August 21st, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

The State of the Art

For those of you who come to Burning Man to see the ART in store for you, I have traveled the playa and met with many good artists and can most joyfully tell you that the  State of the ART in Black Rock City, despite the previous weeks’ weather is very, very good.

Dan Fox's Alien Siege Machine

Dan Fox’s Alien Siege Machine

The largest project closest to the ARTery, up around 6:30, is Dan Fox’s Alien Siege Machine. This beast is growing daily, with all but the top floors installed, and it will eventually reach 40 ft tall. Participants can climb all over and inside this beast of a machine that will burn on Friday.  I met Dan Swain, aka Dolphin, the project architect, who told me the structure should be completed by end of day today. Fox and his crew built Anubis and the Trojan Horse.  They like big wooden sculptures that end in the most impressive burns, so this one will be a must see. They’re based out of the East Bay, Oakland and the project prefabrication is done at NIMBY. When you arrive in Black Rock City, please be sure to climb up in the Machine for the view and for a sense of back in the day when you had your forts and tree houses, complete with “NO GURLS (or BOYZ) ALLOWED” signs, however this time you’ll be  inside an Alien Siege Machine that is ready to pilot into battle and lay waste to everything in its path.  And there’s a really big bomb loaded in the bomb bay waiting to drop.

A happy  Toilet Bowl Crew

A happy Toilet Bowl Crew

Following the Promenade to the Man, I ran into the fine folks at The Toilet Bowl along the 9 o’clock Promenade. Tracy Gillan, Don Rider and Gaylen Hamilton of Bathroom Beacons: Welcome to Fabulous Black Rock City (their group is collectively known as StarPony Labs) and hung out with them a moment. Tracy told me, “I bought all this bowling alley stuff on Craigslist and I wanted to make a bowling alley here on the playa. Don and I are in the same hula hooping class and I told him I wanted to call it the ‘Dust Bowl’ and asked if he wanted to be part of it. He asked if we could incorporate it into his Bathroom Beacons art then we decided, Toilet Bowl!  History was made: a melding of bowling and bathrooms.”  “The Big Lebowski” will play on continuous loops on the bowling lane consoles and their group is also building Bathroom Beacons: Welcome to Fabulous Black Rock City, the redux of the Las Vegas sign, guiding participants to spots of relief. They are also installing Twisted Bristles in the 3 o’clock plaza – a large toilet brush featuring optic fiber and LED lighting.

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August 21st, 2014  |  Filed under Building BRC

The desert time

IMG_7766

Summer has returned to the playa.

After unseasonably cool (even cold!) and wet weather early in the build, we’ve had blazing sun for days and days now. Early last week, we were so cold and damp, we wanted to sit by a fire in the middle of the day. Today, that thought is unimaginable. It’s hot. Plenty hot.

And just because it’s the single biggest question on everyone’s minds as they get ready for Burning Man, let’s talk for a second about playa conditions:

They’re not  great.

But here’s the thing: they haven’t been that great in six out of the past seven years, at least. The lone exception was the year after heavy fall rains covered the Black Rock Desert under many inches of water. Heavy rains re-set the playa floor. When the desert is inundated, it creates a deep, thick crust that’s more resistant to crumbling, and underneath the crust, there is a firm floor.

But that’s not the way it is this year. Actually, the playa doesn’t seem all that different this year than last year, and last year wound up being a fairly moderate year for dust. There’s general crappiness out around 3 o’clock, but there always seem to be lots of mounds out there. So again, nothing much is different than the past several years.

What does that mean for you? Be prepared for whiteouts. Bring goggles. Pitch your tent (and art) securely. Also? It might rain, so maybe a poncho isn’t a bad idea. Also? It might get cold, so have at least one warm thing to wrap yourself in if the need arises. In other words, it’s pretty much the same as every other year.

The last light on Razorback

The last light on Razorback

The playa seems the same, and many things seem the same, year after year. King Paul, the head of the Oculus crew, said, “What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different outcome, right?” We agreed, and we’d heard the quote before. But we said that it’s also true that we do the same things over and over out here, and the results ARE different. So does that make us crazy too? Paul raised his eyebrows and agreed.

“You get to work with a bunch of kick-ass people,” he said, “you get the camaraderie, and the rest just comes.”

Yes, the rest just comes. We all go through changes in the offseason. We lose friends and family, we get married and divorced, we move, we change jobs. Sometimes we get sick or hurt, and sometimes our spirits suffer distance and alienation.

But then we come out here and we get to be the same again. And we get to work with a lot of the same crazy-ass people in the same crazy-ass environment, and the crazy happens again.

Paul moved to San Juan Batista this offseason, to a 2500 square-foot house that hasn’t been lived in for seven or eight years. It needs everything – foundation, plumbing, electrical, the whole works. “I’ve got my work cut out for me,” he said. But soon, he said, he’ll get the gardens going, and get some livestock, too. “I’m ready to rock and roll.”

 

Contemplation near the fence

Contemplation near the fence

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August 20th, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Events/Happenings, Preparation, Technology

iBurn the App, a gift to you.

iburn1Our friends over at iBurn have released their Version 5.0.1 of iBurn for your enjoyment. Each year they gift this app to the community and it can come in handy when you’re out on the playa looking for art or trying to hook up with friend or try to beat “playa time” and actually make it to an event “on time”. It is self contained and doesn’t require 4G or internet to work.

iBurn has a map of Black Rock City featuring listed Art projects, Themecamps and Events with a filter ability to sort on types of events. It also has a favorites functionality where you can add your friends or favorite camps and Art. Full descriptions with other data like emails. locations, Home towns, etc are also available.

The folks over there are not affiliated with Burning Man and they gift this useful piece of technology for you. If you’re up for it, go check them out on the web at http://www.iburnapp.com/

The information in iBurn is locked until you reach Black Rock City.

There is also another app Burners gift for Burners to the community each year, Time to Burn https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/time-to-burn available for free download for both Apple and Android.

Enjoy!

 


August 20th, 2014  |  Filed under Afield in the World

Davos Is Burning

Is Burning Man just a big party in the desert? Is the World Economic Forum detached from reality? Or is there an opportunity brewing for our burgeoning global community to change the world for the better? Here are some interesting thoughts from Burning Blog guest contributor Taro Gold:

You can stop war.

As you read this, more than 40 wars and armed conflicts are underway around the globe. Right now. This moment.

Whatever justification people claim for these wars, the suffering they cause is universal and devastating. The war in Israel and Gaza and the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 are only the most recent examples.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. “I am only one person,” you might be thinking. “I can’t make the fighting stop by myself.”

But you can. The key is our human network.

Davos: squint a little and it looks a bit like the playa.

Davos: squint a little and it looks a bit like the playa.

That brings me to Burning Man and a surprising connection I made earlier this year with another event half a world away, the World Economic Forum (popularly known as “Davos,” for the Swiss town in which its annual congress is held).

I’m sure many of us have heard some colorful yet dismissive descriptions of Black Rock City (usually by those who’ve never joined us there) as “self-indulgent,” “insular,” even “frivolous.”

So I was fascinated this year to hear the same sort of disparaging descriptions applied to Davos. I wondered how this could be, since the two events are normally viewed as polar opposites.

When I serendipitously met up with other Burners at Davos earlier this year, it highlighted for me the commonalities of focus and activities in both movements.

Burners, sometimes described as dancing hippies in the desert, and Davos attendees, viewed as the world’s elite, have both been criticized as detached from reality, with Burning Man as a utopian fantasy lacking solutions for real-world problems, and Davos brushed off as ignoring the plight of the common man. Neither could be further from the truth.

My deepest impressions after participating in both Burning Man and Davos activities over the past few years are the open-mindedness of the people whom I befriended, the striking similarity of humanistic discussions I’ve held in both communities—on inequality issues, gender and LGBTQ rights, water issues, the climate change crisis, veganism, and Buddhism—and shared intentions to contribute our individual talents and influence for the betterment of humanity.

Photo by Scott London

Photo by Scott London

While it’s true that the origins of Burning Man and Davos are as different as the scorching summer sand of Black Rock City and the icy winter snow of Davos, there is a definite yin-and-yang quality between the two. As many of us are aware, Burning Man began in 1986 as a grassroots, organic movement, a tiny local neighborhood celebration of the solstice, which gradually grew to the event we know today with some 60,000 participants. On the other side of the world, Davos started in 1971 Europe with key leaders in government, academia, and industry.

What is most important today, however, is that both movements have grown into global networks, and in the process created community groups in which people can focus on specific issues, all aiming to improve the condition of human life on Earth.

Our beloved Burning Man movement officially aims to “lift the human spirit, address social problems, and inspire a sense of culture, community and engagement.” Similarly, the World Economic Forum focuses on its official conviction that “all issues are solvable if the relevant decision-makers are able to interact with each other.”  Although their original activities started from opposite directions (bottom up/top down), the current state of both movements is cross-pollination, bringing together those who share the founding spirit of each community across all sectors of society.

Both global communities are collections of smaller communities: Burning Man is a network of like-minded groups whose missions align, branching out to Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, and Burners Without Borders. The World Economic Forum comprises 38 communities based on a stakeholder concept, including the forum of Young Global Leaders, the Gender Parity Programme, Women’s Communities, and Global Faith Leaders.

My experiences with Burning Man and Davos have convinced me that the members of both carry essentially the same spirit to foster peace, culture, and education in our respective nations and local communities.

In other words, I witnessed an active and engaged force for peace, a humanistic movement that will spread around the globe, one person at a time.

Are you “just one person”? Then you are exactly the person this movement needs now.

As we look forward to another successful Burning Man celebration, I hope we’ll consider the default world with continually wider hearts and minds, transcending all superficial differences and preconceived notions with ever-growing confidence that our intentions are shared by countless others around the world who may never have heard of Black Rock City.  Even Davos is Burning.

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August 19th, 2014  |  Filed under Building BRC

What a big Man you are

IMG_7639 Well, now, that’s a Man. A mighty tall man. The names are pouring in – Tin Man, Skinny Jeans Man, Clown Man. You can make up your own. But there’s no getting around one thing: this Man is huge. It took a huge crane to get the huge man assembled. It arrived from Reno on Tuesday morning, and by 8 am it was out at the Man Base, along with a hundred or so onlookers plus workers from various crews of an equal number. There were to be two big lifts  – first the Man’s legs would be lifted to an upright position, then his torso would be placed on top of them. We’d only get one try, though – the cranes on site are too small for the job, and this was the only day that the big crane was available. If things didn’t go right, we’d still have a giant Man, but he’d be Reclining Man. Not quite the same. The day broke clear, but very windy. Wind is not a good thing when you are lifting very large objects into the sky. The crane operator, Leonard, was asked what he thought. “No problem,”  he said. Cheers all around. Back in the heart of the city, Booya suggested closing down the heavily used 5:30 road, to keep the dust down. Brilliant.

There was an air of surreality right from the start

There was an air of surreality right from the start

Brandon, the lead rigger in Black Rock City, called together a team of Heavy Equipment and Man Base workers and assigned them to the four guide wires. Then he explained the process of transferring the load from the guide wires to the wires anchored to the ground. The plan was to stabilize the legs, then have Metal Shop Heather weld the base. Heather is the hot-shot welder in Black Rock City, always the person who is called when something special needs to be done. We only know a little bit about welding, but we know enough to know that she lays down a mighty fine bead. But anyone can do that with a little practice. Her skills transcend the ordinary. We’ve watched surreptitiously when she has finished some complex task, because she doesn’t like to be watched when she works. But when she finishes, she pulls away from the weld and tosses her torch back sharply, like she’s just jumped off her horse and finished tying her hog at the rodeo. She’ll also be the person who does the welding in the Man’s middle, and in his neck when the head is attached. Of course she’ll have to be wearing a harness, because she’ll be working way up in the air, but in her case that has presented special problems: One, it has to be a welder’s harness, because it has to be fireproof, and two, welders are often rather big guys, and she’s kinda tiny. It’s not easy to find a welder’s harness that could do the job for her, but eventually a suitably small rig was found.

Metal Shop Heather at work

Metal Shop Heather at work

Anyway, after the Man’s legs were upright and secure, then the crew would move to the torso, get it up in the air, guide the 20×20-foot spine into the legs, then buckle down the support wires again. “The limiting factor in how quickly this will go is how fast we can do this,” Brandon said to the people gathered around him, their multicolored hard-hats nodding in understanding and agreement. There was one task left before the lifting could begin: the Man needed a lube job. Bacon fat was rubbed all over the top of his femurs, to make it easier for the spine to slide in. And then the big leg lift began, and it was almost astonishingly easy how quickly the legs went up. In contrast to last Friday morning, when a smaller crane seemed to strain under the load, eventually hitting 92 percent of its capacity, this time there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation as the legs neared vertical. Although there were people manning the guide wires, most of the stabilizing work was being done by Pope Phabulous in his Hyster, which had also been attached to the legs. As the legs neared vertical, there was an unmistakable wobble back and forth as the weight shifted. “He was twerking!” Layna said. Then the Man stopped moving, and a cheer went up all around. Done! If nothing else, at least we’d have Leggy Man.

As the Man neared vertical, he did a little shimmy shake

As the Man neared vertical, he did a little shimmy shake

As the cables were being attached and tightened to the anchor buckles on the ground, Joe the Builder was underneath the giant legs, trying to make sure the Man was standing upright. He was using a six-foot level, which looked ridiculously tiny in context. A plumb bob would have been no good, because the wind was still blowing steadily. But no matter. “We use the tools we have,” Brandon said. Finally the cables were set, and Pope could climb out of his Hyster cab. “Want to feel my left foot?” he asked. “It’s still shaking.” The simplicity of the task, and the Man himself, for that matter, was both beautiful and terrifying. He’s held together with giant bolts and, as they have come to be known, Joe the Builder’s giant nuts. The legs are secured to the ground by four cables. Yes, those cables were made of thick metal strands, probably half an inch or so thick, but still: four stinking cables holding up two enormous legs weighing tens of thousands of pounds each. Read more »


August 19th, 2014  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music)

MOZE’s 2014 ART PICKS and MORE

Embrace at Dawn, pre event.

Embrace at Dawn, pre event.

Are you packing and getting ready to make the journey to Burning Man this year, buying fresh playa essentials and becoming all giddy like a kid getting supplies ready for the first day of school? If so, while you’re busy arranging  your tents, coconut water and fuzzy boots, bikes, baubles, sparkly bits and bottles of liquor, mannequin heads, sound systems and shade structures, chill space ephemera, swamp coolers and cases of beer, stickers, misters, boxed wine and hats you don’t wear anywhere else but at Burning Man and all your fabulous costumes so YOU will be a piece of art at Black Rock City, may I suggest that you  take a moment on the ride out and read about the wonderful ART that is being built this very moment on the playa to amaze and delight you?

This year our esteemed leader, Mr. Larry Harvey has proclaimed that the theme shall be called “Caravansary “, which evokes the great crossroads of trading routes of yesteryear, traversing across deserts  from the Far East to Europe where travelers and traders would stake temporary encampments to exchange ideas and goods. These were groups of dusty adventurers with camel towed transports overflowing with gold, silver, teas, silk and other fabrics colored by exotic dyes. They were intent wanderers alive with fertile transactional minds; effusive to overflowing with enthusiastic proportions of good will, and even warring tribes would set aside their differences long enough to celebrate together, to amaze and tell stories, recite poetry and make music, to exchange camels and goods  in a spectacular gathering full of mystics and seekers, craftspeople and performers in the Souk, an extravaganza of the odd and bizarre. This was an era of “fully integrated culture”.

Evidently Burning Man’s theme this year is “Burning Man”.

Celestial Mechanica by Gescykae Welz

Celestial Mechanica by Gescykae Welz

Our artists have been working their asses off all year to GIFT you with ART you won’t encounter anywhere else. There are 270+ projects listed and they are all thought provoking and by the looks of things, we have yet another banner year of projects that will delight and inspire you. On your ride out, grab the Compendium for some in depth reading about the ART this year, and download and listen to the self guided tour with your guides Jim Tierney and Evonne Heyning.

There are SO MANY AMAZING PROJECTS that caught my eye and while not in any way exhaustive, here are a few to pique your curiosity. I’m well known to miss the absolutely coolest piece to hit the playa (see Piss Clear 2006 where I missed “Uchronia” aka the Belgian Waffle) but this year may I humbly offer you MOZE’s  2014 ART PICKS and MORE.

Embrace by the Embrace Crew
The crew who brought you the Pier, Pier 2 and La Llorona  have been working in Reno’s Generator for months to bring their latest installation to fruition and right now on playa to the right of the Man, they are building their seven story structure of two quite large people in an embrace. The piece is dedicated to the now and like everything we’ve seen from this group it is expertly conceived, finely crafted, beautiful and something I suspect will become a grand meeting place crawling with Burners caught in its embrace.

The Man
Sure, every year the Man is cool. We like to see him there all week and we like to see him finally burn because really, we have to do SOMETHING with him at the end of the event. We’ve had some Men on spectacular bases, and last year’s saucer was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, especially when it burned, but this year we have a very, very large Man standing directly on  the playa. What does this mean? I’m not quite sure, but as people have said,  in addition to just how awesome these two projects sound, “Embrace” and the Man look like they’re also  going to be cool because, well….  BIG.

SHOGYO MUJO  by Bart Kresa and Joshua Harker

SHOGYO MUJO by Bart Kresa and Joshua Harker

There’s a lot of buzz about SHOGYO MUJO  by Bart Kresa and Joshua Harker that is a 30 ft high geodesic skull that will have 3D projections wrapped on all sides with nightly video interactions between the skull and participants.  As the artists write, “the skull becomes a vehicle for experiencing and channeling our visions into the physical world.” This sounds stunning and the images they’ve created provide high expectations.  The Creators Project has written a comprehensive piece on SHOGYO MUJO  here.

This year we also have Eternal Return by Peter Hudson. Hudzo has brought us some of the most iconic sculptures to grace the playa including  2011′s Charon and 2007′s Homouroboros to name only two and as usual he’s holding back on the details because, as he told me once, he wants participants to discover his art in the same way he discovered a piece of art that truly moved him on his first Burning Man.  Peter works with big concepts and this piece discusses “cyclic existence”, something perfect  for his  Zoetrope iconography.  He writes, “the eternal return speculates that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form, an infinite number of times across infinite time and/or infinite space.” Based on his past work, we can expect something amazing and truly splendid.

David Best is bringing the Temple of Grace to the playa this year and it is going to be splendid;  a 70 feet high structure  in a huge courtyard. This year’s Temple has a gracefully curved body and intricately cut wooden panels and that team has been working double time to provide our community with a sacred space this year.

Another piece that sounds exciting is Paha’oha’o by Kahai Tate (who also worked on Truth is Beauty).  The piece  is a 30′ tall with a  60′ base that will be illuminated with LEDs to simulate lava flowing. “There will be a ladder to allow to people to climb to the top of the caldera and sacrifice themselves into mouth of the volcano.” Climbing and sliding into the mouth of an active volcano sounds perfect for Burning Man. Affinity wrote a great blog on the entire project with more details here

lostteaThe Lost Tea Party by Alex Wright aka Wreckage International sounds intriguing, the images we have look pretty cool and there’s a great article about it here.   It “is a camel train like no other. Lost in the sands of time it has lost not only its way but it has lost its original form, it has trans-mutated into a procession of giant teapots.”  One imagines steam inspired walkers mixed with a healthy dose of Dali-ese Darjeeling madness.  Along the same lines of odd and somewhat striking in description are Eidolon Panspermia Ostentatia Duodenum (epod) by Michael Christian and Dallas Swindle and Lost Nomads of Vulcania  by Joe Mross and Archive Designs, “featuring the Teluriz, one of the few remaining Vardo Class Steam Walkers built by the last surviving members of Captain Nemo’s crew”. Enough said.

In addition to all the installations that will burn this week, interactive fire sculptures abound. Merope II and Angel of the Apocalypse Feathers by Flaming Lotus Girls, interactive fire  in the form of “feathers from the Angel of the Apocalypse will create a warm and inviting space for the weary playa traveler” and a “filigree stainless steel star with seven points that emit powerful flames”, Infinite Infant and the Trail of Toys by Charlie Smith brings us a flaming infant pulling a trail of toys on fire,  Wheels of Zoroaster by Anton Viditz-Ward is a spinning, sparking firewood filled blazing project.

Celestial Mechanica by Jessika Welz features our solar system complete with a flaming Sun, and Wheel of Fortune by Anne Staveley, Jill Sutherland and Kasia Bilhartz includes a burning hearth and is a “interactive installation and divination tool featuring the 22 Major Arcana cards of the tarot”.  Also, we have Dragon Smelter by Danny Macchiarini that will be in the 4:30 plaza. Bring a your cans to RECYCLE CAMP then stop by 5:30 and Rod’s Road with a couple cans to smelt some coins.

Camels probably won't be here this year.

Camels probably won’t be here this year.

If you are looking for a Womb with a View, there’s The Dining Womb by John Lum and Bret Walters, a location at the axis of Sunrise and the Man that is a “24 hour lounge observatory for celebrating the passage of time and our internal clocks of hunger.” I’m told that dinner will be served.

Speaking of people gathering to dine, if you are interested in the great Wagon Train migrations caravans of the 1850s in America, Donnerarium by Badier Velji, Mikel and Sandi Kovach-Long explores some little known history of the US Camel Corps where participants “are are encouraged to pose with the articulated skeletons or ride a camel.” The piece also pays homage to “The Donner party which passed close-by in Wadsworth NV. Signs will provide historical information as well as whimsical comments.”

Will there be camels this year? I have heard from several entirely unreliable sources that there very well may or may not be LOTS AND LOTS of CAMELS  on playa this year. There might be a petting zoo in the Souk. There could very well be camel spitting contests and a great albino camel that wears shaded goggles and sparkle calf pink fuzzy hoof boots. The last camels I saw out here were in 1998, and this is their environment after all, so if they do show up, try to find them because camels are works of art in their own right.

For those of you who enjoy wandering the playa at night, looking for light and soundscapes to explore, Zymphonic Wormhole by J-Kat and Shelly is an emergent, layered symphony of light and sound follows those pass through it. The Field of Echoes by Sean Coffin that is a reverberant space where sound echoes and decays slowly as it would in a cathedral, Percussion Sphere by Lucas Jones – a place to gather and unleash your musical capacities and inspirations on a giant interactive instrument.

Wind Sound Sanctuary by Robert Hoehn “is a vintage windmill-driven set of playable pipe organs, flanked by a pair of Aeolian harps made of copper, canvas and birch”. There are Musical Swings by Ron Simmer and Super Pool by Jen Lewin that is an environment of interactive light: “Imagine a giant canvas where you can paint and splash light collaboratively”. Marac Anderson brings us Rings of Light, a daylight reflective curved sculpture and a nighttime interactive rainbow ring of colors. Additionally we have a Visual Orchestra by Greg Ames/Dawn Crat and a SoundPuddle by John English that is an “interactive space of visual-acoustic synesthesia”. I suspect that cuddle puddles may spontaneously appear at or near this piece.

Lost Nomads of Vulcania  by Joe Mross and Archive Designs

Lost Nomads of Vulcania by Joe Mross and Archive Designs

There are some serious projects out here this year, and I image Resticles by Deborah Colotti is at the top of that list as it explores “cojones … vajazzled with LED strands” that are “two parachutes salvaged from the British military have been tie-dyed and tailored to be tugged and stretched over a nutsack-like structure built atop two tightly tucked 14-foot trampolines” so that these Resticles can bounce on said trampolines, bringing enlightenment to all.

Along a similar vein, we have big towering sculptures including, the returning Minaret by Bryan Tedrick that you may remember from the 2010 Keyhole described as “a power spot suggestive of a totem, spinal cord, and mushroom all rolled into one”. There is The Divine Masculine by Jack Allen and Tres Fontaine, a 22 ft tall sculpture of one of the “most enduring and personal symbols of the masculine”, that may compliment Cosmic Condom by Brett McIntosh.

Also be on the look out for The Vulvatron by the Cliterrati that is “a visually iconic mobile art piece, empowering women, goddesses, and the feminine identity. The form is inspired by the often politicized and stigmatized vulva.”

There are SO MANY projects this year. Dan Fox (of Anubus and the Trojan Horse fame) brings us Alien Siege Machine, a ghost ship that “travels through space and time imperiling all it encounters”, Sean Orlando and Orion Fredericks’ are bringing Armagan, “an interactive fire art piece located at Opulent Temple. Armagan means ‘the gift’ in Turkish” and Laura Kimpton, Jeff Schomberg and Steve Atkins are building The Pyramid of Burning LOVE and there will be LandSharks by Todd Williams swimming on our ancient lake bed.

We have quite an ART SCENE out here in the middle of this god forsaken desert, monstrous structures, sublime and anarchistic, all brought out by people who LOVE ART and who work hard to craft, build, ship and then make their way out here to install something to make you think, to make you delighted like that kid on their first day of school. If you meet artists at their projects let them know you appreciate what they do. Tell your friends to go visit installations, take pictures, get inspired and find YOUR FAVORITE pieces this year.


August 18th, 2014  |  Filed under Building BRC

A little of this, a lot of that, and some more of that other thing

"Embrace" so far, by dawn's early light

“Embrace” so far, by dawn’s early light

A good part of this morning’s morning meeting was devoted to the imminent arrival of the Bureau of Land Management’s law enforcement officers. They’ve bivouacked in Gerlach for now, but they will be a presence on the playa starting tomorrow.

You’ve already no doubt read the excellent advice on the JRS and the Burning Blog about how to have a trouble-free time at Burning Man.  http://www.burningman.com/media/doc/preparation/blm_stipulations/burning-man-closure-document.pdf)

The work crews got a visit from event operations manager Charlie Dolman and Government Relations Liaison Marnee Benson, who were there to go over some of the finer points and to review best practices. There were a lot of questions, and a lot of answers, but maybe the most important message was this: Stay cool. Don’t escalate the situation. If you’re going to get a ticket, the best path is to accept it and live to fight it another day, when you are off the playa and can take advantage of any number of legal resources available to you. One such resource is Lawyers for Burners, a grassroots organization with lots of success representing burners in past years.

Know your rights, to be be sure, and keep your ship tight, for doubly sure. The best way to avoid trouble is not to ask for it. But if you DO have a law-enforcement encounter, stay cool! Be professional! Be a burner! Don’t ruin your time here – if you want to dispute what happened, document your facts and have your day in court.

Of the 400-plus citations issued last year in Black Rock City, nearly all of them were downgraded after the fact.

The clearest path to trouble lies in becoming argumentative or confrontational. Guess what? You’re not going to win that battle. But as Dave X says, it might be helpful to view any law-enforcement situation as an opportunity to display Burner qualities. Who knows what culture change you might facilitate.

There were some interesting and unique hypotheticals discussed, though. Such as, if you have people riding on the roof of your vehicle on a couch, do they need to be wearing seatbelts? More info as it becomes available …

 

A big day for the big Man

My, what big arms you have

My, what big arms you have

So the Man is big. Very, very big, as we know. His legs are somewhere around 75 feet high, and when upright, the structure will be well over ten stories. And the Man is truly decked out this year. Not only is his external cladding extensive and graceful, but it will be lit from the inside as well as the outside. Mr. Blue and Smoke Daddy are in charge of the lighting, and honestly we can’t wait to see what they’ve dreamed up.

But tomorrow is a very important day. The Man Base crew has been working on the legs while they have been on the ground. Tomorrow they will be lifted skyward, and once they are secured, the torso will be picked up and placed atop his legs. It’s all very tense and high pressure, because a giant 240-ton crane is being brought in for the task. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates.

Monday was the final day to get ready for the big lift. To that end, the Man’s two enormous arms were attached to the torso, and that lift came off without a hitch. “I’m not worried about this one at all,” Chaos said. “Tomorrow’s the day.”

 “Embrace”-able You

Annie Harper and Rachel Heather Lee Kennison poked their heads out of Omega

Annie Harper and Rachel Heather Lee Kennison poked their heads out of Omega

Matt Schultz, who is building the Embrace project in the far playa, likes to jokingly refer to the heads, Alpha and Omega, which are now perched on top of towers, as Pez dispensers. At this early stage, they do look a little like that, but the skinning project is proceeding, and the closer you come, the more beautiful the figures are.

Yesterday Rachel and Annie were ensconced in Omega’s noggin, working on their murals and lighting and other effects. We couldn’t get a sneak preview, though, because the only way to get there right now is by boom lift.

“We’re trapped up here,” Rachel called down. “We’re like Rapunzel!” Read more »


August 18th, 2014  |  Filed under Technology, The Ten Principles

Technology and Immediacy at Burning Man (A slightly less than Socratic dialogue)

Ah, technology ... how it burns  (Image by Stefan Krause)

Ah, technology … how it burns (Image by Stefan Krause)

[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.]

Every now and then someone proposes a new technological fix for what many at Burning Man don’t see as a problem in the first place. The debate that results usually boils down to a parody of intellectual discussion, as performed by a sparkle pony named “Meerkat” and a shirtcocker named “Thunder”:

MEERKAT: “YOU AND YOUR PHONE DON’T UNDERSTAND OR RESPECT THE 10 PRINCIPLES!”

THUNDER: “YOU’RE A LUDDITE TRADITIONALIST WHO DOESN’T APPRECIATE TECHNOLOGY!”

MEERKAT: “HEY, LOOK, A GIANT PIRATE SHIP PILOTED BY COOKIE MONSTER!”

THUNDER: “I’M GOING TO POST ABOUT IT TO ALL MY FRIENDS!”

MEERKAT: “DAMN YOU, TRAITOR!”

THUNDER: “WHY CAN’T I GET A SIGNAL? OH CRUEL WORLD!”

 

This is a lot of fun to watch at three in the morning, but it’s not productive.

If we’re going to have a productive debate about technology, the terms of the discussion really need to change.

The first thing to realize is that an event in the desert founded on radical self-reliance can’t be anti-technology. Technology is a form of radical self-reliance. What you can’t do yourself you develop tools to do, and tools become machines, and machines become systems – and systems become “technology” as a whole. We absolutely rely on our tools to survive, let alone to build and thrive, and the idea that Burning Man culture is incompatible with the development of better tools is ludicrous.

Read more »