Placing Otic Oasis 2.0

Bucky placing art

I’ve got my feet in several worlds this year on playa, working for the ARTery, documenting art projects to share with you all, and I’m doing some placement with the Artist Support Services (ASS) folks and I’m pretty much there to do whatever else they want me to. I’m also helping out with some Tech stuff since in my year round job I work on this here web site about the whole Burning Man thing. My ARTery mentor is Awesome Sauce, and yesterday, under her steady tutelage,  I had the pleasure of placing my first art project EVER, Otic Oasis.

My most awesome mentor, Awesome Sauce

Basically the ARTery places art once you hit the playa with your project. You roll into the ARTery and register, and then one of our team will set a time to take you out on the playa with what is called a “floofy” which sounds like “flew fee” with the plural being “floofies”. The ARTery has a rigid lexicon to describe what they do.

There are two main reasons for registering your ART. First and most obvious is to have a map of where the projects are, so people searching for them can find them, and secondly to be able to list projects on the MOOP map to make sure we all Leave No Trace.


The Woman in White

A mystery woman on the Playa rode up on her bicycle and moments later rode away again. But in those few moments a picture and a memory evolved. It may not be as dramatic to some as the original “Woman in White, a novel by Wilkie Collins. But she was my Woman in White and she was not an apparition.

Just before she rode up my friends and I had chanced upon the Co-operative Sculpture of a full size tepee and circles of self portrait sculptures of the artists. The sculptures were seated in circles on the desert floor in groups of three or four holding hands. Each circle had a gap in which a pARTicipant could sit and become part of the work. As I sat in one of the circles I realized the sculptures were nudes and that is the way to really become one with the whole scene. So, I took off my clothes, hid them behind a sculpture, and sat back down. We took another round of photos and I rose and dressed. That is when the Woman in White came on the scene.

She was a vision in white against the white backdrop of the Playa. Her flowing white summer dress and large white floppy hat set against her Mediterranean complexion and dark hair made a stunning impression on me. As she looked over the artwork I noticed a point and shoot camera hanging from her wrist. I asked if she would like me to take a picture of her sitting in the circle and she handed me the camera. She sat down and I took several snapshots. As she stood up I told her of my obsewrvation that the statures were nude and told her what I had just done. With no hesitation she whipped off her floppy white hat and the flowing white dress and sat back down. I took a few more pictures with her camera and asked permission to take one with my own SLR. She said yes. I tool a few shots, she stood up, dressed, and rode off into the Playa as suddenly as she had appeared. I never saw her again during the remainder of the burn.

As I left the Playa I wondered who she was. Should I have asked for her name, or how to contact her? Or would that have ruined the moment? Well, maybe I’ll see her on the Playa this year. I’ll be looking for the Woman in White.

by K1LPI

What’s That? A PUA You Say?

Photo by Karie Henderson, 2002

Burning Man was built on freedom of expression, and participants shouldn’t have to worry that photos or videos of their on-playa activities might appear online (or elsewhere) without their permission.

Going way back (pre-2000), Burning Man has requested that participants intending to record video on playa sign a Personal Use Agreement (PUA) to protect participants’ privacy in Black Rock City. In fact, it was this policy that allowed us to stop Voyeur Video from broadcasting illicit videos they’d recorded of unwitting Burning Man participants in 2002.

Burning Man’s photo policy is spelled out in the online terms and conditions applicable to all tickets: any participant is free to disseminate photos for personal use only, and cannot use them for any other purpose without the written permission of Burning Man.  The PUA simply provides another mechanism to make participants aware of the limitations on photo use, and the distribution of the PUA at Playa Info also assists in this process.

Of course, technology is evolving quickly. Back when video cameras were big and bulky and rare, we asked that each be tagged so people could identify the person taking their picture. Flash forward to 2012, and now just about everybody has a video camera on their person in the form of a smart phone or handheld video camera — so while collecting PUAs has become more logistically challenging, protecting the privacy of our participants is more important than ever. (more…)

Burning Man Files Lawsuit Against Pershing County, NV

Fee Increases Violate Federal Law, Threaten Ability To Do Business In State

For more information, please visit

RENO, Nev. — Today the organizers of Burning Man filed a lawsuit against Pershing County, Nev., to stop the county’s attempt to impose a drastic increase in fees on the annual weeklong event, which is held on public land managed by the U.S. government. This action will not affect the 2012 event.

“For more than 20 years, the Burning Man community has proudly made northern Nevada its home, providing millions of dollars annually to the local economy,” said Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man. “We love Nevada. Unfortunately, Pershing County is making it difficult to continue doing business here. We intend to resolve this matter through reasonable means and work collaboratively with Nevadans to keep our business in the state.”

Black Rock City, LLC, is the company that organizes the Burning Man event each year in the Black Rock Desert. Pursuant to requirements of the Bureau of Land Management, which manages federal land, BRC has annually compensated Pershing County for all documented, event-related costs since 2005. As part of a separate agreement negotiated with Pershing County over disagreements about the applicability of the county’s festival ordinance, BRC has additionally contributed a total of $395,600 to Pershing County and local charitable organizations that serve its residents. (more…)

The Convergence Ritual of Welcoming

A few weeks ago Charlie Smith, who is based in Atlanta, came to California to do a little fundraising, have a workshop to teach a little welding and other skills while building community and working on his 2012 Burning Man Honorarium Installation,“Timing is Everything – The 24×7 Time-Star”. We stopped by to take a few photos since we have know Charlie for years, and MonkeyBoy got to weld a little and I sat down and did a little filing.

We had a great time. Charlie’s cousin, Mary Gilbert, lives in San Francisco and helped put the weekend together. (more…)

(Almost Certainly Not Really A) Public Service Announcement – Cope with Traffic!

It’s much, much, worse than this. Photo by OsvaldoGago.
Back when I got extremely drunk with a high ranking member of BMIR’s leadership team, I was specifically asked to prepare a PSA about how to handle traffic at Burning Man.

The first thing I learned is: Don’t drink and write a PSA. They’ll just accuse you of setting a bad example. But goddammit, I don’t have a problem, the Interstate Highway System has a problem! Have you seen how crooked those roads are? There’s only one way to cross a mountain, and that’s to go through it!

For the rest of my tips about how to handle traffic at Burning Man, listen below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or click here.

Enjoy! And if there’s a topic you’d like me to produce a PSA for, drop me a line. Or actually don’t. It’s pretty close to Burning Man and I haven’t done any preparation yet. Do you think I’ll need a tent?

Caveat is the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca at Burning Man. His opinions are in no way statements of the Burning Man organization. Contact him at Caveat (at)

Big Art, Early Art

The Pier trucked in

With less than two weeks before the event starts, some of the largest art is here already setting up. There’s four so far, David Best’s Temple beyond Man Base, Otto Von Danger’s Burn Wall Street around 9:00 off from the Man, the Man Base and the Pier 2 who showed up Tuesday night and are placed at 4:30 and Esplanade.

I’m following the art this year on playa and one thing I really like about Burning Man artists is that they’re building not only huge things to enthrall you participants, both with physical interaction, and some will burn the whole thing eventually, but they do it in the middle of this harsh desert as just an extra, “Oh and if that wasn’t enough”.

Pier 2 survey

Matt Schultz and Paul of the Pier rolled into our newly shaded ARTery from the Salvagery in Reno. Some of their wood came along with the Burn Wall Street crew when they came in over the weekend . If you missed the Pier last year, it was a magical stroll along an actual pier above our dry lake bed, complete with the ambiance sounds of water below, dinghies, a Master Bait and Tackle shop and people fishing at the end. It was pretty fun hanging out with others on the pier. This year I’m told by Orlin and Fish that a Spanish Galleon has crashed into the end of the pier and it will feature a Captain’s Room, a main room, crew quarters with hammocks and a stowage area. Also this year you’ll want to have a fishing license and have it stamped if you’re going to fish.

The Pier structure built

They’d set up camp the night before (in one of the four storms we’ve had in the last 4 days), surveyed the project footprint and were busily unloading trucks full of props as wood was being moved over from Burn Wall Street’s Camp. We met with them when they went over some engineering aspects of the piece yesterday afternoon and they were intent of finishing the Pier part of their project by midnight last night. If the crew could finish by midnight last night, they would get a keg of beer. Despite the total white out from 8 to 9:30ish, they finished at 11:55 and there was beer all around. Now they will build the ship and I hear it is amazing from the artist who worked with them in Reno.