cloud (with golden sparkles) that had been the burn experience so far. Not yet realising that the spark of his turbulence would ignite a creative fire so wild that it would drive him and a select crew to come together for a madly ambitious adventure. And so we kick off with our first moment of recognition in my reading his well formulated “illusion of literacy” (to use Michael’s words)... Few of us realise in the moment that it is often in the absence of light that we find our spark.
The Spirit Train is an ever-evolving ART project enspirited by the passion, love, honesty, dedication and consciousness of its creators. It all started in the spirit of selflessness, driven by a desire to make a difference. Their mission? To create a train that surpassed the mere act of being a train. Part animal, part machine, it imitates the functions of the living system to engage our senses. A work of ART, a technical tour de force, and a pet with a mind of its own, lovingly called Lobo.
From experience we can say it’s downright magical to see how such a project is intimately interwoven in our lives. Until the point that you talk, dream, breath your creation in the making -gently ignoring the looks of boredom on the faces of those who simply cannot fathom the depth of your connection- and you quietly question your sanity as you whisper loving words of encouragement to the parts that keep falling off.
Lobo, meaning wolf, has a tractor cladding for a head, smoke-machines replicating the train’s steam and an impressive ‘living’ dj booth imitating the respiratory function of the heart. In addition to this experimental design there are two passenger carriages and at the nervous system of it all two carriages for the mechanics.
“Each year that passes we learn more and return to society inspired & full-steam ahead for innovation & improvement to take it to the next level of sensory engagement” - Michael Kennedy
After electric success and expansive collaborations with other artists (during Afrikaburn 2016 a German crew created Hauptbahnhof Station as a side project) inspiration once again proved to be contagious and this immersive experience took to life once more. On 14 December these guys will host their fundraising at JACK to raise the funds required to return to Afrikaburn with Lobo.
Have you felt curiosity tickling your underbelly after reading about The Spirit Train, and are you left wanting more of this mad genius? Deep dive in their story here: “Michael’s inspiration”
Have you found the alignment between The Spirit Train and JACK? I’ve made you a cheat sheet: > Desire to make a difference > An ever evolving ART project intimately interwoven in our lives > Engaging the senses > A combination of nature and industry > Experimental design and experience > Creative collaborations > Going beyond the project to add something to the lives of others Bonus: Into the tiny details even, we see our reflection in the guardian owl spirit, lovingly named “Gobo” (or Jackie in our case, who silently watches over all the explorers of our rooftop)