Posts in black rock city

March 30th, 2012  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Participate!, Technology

A Blue Electric Thread

One year back in the last century, after our peculiar yet determined convoy made it to Black Rock City through gate, unpacked and set up enough of our tents and shade, we did what everyone does and found ourselves skipping off into the playa dust like giddy children and making our way out to see that year’s Man up close and personal. We walked up his hay bale steps and it was still early dark, just nightfall with a few people milling about and large red and black fireballs boiling up near center camp to faraway cheers.

the Man 1998 by Andrew Penn

The Man stood tall over us and I touched the steel support that held his leg and at that moment also accidentally touched my friend and shocked him. After a breath we slowly tried it again and realized that one of us could hold the Man’s leg and then just barely almost touch a finger tip with another and this tiny, delicate thread of light neon blue electricity would dance between our fingers. It was so beautiful and unexpected, like it came to visit us and wanted to play a while. We formed a chain of people almost touching out from the leg, adding one after the other until eventually the person at the end of the chain would say, “I don’t feel it.”

When that happened, we’d move that person to the front at the Man’s leg and another line of us would form and barely touch finger tips until this repeated and another person from the rear was sent to the leg. This went on for a time until some other sparkly thing distracted us and we set out with one purpose across the dusty playa to investigate, leaving our discovery for others to enjoy.

This, of course, was right before Burning Man was officially declared dead.
Read more »

March 19th, 2012  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Turnkey Camping in Black Rock City

Photo by Lucas Swick

[6/25/12 UPDATE: We've changed the nomenclature for these types of camps from "Plug & Play" to "Turnkey" to better reflect the way they function.]

In the last few years, a new phenomenon emerged – an increase in “Turnkey” camping in Black Rock City. What is “Turnkey” camping? It’s a shorthand that has emerged around those camps where a group of people (it could be individuals, or a commercial outfit, we have learned) set up a camp not just for themselves, but in advance of the arrival for others to arrive in Black Rock City and have things ready to go for them. Depending on the camp, this could simply include camp infrastructure, or it could also include food preparation, or it could go so far as providing an art car, a decorated bike, or a schedule of activities, for instance. It’s most often for a fee, ranging from reasonably close-to-cost setups to high dollar luxury style RV camps.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s hard to precisely define Turnkey camping — because we ALL pool resources to survive on the playa, and we all have to take care of each other … so who is to say what someone should bring or how much they should or shouldn’t spend to experience Black Rock City? Paying someone to do your kitchen at the event isn’t new, for example; other camps collaborate on porta-potty rental or other efficiency services. And sometimes, it turns out, these camps are prearranging the setup of their living conditions so that they can focus other contributions -art projects, for example, or a wedding. Or, just having fun without all the sweat equity. Read more »

February 15th, 2012  |  Filed under News, The Ten Principles

Ticket Update: Rebuilding Black Rock City 2012

Marian Goodell is a Founding Board Member of Black Rock City LLC, and Burning Man’s Director of Business and Communications.

PARAGRAPH UPDATES (2) below: 2/15/12: 9:15 PM PST

THE CHALLENGE WE FACE: DEMAND OUTSTRIPS SUPPLY

We promised we would get back to you by February 15th with our plans to resolve the ticket situation for Burning Man 2012. We all know there aren’t enough tickets for everyone who wants to participate in Black Rock City. However, it’s clear that the current situation has created holes in our social fabric. Many of the core volunteers, major interactive camps, art car projects, performance groups, and funded and unfunded art projects do not have enough tickets to bring their works to the playa. Here’s how we will remedy these challenges as fairly as we believe possible:

  1. Burning Man organizers and staff will issue tickets to major theme camps and art projects using a process outlined below.
  2. We will launch the STEP program on February 29th. Only those who registered and did not receive confirmation of tickets will be given access to STEP.
  3. Low Income ticket applications will be accepted beginning February 29th.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: the hard truth is that there are a lot of you who want to come to Black Rock City to celebrate your participation in the Burning Man culture this year, but not everyone will be able to attend. That sentence is about as painful to write as it is for you to read. We dearly wish we could just welcome everyone who feels drawn to Black Rock City. But, as we have explained in Andie Grace’s blog post: “Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine,” it’s not possible to simply increase the number of tickets available for Burning Man 2012.

And unfortunately, the random draw of the Main Sale left inordinately large numbers of our core contributors — art teams, theme camp creators, mutant vehicle builders, performers, and Burning Man volunteers — without tickets. In fact, the ratio was so unexpectedly large it has punched significant holes in Black Rock City’s artistic, civic and functional infrastructure, putting the integrity of the event itself at risk. If we let market forces play out as they could with the remaining available tickets, it’s likely that Black Rock City would be functionally untenable for many of the collaborations that comprise our desert event. Read more »

January 27th, 2012  |  Filed under Spirituality

The Soul of Burning Man is Freedom…

Quinn (aka Ghost Dancer) is Burning Man’s Nevada Properties Manager, which includes the year-round oversight of Burning Man’s Ranch (our staging and production facility), located north of the event site. Apropos of this year’s Art Theme, Fertility 2.0, we’d like to share this wonderful piece he wrote:

"Free!" Photograph by Betty Emirzian, 2009

Beyond judgments and dogma, Burning Man is at its core simply a stage of opportunity for people of all the world’s cultures to come together for a single week of the year to explore, exchange and express ourselves without the shackles of fear within an arena free of judgment, free of repression, free of self denial in an open free environment which supports and encourages that very intention.

For 7 short days; some 50,000 human beings join together in peaceful self expression, passionate self exploration and joyful giving of themselves to their fellow man without expectation of return or personal gain. This organic stage of opportunity for potential enlightened self experience is unique in the world and it happens but for a single week right here in our small sleepy little town of Gerlach.

Long ago the Constitution of the United States was drafted, many wars have been fought and many lives tragically sacrificed to protect your unalienable Right to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and the Right to “freely express yourself” while doing no harm to others. Yet there are many who would deny you these Rights or who simply choose to live life in a self-imposed prison of conditioned fear while sitting brain dead in front of the Television vegetating on what Paris Hilton’s wearing today.

Not the Burner…

These human beings of ecstatic spirit and a lust for creative living who discover and attend the Burning Man event are not content to just sit and watch TV nor passively accept whatever soulless doctrine is currently being spoon fed by the media. No my friends, Burners are in my observation the Peaceful Warriors of today’s potential humanity who are inspired by confronting the lifeless face of the mundane, and who burn within to awaken and live life to the fullest with an open fearless heart passionately driven to create and explore meaningful and lasting relationships with their fellow man in harmony with the natural world which supports us all.

As the gate opens and the people join together to spontaneously create Black Rock City, each and every ongoing moment is a completely unique creative expression unlike the moment before or after it, each person is more clearly seen and accepted for who they truly are through the process of contributing their individual perspective while simultaneously giving birth to more and more beauty and art inspiring deeper and deeper self reflection for both the individual and the collective experience. Basically it’s freedom of expression giving birth to greater levels of freedom of expression and mutual respect as a result, for 7 days and nights.

At least that’s how I see it.
You may call me a dreamer, I hope some day you’ll join me…

Thank you, Quinn!

December 5th, 2011  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), News, Photos/Videos/Media

The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man

Long-time Burner Philippe Glade has completed his new book “Black Rock City, NV: The Ephemeral Architecture of Burning Man“. This photographic encyclopedia contains 196 examples of the various forms of rugged, functional and temporary desert architecture to be found at Burning Man.  Philippe has painstakingly documented these structures over the course of 14 years, from 1996 to 2010.  Even if you’re not (but especially if you are) into architecture porn, this book will make a great addition to your Burning Man library.

Visit his blog at This is Black Rock City.

August 23rd, 2011  |  Filed under News

RIP Rod Garrett

Rod Garrett, 2010. Photo by John Curley.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Rod Garrett, the long-time architect and designer of Black Rock City.

Since 1997, Rod has guided the Black Rock City urban design, overseeing its evolution from a functional plan to provide structure to a desert encampment of 10,000 to supporting a thriving metropolis of 50,000+, always with an eye towards form, function, elegance and the development of community. In addition to his urban planning role, Rod also designed Black Rock City’s major infrastructural elements, including the Center Camp Café, and every Man base since 1997.

Through his work over the years, Rod has made considerable contributions to the Burning Man community, for Rod’s particular genius was understanding the importance and power of design as it relates to social interaction and cultural development. Rod’s brilliance, passion and dedication to his craft will be sorely missed by the Burning Man organization.

Many of Rod’s writings about designing Black Rock City can be found in the Metropol Blog Series.

This year, the road encircling Black Rock City’s Center Camp will be named “Rod’s Road” in his honor.

August 12th, 2011  |  Filed under Culture (Art & Music), Events/Happenings, Participate!

Mobule Needs You


In the spirit of the revolutionary interactive art of [BM] and [BRAF], we invite YOU to come out to celebrate and pARTicipate in the Mobule experience! Get involved with this great Black Rock Arts Foundation grantee project and help make it happen! It will be in New York, Black Rock City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, SOON. You know you want to, so make it happen!

Mobule is a kinetic, multi-media, mobile, interactive street art performance that connects people from different cities. Check out theses videos about Mobule on the project’s website: http://www.mobule.org/

The artist, Ludale, needs 3 partners for each performance. It’s really easy to help! All you do is:

– Invite people to participate in an interactive game (invite them to try on the ‘space helmet’ and control the Mobule. Who doesn’t want to wear a space helmet?!?)
– Interview people
– Help video the interviews
– Help pack up the Mobule after the show

Don’t one of those roles sound just like something you could do?

Here are the dates the Mobule needs help. All performances are 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm:

Monday, August 15th
Tuesday August 16th
Brooklyn Bridge park – New York.

Friday, August 19th
Pier 14, Near the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, by the Ferry building – San Francisco.

Saturday 20th, August 20th
Mission Delores Park – San Francisco.

August, 29th – September 4th
Center Camp – Black Rock City.

Friday, September 9th and Saturday 10th
Santa Monica Pier – Los Angeles.

Artist Ludale and the Mobule also need places to stay during their travels, and need a ride to and from Burning Man any day between 8/23 and 8/28!

Can you help? Email ludo here: ludo (at) ludale.fr if you can!

July 25th, 2011  |  Filed under News

Find your Friends on Playa with the BurnerMap

Want to find your friends on playa? Yeah, well, traditionally, it’s a crapshoot at best … you head out, run around all over the place, find amazing things along the way, meet new fabulous people to tickle your fancy (and whatever else), end up riding on a flame-throwing gazelle for a while, and … wait … where were we going again? Is that the sun coming up? Where are my pants?

While you can’t beat the serendipitous nature of trying to accomplish a goal (pffft) in Black Rock City, there is a solution if you actually want to find your friends out there. At least it’ll help aim you in the right direction, anyway (the rest is up to you … good luck with that).

The BurnerMap in Action

An intrepid Burner named Morgasm joined up with a few friends to create the BurnerMap. You can add your playa address to the map, and (the particularly nifty thing is that) only your Facebook friends can see where you are, so your privacy is maintained within the Facebook framework. (Don’t like Facebook? We understand. But still, suck it up … this is cool.)

And of course, in true Burner fashion, a “long-time Burner” is waging an awesome and vehement condemnation of such a flagrant trampling of our God-given right to spontaneity and serendipity!!! Arrrrrgh!!! To which we say: Damn straight! Unpack the pitchforks, Martha, grab the gasoline and the lighter (the wand-style one, in the drawer next to the stove … I think that one still has some fuel in it. No? Crap.) and let’s burn that damn thing!

Or, y’know, print it out and use it, if that’s how you wanna roll.

Note to my friends: if you show up at my camp pantsless on a flame-throwing gazelle, you’d better be packin’ whiskey.