Dancer at Sunrise, 2013. Photo by Paulius Musteikis.
You may have heard that Radical Self-Reliance is one of Burning Man’s Ten Principles. And so is Leaving No Trace. When you put them together, it means that whether it’s a costume, or a vehicle, or an art installation, your food, your camp, your bike, your trinkets, or whatever, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING SURE YOUR STUFF DOESN’T BECOME MOOP (aka Matter Out of Place).
And that brings us to the subject of feathers on playa.
Back in the day, folks would show up at Burning Man with cheap feather boas, and they’d inevitably fall to pieces, blow all over the playa, get stuck on the trash fence, blow past it, and generally create a super MOOPy headache for everybody.
Boas still suck, don’t bring ‘em.
So, to prevent a MOOPocalypse, we’ve long had a warning in the Survival Guide to not bring feathers (primarily this was directed at those cheap boas, since it predates when the headdress and fedora fads kicked in), and even had the Gate crew prohibit them from being brought into Black Rock City.
Now here’s the thing … some feathers are super MOOPy and others, well, aren’t. What we’re saying is this: if you want to wear feathers, that’s fine … but make sure they’re attached in ways that won’t fail, and if you can’t then don’t wear them, because it’s on YOU if they become MOOP. (And that goes for anything you bring to Black Rock City.)
So be smart, use good judgment, and be careful about what you do and don’t bring to (and wear on) the playa. In order to help you make sound judgments, here’s a list of things that are known to be especially MOOPy:
- wood chips, splinters and sawdust
- pistachio shells
- cigarette butts
- live plants
- burn barrel ashes
- feather boas
- mylar (once it dries out and cracks)
- firecrackers and fireworks
- anything that may dry out, break up and/or blow away in the wind
- loose glitter
- styrofoam coolers
- plastic bags
- sheets of paper
- disposable drink cups
- hay bales
- confetti (duh)
- swimming pools (soaked playa = moop)
- glass containers (they can shatter)
One last thing … we’re keeping our eye on this ball. If feathers prove to be a MOOP problem in the future, we may be forced to ban them.