Intellectual Pursuits at Burning Man 2012

Burning Man on the Brain, button by Editrix Abby

While Burning Man has gained a well-earned reputation for being one of the greatest parties in the world, it’s a somewhat lesser known fact that it’s also a crucible for creativity, innovation and intellectual discourse. We’ve done a round-up of all the workshops, talks, conferences (yes, conferences) and other intellectual pursuits happening in Black Rock City this year — turns out there’s a lot of ‘em! Read on, then get out there and get your cerebellum stimulated! You’ll also find a list of academic events on the back of the What Where When guide, which you’ll get at the Greeters Station.

(Please note that as with any “scheduled” event in Black Rock City, your mileage may vary. Camps move, times shift, weather blows things away, and people aren’t 100% reliable … so take this schedule with a grain of salt, and check in with the organizers directly if you want to make sure things are happening when and where you expect them to.) (more…)

It’s a Dusty One, Folks

Pop quiz: what makes for a solid playa conditions? Answer: A winter season full of precipitation, which compacts and solidifies the playa surface.

Whiteout Inside a Tent, photo by Joseph Pred, taken August 13, 2012.

Well, folks, due to one of the most anemic winters the west coast has seen since 1977, this promises to be one of the dustiest years ever in Black Rock City. If 2011 was your first year, YOU WERE BLESSED BY UNBELIEVABLY GOOD WEATHER AND PLAYA CONDITIONS. It was an anomaly at best, and it won’t be like that this year, no siree. Veteran Burners will tell you that dust is always an integral part of the experience, and it’s so very true … but as much as we revel in and love its alkaline awesomeness, it’s much less fun when you’re not prepared for it. (more…)

The Golden Spike

“Just be awesome.”

We thought we’d seen the beginning of Burning Man before, but we didn’t  know until Monday that we really hadn’t.

This will be the fifth year that we’ll be out there as miles and miles of fence get put up in a day, and we’ve always associated the fence with the beginning of the Burning Man year.  But we’ve been wrong.

Coyote, aka Tony Perez, has been teasing us for at least a couple of years about fence day. “Don’t all those pictures look pretty much the same as last year?” he’d ask. And the answer has always been yes, of course, they’re the same as last year. Only different. Just like the event itself. It’s the same, but different. Different people, different feel, but still the same.

So we accepted his invitation to come up and see what the survey team does before the fence crew arrives, and we weren’t really prepared for the experience. (more…)

Turnkey Camping Guidelines

Peter Doty’s “Christmas Camp”, Burning Man’s first theme camp, 1993. Photo by Gerry Gropp.

[Please note we’ve changed the nomenclature for these types of camps from “Plug & Play” to “Turnkey” to better reflect the way they function.]

Groups of people who set up a camp at Burning Man – or hire help to set up a camp – with the explicit intention of having things ready to go in advance of the arrival of others, are engaging in what we’ve termed “Turnkey camping” (see previous posts on this topic here and here).

In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in Turnkey camping services, and the Burning Man organization has decided to address the issue by providing guidelines for these camps and their organizers. We thought you’d like to see them.

We welcome your feedback on this topic in the comments section below. (more…)

What’s Up With Traffic at Burning Man?

[Kristy Evans is a senior manager in the Gate, Perimeter and Exodus Department, where she has helped manage the task of getting people in and out of Black Rock City since 2007.  The logistics of traffic, people movement, and staffing a huge department still fascinate her, and with an ever growing city there is always more work to do. She first made the trek to the Black Rock Desert in 2003 and began volunteering in 2005 with Gate. She is a member of the Burning Man Leadership Forum, and you can read the rest of her bio here.]

Exodus Traffic, 2004. Photo by Jocko Magadini

Getting participants in and out of Black Rock City is one of our greatest challenges, and we figure it’s high time to share our ongoing work on the traffic front with you. For most Burners it isn’t the most vibrant topic, except for some of us nerdy types who like to think about systems and logistics (which is probably how we found ourselves huddling around fire barrels drawing traffic scenarios in playa dust for fun).

After the 2011 event, we received more responses (through our Feedback Loop process via feedback here: feedback (at) burningman.com) about traffic and wait times than any other topic. And we are listening. Those of us in the Gate, Perimeter & Exodus Department have been reading your feedback for years and have carefully considered the many suggestions put forth by the community. (more…)

Count Me! Count Me!

Don’t be surprised if a group of lab coat-clad scientists descends upon your vehicle as you approach the Greeters station this year. You might just be one of the lucky ones selected by the Census Samplers! These eager burning nerds are keen to include you in a scientific probability sample of Black Rock City’s population. They’re gathering data to get a more accurate picture of who is attending Burning Man this year. Aren’t you curious to know?

Last year 42% of the people who participated in the Black Rock City Census considered themselves artists, and an additional 35% considered themselves artists sometimes (read prior stats from the Census). Do these numbers seem high to you? Low? We don’t know if the people who voluntarily filled out the Census were truly representative of the citizens of BRC. (more…)

BLM Issues BRC Permit for 2012 Event

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Megan Miller
415-865-3800 x158

Black Rock City, LLC Gets Green Light from the BLM for 2012 Event

June 12, 2012, San Francisco, California. – Black Rock City, LLC, the organization that hosts the annual Burning Man event, is pleased to announce that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has authorized a Special Recreation Permit (SRP) for this year’s event, set to take place from August 27-September 3rd on the Black Rock Desert Playa, approximately 8.5 miles north of Gerlach, Nevada.

In addition to authorizing the one-year SRP, the BLM signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the related Environmental Assessment (EA) of Burning Man’s proposed actions for 2012-2016. Black Rock City, LLC has been working with BLM and Aspen Environmental Group for the past two years to complete this EA. The document suggests environmental mitigations based upon a gradual increase in population to 70,000 over the next five years.

For this year’s event, the BLM has set a maximum population of approximately 60,900 participants, or “citizens” of Black Rock City.

“As we celebrate this milestone, we’d like to thank our partners at the BLM and look forward to working with them towards securing a multi-year permit in the near future,” said Marian Goodell, Burning Man co-founder and Black Rock City LLC’s Director of Business and Communications.

Burning Man is the largest permitted event held on Federal land. For twenty years, the Black Rock Desert, north of Reno, Nevada, has played host to the annual art event, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986 and has grown to attract more than 55,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and twenty-three countries worldwide. The BLM has issued a permit for Burning Man each year since 1992.

Curious about how this will impact further ticket distributions for this year’s Burn?  See this blog post.

CameraGirl Speaks on BMan Tech at the MLOVE ConFestival

Why doesn’t Burning Man just provide the Internet to participants? Why doesn’t Burning Man encourage Cellular coverage? Why doesn’t Burning Man have an Official App?

Heather “CameraGirl” Gallagher, Burning Man’s Technology Dominatrix (or “director”, in default-world parlance) will be speaking on technology and Burning Man at the MLOVE ConFestival in Monterey, CA, April 24-26, 2012.  MLOVE invites 200 thought leaders and innovators to discuss the powerful and inspiring potential of mobile as a catalyst for change and opportunity. Heather will be speaking about technology in Black Rock City, as well as how technology is utilized to facilitate Burning Man’s year-round production efforts.

The MLOVE website describes the ConFestival as follows: “The MLOVE ConFestival brings together CEOs, innovators and entrepreneurs from across multiple disciplines to share, learn and cross-pollinate ideas with an array of scientists, artists and other thought leaders. The event exposes the mobile industry to the best minds outside of mobile to maximize the opportunity of creating life-changing services and applications that can impact us all for the better.”