Burning Man Website Undergoing Magical Transformation

Burningman.com — time for an overhaul!
Burningman.com — time for an overhaul!

A hard working crew of writers and geeks at BMHQ have teamed up to build a brand spankin’ new website for Burning Man. This has been a long time coming and we’re soooo looking forward to sharing it with you.

As you know, earlier this year Burning Man became a non-profit. As part of our evolution from an organization dedicated solely to producing the annual event in the desert to a global network fostering Burning Man culture near and far, we are transitioning from burningman.com to burningman.org.

In order to make this grand leap, certain portions of the current site are going to be unavailable for short periods of time later this week. We know there are very important conversations happening in the community right now and we in no way want to stifle them.

We believe the blog will only need to be ‘pulled’ for several hours on Friday. If it were possible, we’d love to make the transition from burningman.com to burningman.org without disrupting current communication channels, but we’re working with a lot of moving bits and pieces and this is a necessary part of the process.

We also know there are lots of folks wondering about the theme for 2015 and the new process for applying for art grants. All of these details will be included on the new site, so we’re working fast and furiously to get it up and ready as soon as possible.

You can expect some parts of the current site to be unavailable at certain times later this week, and we look forward to sharing the new one with you very soon!

Turnkey Camps: Moving Towards Effective Solutions

bm_logoWe are aware that many of you are waiting for a response to a number of questions concerning theme camps, turnkey camps, placement of camps, access to tickets, decommodification and a potential erosion of our culture.

These are some of the questions members of our community have raised:

Is the Burning Man organization profiting off turnkey camps?
How did turnkey camps get all their tickets?
Do turnkey camps get preferential treatment?
Were people buying blocks of tickets through the Burning Man Project donation ticket program in the days before the event? If so, why?
Are turnkey camps undermining the practice of Decommodification and Self-Reliance?
What is going to happen to the turnkey camps going forward? Is there accountability for poor behavior?

The importance of these questions requires collaboration and input from a wide variety of people including staff, theme camp leaders, artists, Regional Network leaders, turnkey camp producers, and participants. We are still gathering information and identifying the most effective solutions.

We assure you we are listening and discussing real reforms.

Larry Harvey Speaks at Long Now Foundation

Larry Harvey (photo by Jim Urquhart, c/o Reuters)
Larry Harvey (photo by Jim Urquhart, c/o Reuters)

Burning Man co-Founder and Chief Philosophical Officer (we love saying that, it just sounds so cool) Larry Harvey was invited to speak at the Long Now Foundation on October 20, 2014. Long Now, in case you didn’t know, focuses on long-term thinking and ideas, and hosts a wonderful seminar series on a wide range of topics.

Larry spoke on “Why the Man Keeps Burning”, and his talk was very germane to current events in the Burning Man community. Listen to Larry’s talk on the Long Now site.

Black Rock City Honoraria Grants — New Process for 2015!

Big Rig Jig by Mike Ross, 2007. (Photo by Gabe Kirchheimer)
Big Rig Jig by Mike Ross, 2007. (Photo by Gabe Kirchheimer)

Burning Man Arts — the new department combining the Black Rock City Art Department with the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) — will launch a new online system in mid-November designed to make it easier for artists to apply for honoraria grants for art destined for Black Rock City.

This year, applicants will be required to first submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), which will allow the Grant Committee to select which projects will be invited to participate in the full grant application process, saving everybody time and effort.

The system will go live in mid-November, and LOI submissions will be accepted for four weeks. The Grant Committee aims to inform artists if they are invited to participate in the full grant application process by the beginning of 2015.

All artists hoping to receive a Black Rock City honorarium will need to participate in this new LOI process.

More information will be made available via the Jackrabbit Speaks and on the Burning Man Arts web pages as the rollout approaches.

Make your Burning Man Experience Count – Complete the BRC Census!

Census Action!, 2014
Census Action!, 2014

You can help shape the development and future of Burning Man — on and off the playa — by taking a few minutes to share your experiences and opinions with the Black Rock City Census.

How does the Census help Burning Man? It is one of the primary ways the Burning Man organization tracks changes in population, behavior, and attitudes of event participants. The more we understand the makeup of Black Rock City and the diverse kinds of Burning Man experiences, the better equipped we are to meet the needs of the community and help Burning Man culture continue to flourish.

Data from the Census also helps the organization represent the Burner community in conversations with local, state and federal  agencies and elected officials. In 2013, the Nevada State Legislature passed a bill allowing Burning Man to continue operating in Pershing County. Census data was used to demonstrate who attended the event, where they were coming from, and the economic and cultural impact that we have in Northern Nevada.

Census data is also used to understand the impact we have on the environment. Ultimately, we want to reduce our carbon footprint and make the event more sustainable. In the last few years, the Burning Man organization has rolled out several programs (like Burner Express) to encourage these efforts and the Census is one way that we track the year-to-year impact of those measures with information like the number of vehicles on the road, the number of people per vehicle and the increased use of the Burner Express.

More importantly, however, the Census is about YOU. This is your chance to have your presence in BRC counted and to learn about our community. It gives Burners the ability to understand just a bit more about the city that many of us call home. It is a chance for us all to learn who our neighbors might be, what brings them out to Burning Man, and what changes are taking place in BRC from one year to the next. Don’t dally. You have until October 15 to complete the census.

Want to go deep on how we collect and analyze the data? Read on…

The Census, which got its start in 2003, is a multi-part collaboration between the Burning Man organization, some nerdy Burner scientists, and the fine citizens of Black Rock City. Census volunteers include professors, students, and researchers from universities in Canada and the United States representing a range of disciplines. Census data has been used by researchers for articles published in peer-reviewed journals and academic presentations, and by the Burning Man organization and social scientists to depict the variety of participants that make up Black Rock City. There are three components to the project:

1. RANDOM SAMPLE The Census team randomly samples Burners as they enter Black Rock City – participants are asked to answer 10 questions, mostly focusing on age, sex, and other key demographics. The information gathered here is used to adjust, or “weight”, the online survey data to create the most accurate representation of the citizens of Black Rock City.

2. ONLINE CENSUS The bulk of the data is collected via the online Census at the conclusion of the event each year. More than 11,000 Black Rock City participants completed our online census in 2013. That’s 1 in 5.5 citizens! This year’s we’re hoping for an even higher participation rate, and our most complete Census yet!

3. ANALOG CENSUS Our analog Census consists of open-ended questions on a range of topics, from Culture, Happiness, and People, to Burning Man of course! Blank notebooks are placed in locations where people used to fill out the paper Census form — like the Census Lab, Center Camp Cafe, and other camps hosting Census kiosks. Here is a visual depiction of some of that qualitative data:

Confidentiality is highly important to the Census. Participation is anonymous and optional, and since 2004, the data collected has been held in university files associated with scientists who run the Census project. Summaries of each Burn’s Census data are posted online in the AfterBurn section of the Burning Man website and on the independent Census blog.

Once again … now is the time! The Census closes. Make sure to complete out your Census, and tell your campmates to do the same! If you have additional or specific feedback that you would also like to contribute, you can submit it through the BRC Feedback Form.

David Best and Artichoke Building a Temple in Northern Ireland

Temple of Grace interior, 2014 (photo by Robert Bruce Anderson)
Temple of Grace interior, 2014 (photo by Robert Bruce Anderson)

David Best, creator of the beautiful Temple of Grace at Burning Man this year, will be traveling to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland for his next project.

In Derry, a city historically split by religious and political divisions, there is a long-standing tradition of burning and building extreme bonfires. UK-based charity Artichoke, who specializes in large-scale interactive public art installations, wants to bring David and his crew to build a temple with the local community that will turn the notion of bonfires and burning in Northern Ireland on their head. The temple will serve as a source of healing, uniting people as they come together for the epic build. Four people from Derry came to Burning Man this year and studied with David as he worked on the Temple of Grace.

The Burning Man Project is thrilled to support this collaboration with its first official grant from the new Burning Man Arts program. Burning Man Arts has also awarded a grant to support longtime Burner and documentary filmmaker Laurent LeGall, who is working on a full-length film about David Best’s life and work. He will shoot the temple project in Northern Ireland for the film, which is expected to be released sometime in 2015.

Artichoke is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise £30,000 for the project and they’re reaching out to the Burner community for their help. Please show your support!

Midburn, Israel’s First Official Burning Man Regional Event

Midburn effigy burn, 2014. Photo by Jenn Sander.
Midburn effigy burn, 2014. Photo by Jenn Sander.

We’ve compiled some video, articles and photo galleries from Midburn, Israel’s first official Burning Man regional event. Produced by the Israeli Burning Man community, Midburn took place June 3-7 2014 in Israel’s Negev desert, where over 3000 participants gathered to celebrate creativity, art, self-expression and community.

Here’s a fantastic Midburn photo gallery from Ha’aretz, some great photojournalism from Shawn Saleme of Visual News, and coverage from the Associated Press (which got picked up by just about every major news outlet in the world).

Here’s Bear Kittay’s video, featuring interviews with Midburn participants talking about the significance of the event:

And here’s Ofer Yair’s video, featuring some spectacular aerial footage of the event site and the art installations:

Pershing County identifies victim of Thursday morning fatal accident at Burning Man

Alicia Louise Cipicchio, a 29-year-old resident of Jackson, Wyoming, suffered fatal injuries early Thursday morning after falling under a large vehicle at the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada.

Event officials, including representatives of Black Rock City, the Bureau of Land Management and Pershing County Sheriff’s Office express their condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and campmates of the victim. Support is being provided to those affected by the tragedy.

Organizers are working with investigators from Pershing County Sheriff’s Office to determine the series of events leading to the incident. Anyone with information that may assist in the investigations is asked to contact (775) 273-2641.