July 29th, 2014  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Consensus, Collaboration, Hierarchy, Authority and Power

[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man's 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]

Consensus and Collaboration

Photo by Vertumnus

Photo by Vertumnus

At every level of its organization, Burning Man employs consensus making and creative collaboration. Consensus means that everyone who is party to a discussion agrees to a course of action. For a decision to be adopted, everyone must give his or her consent. This does not mean that everyone agrees that a particular decision is the best decision. It simply means that they have all had a chance to participate, to recognize and address the issues, and to understand how and why the ensuing steps came about. When consensus has been achieved, the group agrees to align with the decision, and to work together to implement it as effectively as possible. This process only works if people share basic values and operate in a climate of trust that is rich in shared information.

Read more »


July 29th, 2014  |  Filed under Participate!

Promote Your Theme Camp and Events with a Promo on BMIR!

BMIR, people!

BMIR, people!

BMIR, Burning Man Information Radio (94.5FM on the playa and on the internet), is the best way to let the citizens of Black Rock City know about your theme camp, art installation or events. Now that you know your playa address it’s the perfect time to create a promo telling every one all about it. BMIR would LOVE to have them in hand before they leave for the playa so they can start running them on the air ASAP.

BMIR is going to start running theme camp and event promo announcements as soon as you can get them to us. You can tune in to BMIR via the internet and hear about what the playa has in store for you. Many people now stream BMIR on their smartphones during their drive to the playa. We’ll be live from the playa sometime on Wednesday 8/20 — listen in to find out about the weather, late breaking news you need to know, and info on how the city is coming together.

If someone in your camp is an audio whiz they can send us your promos at any time. Not sure how to record something ahead of time? No worries! J Kanizzle, BMIR’s Co-Station Manager, has put together this handy tutorial that shows you how to download and configure Audacity, a free audio recording program. The tutorial then takes you through the basics of creating your very own announcement.

Once you have something recorded, or if you have any questions, please email BMIR at BMIR here: BMIR (at) Burningman.com before August 20.

Remember to let people know the basics: what, where and when. Please keep announcements under 60 seconds and send them to us in .mp3 format at 320kbps. Please don’t send us 10 announcements for all of your individual events. Most camps send one announcement.

Can’t make the August 20 deadline? You can also put your announcements on a CD or flash drive and hand deliver them to BMIR on the playa. BMIR is located in Center Camp, 1:15 and Rod’s Road, right between Ranger HQ and The Earth Guardians.

Now if you just can’t pull this off, no worries. The BMIR Production Studio will be open every day from 12N to 4PM during the event. You can come in and we will help you record an announcement right on the playa.


July 29th, 2014  |  Filed under News, Photos/Videos/Media

Policy Reminder: Burning Man and Media

Rolling!

Rolling!

Storytellers have always been an important part of Burning Man culture and the creative documentation of our community is a form of radical self-expression. The images and videos that come out of Black Rock City help to keep us connected year-round as members of a global community and extend the impact of Burning Man far beyond the playa. While some might bemoan the presence of cameras at the event (you’re not alone!), our community has been thoroughly documented since its inception, and the ability for participants to share their experiences and perspectives is considered a right.

But the right to produce media comes with an important set of responsibilities.  Protecting participant privacy and freedom, and the culture of Burning Man as a whole, is key to the sustainability and vitality of the event. Every participant, whether they are documenting for personal or professional reasons, automatically agrees to the Terms and Conditions for media upon entry to the event. This includes many crucial provisions such as asking for consent, giving credit, and strictly non-commercial use of imagery. Everyone in Black Rock City accepts these terms as a condition of entry, and by entering the city you acknowledge that you have read the Terms and Conditions!

In addition to reading and understanding the terms and conditions, the back of your ticket, and the Burning Man Survival Guide, please keep the following guidelines in mind when it comes to the use of camera or audio recording equipment on playa: Read more »


July 28th, 2014  |  Filed under Participate!

The Caravansary Souk — A Call for Participation!

The Man, surrounded by the Souk. (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

The Man, surrounded by the Souk. (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

What is The Caravansary Souk?
This year the Man will be surrounded by a colorful circle of tents known as the Souk. This new public space will be a bustling marketplace where nothing is for sale, devoted to gifting, cultural exchange, interactive performance, and a playful commerce in ideas. Stalls in the Souk will be staffed by 25 unmerchant groups from the Burning Man Regional Network.

Celebrate the Souk Grand Opening!
Monday, August 25 at the feet of the Man, 7-9 pm
Every journey on the Silk Road needs a celebration of welcoming and rejoicing with fellow travelers. All are invited to participate in the Grand Opening/Going Out of Business Extravaganza in the Caravansary Souk. As the sun sets on the first of seven magical nights, explore and discover exotic delights and unattainable wares as you connect with your community from around the world.
The festivities will be kicked off by a grand parade starting at the Everywhere pavilion and leading into the Souk. Those who wish to join in the parade are asked to assemble at Everywhere by 6:30 pm. The extravaganza in the Souk will commence at 7:00 pm and run through 9:00 pm. Performers of all stripes invited!!

Contact souk2014-grand-opening here: souk2014-grand-opening (at) burningman.com if you want to perform or contribute in some way!

Al-Ari Invites Traveling Performers to Participate in the Souk!
To enliven the festive atmosphere of the Souk plaza, caravan master Larry “Al-Ari” Harvey extends his personal invitation to itinerant jugglers, acrobats, fortune tellers, magicians, seers, fakirs, sadhus, strongmen, sword swallowers, fire eaters, dervishes, human statuary, and dancing sign-shakers to bless us with the gift of performance in the Souk throughout the week.


July 28th, 2014  |  Filed under Building BRC

The Beginning

IMG_2163

This is the story of the Spike, the first official act of the Burning Man season, which is important because of all the ritualized practices that have grown up around the event, this one might be the most heartfelt and stirring.

But this story is also about the beginning the work that is necessary to build Black Rock City, which will become home (or Home with a capital H, as the participants like to refer to it) for somewhere around 70,000 people, who will gather in the desert at the end of August and over the Labor Day weekend to celebrate art and express themselves radically, among other things.

It’s ironic that Burning Man takes place around a national holiday, because Burning Man has reset the calendar for many people. For them, the year is about the season of the Man; and it culminates when the Man burns on the Saturday of the event. That day is their New Year’s Eve, and after the Temple burns, a new year begins.

So we are into the high holy days now, and to carry the metaphor just a step further, Spike becomes something like Christmas. It’s not so much about the giving of gifts or the birth of a savior, but rather it is more about an affirmation of hope. Maybe in some ways it’s Easter, too, because the feeling of renewal and rebirth is strong.

Maybe this religiosity makes you nervous, but we are not talking about deities here, or paganism, or any other worshipfulness. What we are talking about are the things that bind people together – hope, love, community. It’s no random accident that people say they are going Home when they go to Burning Man, because for many people, this is the family they have chosen.

Here is an outline of what happens over these days: The first of the crews arrive in Gerlach several weeks before Spike happens. The season begins earlier than you might realize. The logistics and office work and ordering of goods and arranging for services takes months. The tiny town of Gerlach begins to fill up with the folks who make the event happen.

Coyote called people to gather around the Spike.

Coyote called people to gather around the Spike.

Then, a few weeks in, there is a ceremony that marks the official start of the organization’s presence in the Black Rock Desert, and it is when the people who are most intimately involved with building the city gather together to collectively drive a stake in the ground, the exact point upon which the Man will be built. But before they take the sledgehammer in their hands and strike their ceremonial blow, they will say a few words to the assembled crowd. They will speak of their intentions, their joy, their sorrows and disappointments. Or they might be completely absurd, depending. There is no script.

But mostly, people take advantage of the opportunity to speak from the heart, to people who love them and will stand by them. There are often tears in the deathly hot desert, from both the speakers and the listeners.

Coyote is the superintendent of Black Rock City, and he takes the hammer and speaks first. “Every year we put the stake in the ground, and every year we change people’s lives,” he says. “And every year people take a little piece of Black Rock City home with them in their backpacks … little embers. … It’s a break from the normal madness. None of the mudslinging and politics and crap that’s in the news every day.”

Some people carry umbrellas to keep from getting scorched by the sun, many people have beverages in their hands, and there are shouts of agreement, as well as catcalls and whistles. Nothing gets overly solemn or cheesy. But somehow the words penetrate the everyday armor of cynicism and safe distance.

“It’s hot out today,” Coyote says, “So I’m not going to talk much. And we ask that you do the same!”

And then others step forward to take the sledgehammer and say a few words.

Will Roger, who founded Black Rock City’s Department of Public Works, says, “My hat’s off to all of you for keeping the spirit of DPW alive. A remarkable, dedicated, wonderful group of people. Here’s to you.” Then he hands the sledge to “the only person I love more than DPW, my wife, Rosie.” That would be Crimson Rose, who directs many of the fiery things that attract the Burner moths to the desert, who has been at Burning Man for 23 years. “We couldn’t do it without you,” she says.

Will Roger and Crimson Rose

Will Roger and Crimson Rose

Playground takes the sledge and says, “Every time I say the word ‘cancer’ I want you to say, “Fuck Cancer.’” Her husband is home undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. “Fuck Cancer!!” people shout. She asks some of her colleagues to join her in the center of the circle. “These are the people who have totally had my back as we go through this cancer nightmare,” she says. “Fuck Cancer!” the crowd roars back. “I could not do it without these guys. They make me shine. You make them shine.”

“Fuck Cancer!!”

Dylan Blackthorne comes forward. “A long time ago I decided that I was going to focus my energies on building the world that I wanted to live in,” he says, “instead of fighting the world that I did not want to live in. This is part of that.”

There are warnings and pleas to take care of each other, and for us to take care of ourselves. There are many people grateful for the opportunity to serve. And there is more heartbreak.

“I learned during (desert restoration) last year that my father had gone into hospice,” Makeout Queen says, through her tears, “and then he died in January. It’s been a really hard year. … And I moved out of the only home I ever knew, and the only community I ever knew. And it’s been really crazy. … But coming out here, and seeing ALLL of you motherfuckers, makes me realize that I made the right decisions. And the only reason I made the right decisions, is that all of you motherfuckers tell me to stop making the dumb ones.”

Makeout Queen

Makeout Queen

All of the stories were not alike, but many had similar themes – sorrow, joy, the gratefulness for being here again. There were people who had been doing this for ten years, fifteen years and more, and others who were there for the first time. If you weren’t moved by what was said, it wouldn’t have made sense for you to be there at all, really.

When all the people who wanted to speak had spoken, Coyote took a bottle of Champagne and smashed it into the Spike. People rushed to pick up the shards of glass, and then the ceremony was over. People drifted off the desert floor and back into Gerlach, to get ready for the next task.

But a few folks stayed behind to begin the actual work of building Black Rock City. The eighteen people who are on the Survey would start plotting out the map and marking the outline of the city onto the desert floor.

And that’s where we’ll pick up the story next.

The first gathering in Black Rock City in 2014

The first gathering in Black Rock City in 2014

 

The sun was hot, so the speeches were short

The sun was hot, so the speeches were short

 

Umbrellas provided a little shade

Umbrellas provided a little shade

 

When the talking was finished, Coyote smashed a bottle onto the Spike

When the talking was finished, Coyote smashed a bottle onto the Spike

 

When the Spike ceremony was finished, most folks headed back to Gerlach to resume their tasks

When the Spike ceremony was finished, most folks headed back to Gerlach to resume their tasks

 

The Survey team stayed behind to begin the building of Black Rock City

The Survey team stayed behind to begin the building of Black Rock City


July 27th, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World, Culture (Art & Music), Events/Happenings

The Flaming Lotus Girls’ “Soma” on San Francisco’s waterfront

photo Jason Chinn

photo Jason Chinn

With the Bay Lights as a glittering backdrop, the Flaming Lotus Girls  have installed their beautiful and interactive 2009 sculpture, “Soma”, at Pier 14.

San Francisco has been showcasing art at Pier 14 for a while now and Soma is the third art piece to have debuted in Black Rock City that will now grace this breathtaking corner of the City.  The piece was installed over the last two weeks and has already become the toast of San Francisco.

The sculpture is 60 ft long, dendrite to dendrite “depicting two communicating neurons connected by an axon bridge.  A soma is the cell body of a neuron, with branching dendrites projecting away at different angles, and an axon which conducts the nerve signal electrochemically to its neighboring cell.”

Soma is the combined work of over 100 Flaming Lotus Girls volunteers and the fire that glowed on the playa has been replaced with 97 LED lights that mix wonderfully with Leo Villareal’s Bay Lights behind them.

The  Flaming Lotus Girl’s Soma site describes Soma as a sculpture that

… represents the communication between two neurons:  She transforms the neuronal flow of electricity that forms the foundation of consciousness from a molecular to a monumental scale.

Built of stainless steel and LEDs, SOMA leads us to ask fundamental questions about human thought and neurological transmission. What is consciousness? What is communication? How does our physical and cultural environment shape us? What makes us human? Soma invites us to explore individual, collective and cosmic consciousness, the ego, and the hidden potential within us all for a more connected future.

Read more »


July 26th, 2014  |  Filed under News

Black Rock Arts Foundation Joins Burning Man Organization

raygun600 copy“Burning Man Arts” brings together Black Rock Arts Foundation and Black Rock City’s art department to streamline grant processes & better support the placement and enjoyment of art worldwide

San Francisco, July 26, 2014 — Burning Man today announced a reorganization of its arts programs to place more art in communities around the world, make more art available for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert, and create more opportunities for artists and donors.

Black Rock Arts Foundation, which is now a subsidiary of the non-profit Burning Man Project, is joining forces with Black Rock City’s art department to create one program called Burning Man Arts. The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

“This change breaks down the barriers. Art for the playa and art for the world will be one and the same,” said Burning Man’s founder Larry Harvey. “It makes it easier for artists to apply for grants and support, and it enables donors to contribute to the entire spectrum of expressive culture that is pouring out of Burning Man.”

So far in 2014, the Black Rock City art program has provided more than $1 million in grants and support to artists preparing works for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert during the last week of August.

Since its creation in 2001, Black Rock Arts Foundation has funded 149 projects worldwide, providing more than $2,500,000 in grants and support to artists. BRAF has awarded more than $430,000 through its Grants to Artists program and installed or otherwise supported 38 projects (with direct grants of $770,000) through its Civic Arts program. BRAF has also produced 82 memorable events and provided collaborative public art consulting services.

“Together, these two organizations will have an even bigger impact on donors, artists, and the communities that benefit from an active, engaged and supported arts community,” said Tomas McCabe, Executive Director of BRAF. “In addition to supporting artists on and off the playa, the new program is exploring an expanded range of offerings, including increased collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations and additional support services for artists.”

For donors, this development means that financial gifts to art projects for the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert can be tax deductible and opens up a wide range of new opportunities for supporters of the arts. All existing grants and support will continue uninterrupted. They will be completed within the framework of BRAF in collaboration with Burning Man Project.

About Burning Man

Burning Man is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whose mission is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into the larger world. Black Rock City is the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture known as Burning Man. The gathering, which last year included participants from all 50 states and 40 countries around the world, happens the last week of August in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. For more information, visit http://www.burningman.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s happening?

Black Rock City’s art department and Black Rock Arts Foundation are coming together to create one unified art program called ‘Burning Man Arts’. This will result in more art being placed in communities worldwide, more art available for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert, it will streamline operations, and create additional services for artists and opportunities for donors.

Isn’t that a merger?

No, it’s not technically a merger. Legally speaking, Black Rock Arts Foundation is becoming a subsidiary of Burning Man Project. Operationally, the two organizations are bringing their resources together to create one robust art program that will work on projects both on and off the playa.

What are the benefits of doing this?

This change will benefit artists and donors, and will ultimately lead to more art being created and enjoyed by more people around the globe. It breaks down the barrier between art on playa and art in the world, and instead creates one entity that will work in the interest of both. Artists will have more opportunities to receive funding and other forms of support, and donors will have a new range of options for supporting the arts.

What is the timeline for this to take place?

The legal transaction was completed on July 24, 2014. The transition and restructuring of the entities will occur over the coming months and into 2015.

What happens to the BRAF Board?

Many of the BRAF Board members have stepped down and we thank them for their dedication and service building a vibrant, successful arts organization over the past 13 years. A scaled down version of the BRAF Board will continue to exist. We are working with members of the board to engage them in new ways with Burning Man Project and Burning Man Arts.

How will decisions on grants be made?

Burning Man and BRAF grant programs will continue to award grants based on the same criteria as before. While we will create some additional efficiency by merging these programs and sharing tools and other resources, we don’t anticipate making immediate changes to our grant criteria or decision-making bodies.

How are current BRAF programs being affected?

We don’t expect the transition to have any major immediate effect on existing projects, grants or grant applications. They will be completed within the framework of BRAF in collaboration with Burning Man Project.

What new programs are being planned for?

None at this time, but there are some ideas being explored for the future.

How does this affect current BRAF staff?

Current BRAF staff will continue to administer former BRAF grant programs as employees of Burning Man Project.

What becomes of a donation I already made to BRAF?

Your previous donations to BRAF will still fund participatory and collaborative community art projects around the world, funded under the same criteria as the BRAF Grants to Artists and Civic Arts programs. If you’ve donated to a specific BRAF project or program, your funds will still support that project or program. If you made a “general” donation to BRAF, your funds will support future public art projects produced by Burning Man.

What if I want to make a donation to Burning Man Arts moving forward?

At this time you can still donate through the BRAF website, here: http://blackrockarts.org/participate/donate. In the very near future there will be a new way to donate to art programs through the Burning Man Project. While details are yet to be determined, donors will have the option of directing support specifically to arts.

What will happen to the BRAF website, newsletter and other communication channels?

We are working to fold in the content of the BRAF website into the new BurningMan.org which will be launched before the end of this year. We are looking at options for what to do with the newsletter and social media tools. We would like to have a unified voice for sharing information with artists, donors and the wider community about Burning Man Arts. Burning Man’s communication channels will be sharing information about the activities and opportunities of Burning Man Arts.

I’ve got a great idea for an art piece, community event, etc.! How can I get the Project’s support?

We are not developing new programs at this time. You can email info -at- burningmanproject.org here: info (at) burningmanproject.org if you have an idea you’d like to have considered in the future.


July 24th, 2014  |  Filed under News

Ticket Update: Shipping, STEP Closing, OMG Sale, Scalpers

The Man burns in 37 days, and if you’re nervous about getting to see it happen, we hear ya! Here are some updates about tickets to help you get there.

14_theme_caravansaryAlready bought tickets and wondering where they are? Don’t panic. Tickets are going in the mail every day. We anticipate they’ll all be in the mail by the end of next week (August 1), making their way into your eager hands.

The Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) closes tomorrow at 12:00 pm PDT, which is Friday, July 25. If you have extra tickets slated for will call delivery, this is your last chance to submit them for resale to other Burners. If you still need tickets and are waiting in the STEP queue, offer links received before tomorrow at noon will be good for three more days (or 72 hours after they are sent).

Since the max population of Black Rock City will be 68,000 (same as last year), we’ve been able to free up some additional tickets for the community. In addition to the tickets sold back to participants, we’ve already put 1,500 tickets into STEP, and this week we’re adding 1,000 more. That means lots of people who have been in the queue for a long time will get tickets this week. Please note, however, the queue is quite long so signing up for STEP at this point is not advised.

We’re also placing 2,000 additional tickets in the OMG Sale, for a total of 3,000.  Registration for the OMG sale begins on Thursday, July 31 at noon PDT and ends on Monday, August 4 at 12pm PDT. The OMG sale begins at noon 12pm on Wednesday, August 6. Registration details and other ticket info can be found at tickets.burningman.com.

And finally, ahhhh, the topic of scalpers. We’ve published a list of voided tickets. These tickets have been reported as stolen, lost in delivery, or as being sold for above face value, which violates the principles of our culture and the terms of purchase. These tickets and vehicle passes cannot be used for entry to Burning Man 2014. Check this list before you buy a ticket from a third party to protect yourself.

To learn about buying tickets more safely, please read the Fraud Prevention & Third Party Buyer Info section of our ticket support page. For more information you can also check out the ePlaya thread about scalpers and scammers.

Hope to see you in the dust, folks!