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We think it would be a great bonding experience to have some sort of participatory activity as the climax of the event, like the burning of the man at Burning Man (which is so important the event is named after it!). But we (the Ephemerisle Staff) have not been able to come up w/ anything that meets our criteria, so we are throwing it open for discussion, in the hopes that you will be more creative. Please read our criteria and examples, and add your own ideas!


From Ephemerisle Staff

  • Community Participation: Something that will emotionally engage most people enough to get them to participate/watch. (However, participation should still be optional.)
  • Spectacular: The activity should grab attention, make people say "wow" and want to stop what they're doing to participate and/or watch. We want this to be viscerally memorable!
  • Thematic: The activity should be as thematic as possible with the ideas of seasteading and Ephemerisle. It should unite the themes of Water (the environment that surrounds us) and Freedom/Self-Government/Political Expression (the passion that drives us).
  • Climactic: The activity should be suitable for Saturday night, near the end of the event.
  • Committable To Soon: Ideally, something we can converge on and commit to ASAP, so we can describe it on the website to increase the appeal of the event.
  • Scales With Event: Ideally, something we can continue using as Ephemerisle gets larger, more frequent, and further out in the ocean.
  • Legal, Cheap, Environmentally Friendly: for obvious reasons.

Your Ideas About The Activity

  • put 'em here
  • Sea Procession - A carnival style parade of literal "floats". This will be a great way for the engineers to show off their engineering, the seamen demonstrate their nautical skills, the artists to display their work, the musicians and dancers to perform, the activists and politicos to make their point, and for everyone to celebrate!

Analysis: This idea is open ended and could grow with the event while encompassing changing themes, and also changing environs. A parade encompasses variety by nature, hence the varied craft of Ephemerisle will have an opportunity to display themselves. The procession is also symbolic of migration, in this case migration to sea. Perhaps in future years the procession will be from Ephemerisle to the Seastead Model. Procession is one of the most common of all rituals in festivals, and so it will be easy for people to understand and participate in. Because navigating water with "platforms" or other experimental craft may be inherently challenging, ritual catharsis will be achieved simply by the successful act of procession from one location to another (ideally from Ephemerisle to Seastead). This idea fits all the criteria listed above.

  • The Great Recombination: On Saturday a couple of hours before sunset, the entire city breaks apart. All boats disengage from their moorings and even the shared platform sections are disconnected from one another. A few people are on every section to control and steer it. These people use paddles (and motors on the larger craft) to slowly cruise around, a swarm of constantly shifting watercraft. Over the next hour before darkness falls, the city gradually reassembles itself bit by bit, but in a completely different shape from the old city. Once the city is together again, a huge party begins. Community Participation: Everyone practices independent action and radical self-reliance in piloting their section and reassembling the new city. Those who choose not to participate can stay on the main section of the central platform. Spectacular: It's a completely reconfigurable city that can be formed and reformed within a couple of hours... you don't see that on land. Thematic: By giving everyone full control of their piece of the city, it emphasizes individual freedom. The scattering and reforming city is symbolic of the freedom of government offered by seasteading. Climactic: It's a big city exploding into lots of little pieces and then reforming, followed by a wild celebration the moment the city comes together again. That should be climactic. It likely does need to occur before dark for safety reasons. Committable to soon: Presumably so. Scales with event: Scattering and self-organization will take longer with a bigger city, but there likely would be ways of keeping it reasonably time-limited and safe even out on the ocean. Legal-cheap, environmentaly friendly: Yes.
    • One toned-down form of this idea is that the city breaks into two sections for a while, these sections are pulled apart, and then later are pulled back together. The reuniting of the two sections and two groups of people would kick off the celebration.


These ideas that we had and decided to pass on should give you an idea of the kind of thing we mean - and the difficulty of finding something fitting.

Helium Balloon Release

Idea: Everyone is given a balloon Saturday night for a simultaneous release. Unusual balloons like these cool-looking gold balloons (http://tinyurl.com/mfj5x8) could make for extra spectacle.


  • Thematic -- balloons floating to the sky, like any form of flight, conjures feelings of freedom.
  • Visually striking.
  • Environmentally friendly: There are biodegradable balloons and string (raffia ribbon)
  • This would have to happen before sunset on Saturday (6:46pm -- yay Wolfram Alpha), but that's still late enough to work.t
  • We could hand out Sharpies and encourage people to write something on the balloons -- e.g. one word about something they'd most value about a freer world. Make it personalized - fits well w/ theme of political self-expression.
  • Issue: Might not really be spectacular enough; might come across as cheesy; could seem really lame if participation rate is low.
  • Issue: Even biodegradable balloons are still polluting - they fall somewhere as trash from the sky before they biodegrade.
  • Issue: No theme of water.

Brief Ideas

  • Water Balloon Fight: Invokes water, but not freedom. Community fun, but not much of a visual spectacle. Easy to do, but invokes summer camp, not pioneering a new frontier.
  • Group Baptism: Everyone jumps in the water. Immersion in water is a ritual in every major religion - strong emotional appeal. Safety issues, and site is not good for swimming (shallow, will stir up lots of dirt). Could do partial dunk - everyone sticks their head underwater off the side of the platform? However, would this really have wide appeal?
  • Waterfall. Perhaps human powered? Perhaps a baptismal waterfall - people walk through it? Requires significant engineering.
  • Eternal Fountain. Human-powered fountain at the center of the event (like the Man at BM), kept going 24/7 by community. You stop pedaling only when you find a relief. Not a single climactic moment, but a gritty perseverance, and a constant visual element in the festival. Good community - sharing work, would probably be a natural spot to hang out. Doesn't invoke freedom, though (except maybe the idea that it takes a lot of work?), or political self-expression.
  • Fountain To The Sky. Human-powered fountain that we only activate at the end of Saturday night. Some physical mechanism whereby everyone can put in energy at once. Try to see how high we can get the fountain together. Reaching high sort of invokes freedom (although water then falls back down). Could combine this with Eternal Fountain - keep fountain going whole event, but larger groups can try to get it to go higher at various times, and at the climax of the event everyone helps for maximum height.
  • Human-powered watercraft race. Has DIY aspect, but not much freedom connection, lots of prep work, and hard/dangerous when event gets to the ocean.
  • Water beats fire (not a very serious idea). We pour rubbing alcohol (or something else that burns with a cool flame) on our arms, light it on fire, and then dunk our arm in the water to put it out, thus proving that water is stronger than fire :). Fire is pretty primal too, it could be cool to see a hundred people briefly holding their flaming arms up to the sky before dunking them. But fire on boats is bad. Don't want to catch the platform on fire. Maybe have people w/ fire extinguishers ready?
  • Fireworks - Pretty, associated w/ July 4th and political independence, freedom. Concerned about cost, permits, fire danger, requires long lead time, not participatory.
  • Something like waterfire? Check out waterfire.org which is annual event in Providence RI where fires burn on small barges in river - very beautiful! I know they say no fire this year, but if they were floating at a distance from the observing platforms, could be safe, no?
  • Dry ice / liquid nitrogen Large amounts of dry ice or liquid nitrogen dropped in the water can make all kinds of interesting things happen. It could be used to create an explosion or a big puff of smoke along the water. Plays well with various light effects: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2mj-Sq2oeo

Your Great Idea Here

  • Burning something - Actually burning something is not a bad idea to steal at all. It would attract publicity relating the event to Burning Man which is just good (even if the publicity itself might be negative, my guess is that many people like to go to an event that is not in the middle of the desert but has the same cool people).
    • James: We have a "no fire" rule, at least for this year. Since we'll all be on a wooden platform and everything.
      • Though there is a "no fire" rule, could we not build another platform that is fire proof separate from the wooden section, and burn something on that?
  • Open stage - Use the stage that's already there and anyone can do a performance (experimental cultural difficult stuff involving functional nudity, humor, putting mentos in coke, a great laser show, a speech, whatever) they want the avant garde to see.
    • Considering the average Seasteader now, a speech by some environmental or libertarian (Ron Paul) speaker would be cool (but then again, probably a bad idea).
  • Sky lanterns - I'd love to see the release of many floating lanterns, like the Loi Krathang festival in Thailand.
    • Patri: We talked about this, it's really pretty & inspiring, but it's a fire hazard for the surrounding area, plus it's littering. Cool though it looks, we want to avoid raining flaming litter from the sky :).
  • Giant Bubbles - How about giant bubbles? Safe, cheap (in time and money), participatory, easy cleanup, and cool. You can even make automatic bubblers, touchable bubbles, colored bubbles, helium bubbles, and even *whisper* flaming bubbles.
  • Seastead Model Contest - Testing small seastead models in powerboat wakes. Anyone can enter. Maybe models are limited to maximum of 4 foot size and 30 lbs weight, so about 1:25 scale. Some kind of prizes for winners. Could do larger and larger models in following years and maybe carry/tow a few miles toward bigger waves from exact location of Ephemerisle.
  • Foam - Cover the water in a thick layer of foam with a foam machine foam machine.
  • Eternal fountain to the sky - Mix elements of the eternal fountain and the fountain to the sky. During the event, people can pedal to add human power to a "battery". At the end of the event, the battery is released producing a large geyser. The battery could be a heavy weight which is slowly lifted or a chamber slowly filled with compressed air.
  • One-Eyed Pirate - This is the obvious answer to the problem, and I ought to delete everything above this to eliminate the clutter, but I won't. At sundown Saturday everyone meet on the main platform to do a One-Eyed Pirate shot. For those that don't know, that is a standard tequila shot-- lick the salt, shoots the tequila, suck the lime, changed up a bit to make things interesting. One snorts a line of salt, shoots the tequila, then squeezes the lime into one's right eye. We will be left with a platform full of one-eyed folks screaming "arrrrr" in pain.
  • Drown the Man! - Can we drown the Man? Create a large "Man" out of pretty much anything (since we're not going to burn it), maybe put an IRS uniform on it or something, and drown it? We'd have to find a creative way to make it more visually dramatic, but it ports the Burning Man idea to water pretty well.
  • Sea Parade - A carnival style parade of literal "floats". This will be a great way for the engineers to show off their engineering, the seamen demonstrate their nautical skills, the artists to display their work, the musicians and dancers to perform, and for everyone to celebrate! A king and Queen of the Sea could be chosen for their costumery and charisma.