Posts in ten principles

March 4th, 2014  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Radical Inclusion: That’s So Gay?

[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.]

Photo by Steph Goralnick

Big Words by Laura Kimpton, Burning Man 2011. Photo by Steph Goralnick.

Of all the Ten Principles, I think the one most of us struggle with at one point or another is Radical Inclusion. Usually, that’s because it is in near-direct opposition to Burning Man’s North Star, the ideal that brought most of our bedraggled, bedazzled butts to the Black Rock in the first place: Radical Self-Expression.

Usually, when I think about Radical Inclusion, I think about the way we judge other Burners for doing it wrong in various ways: Too much oontz oontz or a preponderance of yarn dreads…wearing cargo shorts instead of hot pants…watching the event through the window of an RV…marching around screaming CHIIIRRRRRRRP when other people are trying to sleep. There are a million ways to do Burning Man, and just about any way you choose to do it, somebody’s going to have a problem with it.

But recently, my perception of the Radical Inclusion debate shifted, when I realized that we as a community might have an inclusion problem on a much more basic level.

Read more »

April 25th, 2012  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Turnkey Camping: A Clarification

Photo by Ales Prikryl

[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.]

We recently posted about Turnkey camping to start a dialog about this new form of camping we’ve seen happening more frequently in Black Rock City. The Burning Man organization genuinely wants to know what our community members are seeing, what they care about, and what good ideas are out there around this to create the best outcome for the community.

There have been no new decisions made about how to respond to Turnkey camps thus far. We have neither sanctioned them (and now “welcome them with open arms” as some have suggested), nor have we decided to ban them altogether. Your input on the blogs and forums, when civil, has been welcomed and appreciated, and is being incorporated into this decision-making process.

In order to facilitate this ongoing dialog, we would like to address a few key areas of confusion, so everybody’s on the same page: Read more »

April 5th, 2012  |  Filed under The Ten Principles

Who the hell are “Burners,” anyway?

We are what we do

A few months ago I was asked, in one of those email groups where people ask each other things like this:  “what does it mean to be a burner?  What are the core beliefs that unite us?”

I didn’t respond, first and foremost because honest-to-God do I have that kind of time?  No I do not, and it is hugely irresponsible of people to ask me open ended questions.  It’s like offering a hypochondriac free medical advice.  His whole weekend’s shot.

But I also didn’t respond because I’d been wrestling with that question for some time … and had no good answer.

I know that the most common response is “The 10 Principles,” but … I don’t see it.  I bet 90% of the Burners reading this can’t name all 10 without looking them up.  Of that 10% who can, I bet 90% of them didn’t know all the 10 principles … or anything about the 10 principles … back when that magical moment happened and they first decided:  “Oh, I like this.  I want to be a part of this.”

It’s also commonly understood … though not often talked about … that most of us interpret the 10 Principles differently.  Some of us (I’ll raise my hand) believe that “Radical Inclusion” means “everybody can participate in Burning Man,” while others take it to mean “everybody should feel included and accepted by people at Burning Man”:  we’re worlds apart.  Exactly what “Gifting” means is not a matter of settled tort.  How “communal” does “Communal Effort” have to be?  You might as well ask how many Burners can dance on the head of a pin, except that this was settled by 2005’s massive art project “Dance on the Head of a Pin!”  It’s 82, and they light the pin on fire.  Man that really should have been funded. Read more »

February 9th, 2012  |  Filed under News, The Ten Principles

Ticket Update: Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine

First things first:

For all the frustration, anxiety, stress, and heartache this year’s ticket lottery has caused, please accept another humble apology.

Photo by John Curley

This is no time for issuing statements or putting a spin on anything. The system may have worked, but the cultural outcome sure didn’t, and even though some of you saw that coming and said so, we didn’t, and for that we are sorry.

The current trajectory is not acceptable. Even people who did get tickets aren’t cheering right now, since so many of their camps and friends are standing out in the cold. Entire groups are worried they’ll have to scrap all their plans. Burning Man is a participatory and collaborative event, and many collaborations are perilously close to falling apart.

Clearly we must reevaluate, but first we want to say more about what we’ve heard, how we got here, and what our next steps will be.

Read more »

August 9th, 2011  |  Filed under News

Introducing The Burning Man Project

Greetings Burning Man Community,

We’re thrilled to announce the August 5th launch of the non-profit Burning Man Project, an exciting new venture in the ever-evolving history of the Burning Man cultural experiment.

Fiscally sponsored by the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the primary purpose of The Burning Man Project is to uphold and manifest the values described in the Ten Principles of Burning Man. In this sense, “Burning Man” is understood not as an event, but a way of life lived consistently with the Ten Principles. The Burning Man Project will provide infrastructural tools and frameworks that allow people to apply the Ten Principles in many communities and spheres of endeavor. It will include projects in these program areas: Arts, Civic Involvement, Culture, Education and Social Enterprise.

A little background …

People often assume that the Burning Man event already IS a non-profit, since that’s what one would logically think given our philosophical bent, but in fact it’s run by Black Rock City LLC, formed in 1997, after the highly-chaotic 1996 event clearly illustrated the need for an organization for the growing phenomenon of Burning Man. At the time, a Limited Liability Corporation made the most sense; the Burning Man event was a wild and wooly encampment of 8,000 people, and the organizers needed a way to legally organize that event’s management and to inure themselves from personal liability. But running the event as a private corporation didn’t always mesh well with the philosophy of the Burning Man experiment; it was, however, the right tool for the job at the time.

Flash forward 15 years, however, and that structure has begun to appear somewhat obsolete. The Burning Man event itself has grown into a massive, fully-functioning metropolis, to be sure; more uniquely, though, it now comprises a global year-round Regional Network, as well as several spin-off endeavors (the Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar and Burners Without Borders). These efforts have emerged spontaneously, supported in various ways by the Burning Man organization, each organically evolving to propagate the Burning Man cultural ethos throughout the world in tangible ways.

Stable in our footing, and eager to take the grand Burning Man experiment to the next level, it was time to bring the Burning Man culture back around to its philosophical roots, better aligning the organizational structure with our values. So, we are proud to announce the creation of the Burning Man Project, a non-profit organization designed to affect the world by applying the Ten Principles to a variety of multidisciplinary programs and projects.

As a non-profit entity, the Project will be afforded new opportunities for partnerships, affiliate relationships and fundraising activities that will allow it to multiply and magnify the growth of Burning Man culture, while ensuring that its philosophical center remains intact.

So, what does this mean for the Burning Man event itself? For now, while this new non-profit finds its bearings, the annual Burning Man event will be conducted under the auspices of Black Rock City LLC. In time, once the new organization has its footing, the Burning Man event itself will become part of that non-profit Burning Man Project.

The Burning Man event will continue to be the primary touchstone for our far-flung diaspora — a unique opportunity for people to gather and connect, to inspire and be inspired. But, as the spokes of the wheel grow, we fully expect (and encourage) the center of gravity to move towards the outer ring of an expanding sphere of influence, creating ever-stronger centrifugal forces, the effects of which we can only begin to imagine. We have long supported the emergence of new ideas and initiatives out of this grand experiment of Burning Man. It is the goal of The Project to increase their momentum.

Of course, Burning Man culture is all about participation … and we welcome and encourage YOU our community to do what you do so well: join in this new adventure, lend your skills, talents and creativity to the effort, just as you do in Black Rock City. We invite discussion about what you think the Burning Man Project could do (we welcome you to start in the comments below). Where it goes from here is largely up to you. We hope that you’re as excited as we are about the future and what it will bring.