Gymnasium Burning Man

Gymnasium theme camp

If you are going to Burning Man and would like to participate in our camp in any way, please contact us!

New members are always welcome!

Check out a short video of Gymnasium 2017 here

Our theme camp for Burning Man 2017

Interactivity is at the core of our camp’s theme: We want to recreate the atmosphere of the Gymnasium in its original, Ancient Greek meaning, as a facility for training and competition in public games, as well a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The term originates from the word [gymnós] meaning “naked”, because historically in Ancient Greece one exercised naked, and we would like to revive this aspect too, as we think that by doing athletic and fun activities naked, participants will experience bonding aspect of such events stronger. We believe that nudity will make physical activities more fun and at the same time will be important in bringing across our message about body acceptance. Nudity will be encouraged but not compulsory in all activities. We hope that all our participants will only feel more comfortable and confident in their own skin after our events.

Nowadays, physical and intellectual activities are usually seen as belonging to separate domains, but we want to bring back the idea that they mix well together, and our events will include physical exercise, arts and philosophical discussions. We plan to hold events every day.

But we shall certainly have several athletic activities, as we shall revive a few events from the authentic Olympic games with some modifications.

Greek-style wrestling, and as a variation, oil wrestling; we shall provide olive oil to participants; on the one hand, oil will make wrestling more slippery = difficult and fun at the same time, but on the other, we think participants will appreciate its soothing effect on their skin, being in the harsh arid environment.

Similarly, to make our events even more interactive, we could introduce bets among contestants or their supporters: e.g. “If you win, I’ll give you a foot rub every night for three nights”.

Our camp has a Yoga master and even more amateur masseurs, so we would like to provide massages to the winners and most active participants of our events.

For athletic flexibility and stress relief, we would like to provide naked yoga & acro-yoga.

Why not start the day with an invigorating yoga session @ Gymnasium? Embrace your mind, body and dust!

For the philosophical aspect of our theme, we hold discussions on various topics, and at the same time experiment with different forms of discussion: philosophy, symposia, Socratic dialogues, debates, autobiographical explorations of themes related to the body. Our topics will include:

– body image and body acceptance across cultures and history; their roles in naturism, and what naturism may teach the rest of society about body acceptance;

– body modification (e.g. cosmetic surgery, piercing, tattoos, scarring, the practice of circumcision);

– the place of god(s) and humans in our modern worldview and in Ancient Greece;

– the concept of gymnasium, as training for the body and mind in equal measure; mind/body relationship; mediations of the body and athleticism of the mind.

Everything you can imagine is real, or is it? Be ready to hold healthy conversations and exchange ideas and opinions.

A frisbee throw will be our equivalent of discus competition (this is one of the reasons why we would like our camp to be at the esplanade); we could have one frisbee event during day and another during night with LED-lit frisbee discs.

Let us know what you think, and if you cannot participate directly but have an idea related to our theme, just email us! You can go through ‘How it used to be’ sections of this website to get some inspiration for our camp, be it athletic activities or simply fun!

And let’s just reiterate this quote from Wikipedia:

“The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term γυμνός [gymnós] meaning “naked”.

The word gymnasium is the latinisation of the Greek noun γυμνάσιον (gymnasion), “gymnastic school”, in pl. “bodily exercises” and generally “school” which in turn is derived from the common Greek adjective γυμνός (gymnos) meaning “naked”, by way of the related verb γυμνάζω (gymnazo), whose meaning is “to train naked”, “train in gymnastic exercise”, generally “to train, to exercise”. The verb had this meaning because one undressed for exercise. Historically, the gymnasium was used for exercise, communal bathing, and scholarly and philosophical pursuits. The English noun gymnast, first recorded in 1594, is formed from the Greek γυμναστής (gymnastēs), but in Greek this word means “trainer” not “gymnast”. The palaistra was the part of the gymnasium devoted to wrestling, boxing and ball games.”