Serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for;

Merriam Webster Dictionary

Every year at the end of August, thousands of people converge on a dry lake bed (The Playa) in the remote Black Rock Desert in Nevada for the Burning man Festival. This event lasts a full week, during which the gathered community celebrates radical self reliance, self expression, art, music, spirituality, etc.

One of the most significant aspects of Burning Man is the culture of gifting. “Gifting” is giving simply for the sake of giving and usually the experience for the giver and the receiver is more important than the gift itself. It isn’t necessary to offer a tangible item, in essence, one is gifting an experience.

Often this gifting experience is very serendipituous: someone offers a gift and it’s the very thing needed at that moment. This is so prevalent on The Playa, that it’s affectionately called Playadipity.

The Serendipity Outpost celebrates this bit of Playa magic.

Wooden model with some design concepts photoshopped over it

Inside the Outpost you turn the crank of the Gifting Machine. The “What Wheel” and “When Wheel” spin into action creating a cacophony of light and sound. The “Who Ball” drops from its dispenser and clatters through a maze, coming to a rest as the two wheels stop spinning. Markers on the wheels tell you “What” you will be gifting and “When” you’ll be doing it. Finally the “Who Ball” tells you who you’ll be giving it to, “A person in a red tutu” or “The last person in line at Center Camp Cafe” for example.

Somewhere on The Playa all three will align to create a new episode of serendipity. You just add your own creativity to the experience. You can be funny, profound, endearing, witty or downright silly. It’s Burning Man, after all!