Video

Awaken: A Story of Dreams [Update]

A new video documentary of Burning Man. Spot your friends!

We covered Project Dreambox earlier: St Art Ups Posing As Playa Art

You can read more about their Dreamus venture in Ever Widening Circles:

what if your “dream” isn’t that of an item to be sold or…put out into the world free of charge? That’s where Dreamus comes in. Dreamus.com allows their users to follow dreams they feel are important, add fellow dreamers to friendship lists for private communication, and comment on a users dream. On your own dream page you can also add any number of goals you hope to attain and check them off as they’re completed, giving viewers a clear of where you are in terms of your overall goal.

The Dreambox was the vision of Teddy Saunders, who created the popular “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Dr Seuss-themed viral video, which was blamed by BMOrg for causing the ticket lottery debacle. Saunders was happy to use the Burning Man connection to promote his startup in the media, saying this year to Daily Dot:

 “I think we’re one of the first art installations that gave birth to an online Web platform that reaches beyond the borders of the playa and connects Burning Man participants to the outside world in a timeless way that lasts after Burning Man.”

The Dreambox has been going to Burning Man since 2012, when it raised an initial $29,277 from Burners in a successful Kickstarter campaign. It has now been to Burning Man 3 times.  This year it received further funding in the form of an Art Honorarium grant from Burning Man Arts.

Despite all this, there are no dreams from Burning Man on their web site. Perhaps because these days even dreams need a license from Decommodification LLC…

You think I’m kidding, or being snarky? From Daily Dot:

“Our plan with DreamBox 3.0 was to put a satellite on the DreamBox so that people could immediately share dreams,” Saunders recalls. “However, at the last minute Burning Man’s media department put the brakes on us after their art department already gave us full support as an honorarium project. It’s pretty embarrassing actually. We’re saddened that they are hesitant to allow their participants to share such beautiful intentions.”

Saunders also says there are 12 short films he created about the Dreambox project that the media team won’t allow him to release because Dreamus features a donations option—and that this is an act of “commodifying” the festival.  

Is it really commodifying Burning Man, by sharing Burners’ dreams and helping them come true? Maybe the competition for donation dollars that might otherwise go to the Burning Man Project is the real reason for BMOrg’s media department putting the brakes on something their art department fully supported.

[Update 1/12/15 11:49am Australia]

Paola Baldion, who previously had spoken to us in relation to the Dreambox but asked for her comments to be confidential, has contacted us with this information:

Although (as my previous message states) I am not part of DreamBox anymore, Teddy and I were the creators of it. It was actually my original idea and vision and then Teddy joined me in the project… We both worked together really hard for a month and raised 29k on Kickstarted. Even in the Awaken video Teddy says that we created the Dreambox together. Just so in the future you can say that it was ‘teddy saunders and Paola Baldion’s vision’.

image: Ian Kennedy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

image: Ian Kennedy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Seeding the Future

A guest post by reader Nick Heyming, who has been inspired by Burns to create something phenomenal.


 

Burner Holiday

In the spirit of the holidays, here’s a story to make you remember what gifting and communal effort is all about. If you’re more interested in the latest on the commodification crisis or tickets, don’t bother, but if you want to read about burners who are taking the principles to a new level, read on.

The first place Nickipedia heard about the burn was in Biloxi, Mississippi. He was standing next to a large dome, a decorated bus, and a newly rebuilt buddhist temple. The man in front of him was Big Stick, a civil engineer and the head of heavy equipment and last arbiter of safety for all the amazing and sometimes dodgy construction projects people bring out to the playa. He was explaining about the event, the temple, the art, and how a huge group of them had driven straight out from the festival in 2005 to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

Nickipedia, being a noob and kind of a dork, said ‘Wow, sounds like a great party’.

Big Stick looked at him with a scowl, and said, ‘Yeah, you probably shouldn’t go’.

Nickipedia quickly corrected himself, ‘Um, I mean, it clearly is a lot more than just a party. Sounds like a rite of passage or a spiritual…’

Big Stick cut him off ‘If you need a rite of passage, stick around here’. He gestured to the piles of debris littering the vacant lots surrounding the encampment. “There’s plenty of opportunity to come of age helping these people out. When you’re done with that, maybe you should come out to the playa and see what we build with that blank canvas and no code enforcement or FEMA in our way.”

The blunt attitude of the Burners Without Borders didn’t dissuade young Nickipedia from venturing out to the playa 10 months later. The efforts of BWB have been well documented in such films as Burn on the Bayou:http://vimeo.com/8057642 . What many don’t realize is how many burners, both with BWB and on their own, have shown up to rebuild after disasters.

Ten years ago, when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, thousands of volunteers from around the world poured into the area to lend their support. Many of them were backpackers and burners, looking to do more than just be tourists but to actually have meaningful exchange with the locals and leave a positive trace.

Founding members of Communitere (http://www.philippines-communitere.org/ and http://www.haiti.communitere.org ), Hands On Disaster Relief, International Disaster Volunteers (http://www.idvolunteers.org/ ), and of course Burners Without Borders (http://www.burnerswithoutborders.org/ )are regular attendees of Burning Man and go there not just to recharge but to connect with fellow volunteers they may not have an opportunity to see anywhere else.

The work the Burners do internationally is not just superficial: aside from serious engineering and sanitation projects, Burners frequently find themselves as hubs for interagency coordination. When well-spoken foreigners show up, doors open, and Burners are known for sneaking as many disenfranchised locals in when the opportunity presents itself. This can mean doing things like community-wide design charettes where people who never normally are heard get to voice their needs directly to decision-makers.

Burner making efforts for the greater good aren’t just limited to after disasters though. That little virgin Nickipedia who almost got told off at the beginning of our story? He ended up going to Burning Man in 2006, then again for a month with DPW and Black Rock Solar in 07, again with BRS and BWB in 08 (after appointing himself director of external relations for BWB in Peru for 4 months). He’s taking the lessons he learned rebuilding parks in Mississippi.

And creating community gardens in Peru.

To create a series of video games that educate people about sustainable gardening and farming practices. The goal is to mitigate climate change, solve world hunger, and help with internet and video game addiction. All using radical self-expression, communal effort, and leaving an awesome trace.

He’s in the last day of his crowdfunding campaign and they’re still a few thousand short, so if you think that sounds like something the world needs more of, support and share at www.igg.me/at/seeds


burnersxxx: 
Although the crowdfunding campaign ended short, they are still going ahead with the project and trying to get support. Every little bit helps.
Nickipedia says:
I’m an ex-dpw and burners without borders disaster relief volunteer, been burning since 06 and was a recipient of the BRAF Stimulus Funds back in 08.  The project that funded, Growcology, has grown and spun off a video game Benefit corporation where we’re trying to use art and citizen science through the media of gaming to preserve biodiversity and mitigate climate change.We’re doing a crowdfunding campaign right now with just over two days left.  Just enough time for pagan, Christian, and atheist burners to push us over the top and support a project that came out of their community and promises to bring the principles to more people than the Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle combined.
…There’ll be another campaign in 2015, a kickstarter.  In the meantime, Grow Games is just bringing on sponsors and investors through angel list.
 
Here’s some more information about Seeds: The Game and what they are trying to do. I think this is amazing, and really hope it takes off for them. Go Burners! This sort of thing is how we can help the world.

Let’s Go Outside and Play Together!

GrowGames has Three Goals for Food Action:

1. GAME:  #SeedstheGame are mobile games that teach you how to grow and then get you gardening outside in real life

2. JAM: Game jams connect you to local players to form or join teams and clubs to design, garden, and play together

3. THRIVE:  Receive useful tools and vibrant seeds through our rewards and for tackling challenges in the game and then use them to grow with your friends

20141111125250-1171724_296385270548209_201596367_n 20141117123951-cornseedshashtag 20141112120656-Screen_Shot_2014-11-07_at_4.38.04_PM 20141117114713-seedhands 20141117115143-background_018

Seeds is a Series of Mobile Games Created with YOU

We want to shift the way people use technology: instead of shutting you off from the world, our games showcase the most beautiful and amazing things growing around us and then challenge you and your friends to go out and find them in real life.
We LITERALLY put the tools, and the seeds, in your hands to grow the kind of garden you’ve always dreamed of.
Join us as a seed planter, designer or developer at a game jam, a beta testing player growing food with friends or action hero garden expert to level up your guild and share knowledge worldwide. Clues to gameplay are hidden in our series of videos starting with the first video above and releasing weekly every Wednesday in 2014. Come back to watch the updates and learn how to level up with Grow Games.

 

Connect Gardens Worldwide & Play an Ecosystem of Experiences

We connect gardens in gratitude with our shared heritage and we tell this story in our games.  Whether you’re an individual gardener or part of an established organization, this is your invitation to join us and get in first for our soundtrack of music, games, game jam events and actions in your area to grow together in guilds and food leagues.
Play now – use the hashtag #SeedstheGame to be in one of our next videos and earn points as we build the community!
Together with dozens of our favorite artists we are offering this limited edition game jam alpha release for you, straight from the best festivals and events around the world as a preview for music in gameplay. With your support we are launching a series of mobile games in 2015 and you will get the first download codes & access. The more we raise together, the faster we can produce this series for you.

 

Grow Food, Play with Friends, Save Money: GAME JAMS

We mix permaculture education, game design and community playtesting into local events to engage people who may be new to game development and gardening.
Some of our games like Symponix and Pested include great music – all of our games are tools designed to help you grow food together. We create together at game jams with community experts and game designers from many backgrounds.

 

Open Game Jam Access to Design with Us!

Join us at a GAME JAM to become a Grow Games Insider with special access as we develop this series of games – internships and design partnerships are welcome. This crowdsourcing harvest season is your opportunity to get first in line for game releases, downloads with the limited edition music jam.
Companies can go big with Grow Games to reach new people! Organizations and enterprises can sponsor game jam events with first access to market/shelf space in many games - the farmers market features prominently in gameplay.

Soundtrack benefit album + free downloads with all rewards over $13

As a thank you for helping us build these games we are producing a mix of our game music together with our favorite musical artists. You, the perfect beta testers, get the perfect seed album to start your garden adventures.

We are creating healthy homemade perks including custom food items with our gardeners and city farmers if we meet our goals. Stay tuned for our video releases every Wednesday including our PERKS video coming soon and help us sell out and share more SEEDS!

A Gratitude Garden Jam for you to enjoy anywhere 

Mixed by Jesse Wright (Lightning in a Bottle, Artist Director) joined by a huge harvest of artists with gratitude for all of their amazing hard work. We will be announcing artists every week and you can head over to our Soundcloud for more music to garden by.

Seed Packs & Special Gift Packs with Sensors

We are making gift baskets with special perks for our first beta testers and supporters including jewelry from artist Cristina McAllister, one of our character designers. Some of the perks listed include shipments of sensors for the home, school or community garden including arduino-based soil sensors and weather stations. Gameplay will help you link your sensors to play in coming iterations and we encourage you to make your own data centers in your garden to keep track of your soil health and climate needs for healthy gardens.

Early Bird Worm Specials & Farm to Table Play

Get in first for early access to the downloads and beta codes! Seed packs and special gift packs include extras to share. In-game our early worm will give you insight on your soil health and help you get in first for our games and apps even before they are released to the public. You can sign up to be an early playtester and come to our game jams to get involved in game and app development….plus get in on the secret prizes available only for the first week of this campaign.

Seeds Launch Party in Vista

In 2015 we will be hosting an event for our top crowdfunding supporters where they will receive all sorts of wild infusions of new seeds and special prizes. This will be a once in a lifetime event featuring many of the artists on our soundtrack album along with a full farm to table feast for the senses. You can schedule your own Farm to Table event with our expert chefs at the Emerald Village catering your feast for 16 from our gardens and farms to your table. We’ll help you grow new food at home.
Our games connect gardens, people and food systems worldwide.

This is our Gratitude Garden and You are Seeds in the Game.

We join you to host interactive events to activate your school or community play with food, water and soil systems -Your contribution now includes your first pass ticket in for events, music, games and experiences in 2015 and 2016 with Grow Games & #SeedstheGame. Take a pic and tag it now to start playing! We will be sharing your pictures in our supercuts throughout this campaign and game series.

Employee-Owned Social Benefit Game Company

Our biodiverse team is a Southern California Social Benefit Corp striving to be the first gaming B-Corp with a focus on global food and ecosystem resiliency:

  • We love games and create/play together at game jam events
  • Our team is a mix of women and men from all backgrounds and orientations
  • We are disaster relief geeks with 25+ years experience working with nonprofits, government, education and sustainable business practices
  • You can join us for events by sponsoring an award or bounty achievement at a development game jam in a city near you

Our nonprofit partners such as Growcology in Riverside and Project Nuevo Mundo host volunteer events where we partner to host a mix of game jam and educational events to level up real world gardening skills. We are happy to be working with great nonprofits such as the Seed Libraries Network and local food action and permaculture alliances. Join us at a game jam or local event to get started as a playtester, artist or game designer with Grow Games Interactive.

Action Engine EXPERIENCE with Food Systems

Our team includes amazing leaders in biodiversity and permaculture, technology and game development, interactive storytelling and educational applications.

GROW GAMES INTERACTIVE is a social benefit company in California:
Nick Heyming: CEO and Director of the Flow with experience in eco-friendly development and media, providing FLOW DOJO workshops as a premium reward for those who want to learn jedi arts with friends at home or at his ecovillage.
Evonne Heyning: Chair of the Board and Executive Producer ~ experienced with interactive production and games of all types, creative lead making limited edition jars of SEED JAM with homegrown pomegranate and lotus seed as a sugar-free spread.
Peter Kwok:  Technical wizard, operational lead and board member specializing in data integration with hardware and software experience from Apple to Google. Active gamer, designer and climate data/disaster response specialist.
Sonya Meline: Active in permaculture as culture-building through events and tech companies, focusing on great relationships and healthy organizational development as we grow
Michelle Perrales: Our volunteer and project coordinator with the passion for people, the planet and playtesting with our team, designing great user experiences and interfaces for action.
SOME OF OUR AMAZING ARTISTS (and more to be announced!)
Jesse Wright: A top headlining DJ at Coachella and Lightning in a Bottle, Lead music director and artist liaison for live music & DJs
Cristina McAllister: Character, avatar and fine artist with experience in tabletop and RPG gaming, crafting epic bugs and female heroes such as the Autumn Queen in our early prototypes
Nahko and Medicine for the People: Live music with a message for the people of the earth from the native voice
Imperial Highness:  Produced by FABIAN ALSULTANY with KAZUHIRO ITOH, the Globesonic world DJ’s latest project mixes global music masters
Al-Insan Lashley:  Interactive designer and artist for game board and posters
Mr. Lif: HipHop & Spoken Word artist with Terra Bella
SEEDS ADVISORY TEAM
Don Tipping:  Author, workshop and educational leader at Seven Seeds Farm
Native Seeds/SEARCH: Non-profit Indigenous Seed Saving and Education
Eric Stephens:  Gardening and composting expert and youth outreach

Daniel Goldman:  Founder/systems designer with SimCity/Maxis

Jon Everett: Project Manager/Flow master, Unity Developer and Animator
Kevin Byall: Senior CG Artist/Animator with SimCity/Sims at EA
Jacki Morie: 30 years interactive design/production for games and simulations, advisor and curator/producer for SIGGRAPH
Maya Zuckerman:  Founder of Transmedia SF, Interactive Producer
Marco Barrantes: Permaculture expert, Founder of La Loma Development
Bianca Chavez Memory Heyming: Native Landscaping and Storytelling Expert
Dr. Nicole Radziwill:  Technology/Computer Quality Systems + Climate Data, JMU
Dr. Victor Zordan:  University of California Professor in Video Game Production
Tom Munnecke: Systems design sensor advisor for hardware and internet of things
Ursula Leyva:  Permaculture education and level/achievement design, Spanish language learning specialist
Selena Wilson: Visual Artist, School Garden Liaison, Youth Outreach
Olivia Zanfardino: Advisor for Aquaculture, education and dashboards for data analytics with agencies and public sector partners

ADDITIONAL THANKS TO OUR GREAT TEAM AND GAME JAM CREATIVES!

Manny, Tina, Mari, Blake, Hayley, Mario, Adam, Ariel, Dalia, Joshua, Thom, Toren, Chaos, Adam, Jessica, Natalia, Jesse, Selena, Mike and everyone at the Emerald Village, including our playtesting volunteers and field experts.

How We Work with You & Your Guilds

We are raising support to pay for stipends for our creative leaders who have given generously of their energy and to host GAME JAMS WITH YOU:
  • Our company will invest the first $20K raised in game jams to produce a series of design, strategy and development events with you where we produce game elements together with field experts.
  • The next $40-50K is invested in staff cost for hiring developers and production team from game jam talent, internships and awards for events including sponsored awards for the game jam series.
  • We aim to raise $100K for first app releases by 2015 from a mix of crowdfunding, angels and ecosystem product partners.
  • We have raised $25K so far to start Grow Games as an employee-owned social benefit company over the last year starting with a team of 3 and featuring hundreds of volunteers, playtesters and guest stars.

Be the First Expert, Plant a New Field

  • SOCIAL ACTION GAMING IS HOT: Ingress is challenging millions to make a map of the world’s art while losing weight taking portals.
  • We start with the SEEDS geo-play social action engine + mapping local food systems + games + garden experiences and make it participatory for all ages.
  • Field expert perks may include Grow Games moderator permissions for forums, sensors for community gardens and guilds, Eddefy expertise & knowledge sharing across the game network + honors and recognition in-game.
  • Talk to us about your integrated projects! We love teaching gardens.

#SeedstheGame Global Impact

Have you ever wanted to play a game that creates real value?

Playing Seeds the Game apps over the last year has saved our playtesters an average of $100 in food! Our games connect games and gardening to grow healthy ecosystems starting at home and in our neighborhoods.

When challenged by disaster, drought, outbreaks and epidemics:

  • Real-time data mapping of local food systems provides a lifeline
  • Global play can help eradicate pest challenges and adapt to climate change
  • Games and actions can be added to address specific, local, urgent needs
  • Special games and actions address organizational challenges as they happen

We are happy to meet with your organization to discuss mods and gameplay on top of your existing data sets and challenges.

A Story for Thrivable Futures
  • Our storytellers Bianca (English/Native American) and Ursula (Peruvian) share the importance of food, soil, water and ecosystem care from indigenous voices as climate-appropriate landscape masters
  • We are building on five years of educational experience in permaculture and food systems with Growcology, our partner for educational scholarships and design awards
  • Our action engine includes nonprofit and local food actions, connecting people to community gardens and opportunities to do more together

Take control of your food system….and get in a great flow perk!

Our intrepid leader Nick Heyming began this work after rebuilding in Cuzco, Peru and after Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana where he taught the basics of growing new systems and flow arts, the jedi training that mixes the art of the garden with movement arts such as fire and staff spinning. Only a few of his special flow dojo workshops are available in this campaign and he will come to you or you can come visit him at the Emerald Village for your customized flow workshop.

Send photos & videos #SeedstheGame to play

  • Tag your best food systems & garden work #SeedstheGame to be featured on our site, in weekly video series and in gameplay.
  • Indiegogo share tools make it easy to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest us as much as you wish. Run amok, don’t be shy. We love you too.
  • Join us at a game jam! We’re in Pasadena, San Francisco, Vista, Los Angeles and San Diego this month….Reach out and send us a message to join our crowdsourced game team @GrowGames and tag #SeedstheGame anywhere to share & connect.

BURNILEAKS: Commodification Camp Employment Email

If you’ve had enough of all the Commodification Camp controversy, don’t bother reading this post. For those who still care

Thanks to Anonymous Burner for leaking this email that was sent to workers employed at this notorious Commodification Camp. I’ve removed some names and email addresses, but I think by now we all know which camp this is.

JT has apologized, and if he wasn’t still on the Board of Directors of Burning Man, I would probably let it go. Unfortunately, he is – and in his “apology”, he tried to downplay the commercial nature of his camp. If he’d just said “I did this, I fucked up, my bad, I’ve learned my lesson and it won’t happen again” – I think most of us would have found that acceptable. Instead he blamed his staff, his build crew, the camp next door, all the while trying to use the Ten Principles to convince us that everything his camp did was totally fine. He claims that because he failed to make a profit, we should believe that this 68-room hotel with 50 paid staff where 120 guests were charged $17,000 for rooms with porcelain toilets…was never intended to generate money.

Read this, and decide for yourself if this was a pure gift to the Playa, or a commodified VIP experience sold by a commercial enterprise. The email confirms some of the claims that were made earlier by Sherpagirl, including that there were 50 employees in this camp. What sort of “gift” requires 50 staff? How does this promote Radical Self Reliance and Decommodification? How did they know they could get 170 tickets, and all the Early Access passes required to create a camp like this?


 

Caravancicle Schematic for Staff

 

Subject: Burning Man Staff – Please Read by August 6
*Dear Villagers,*
.
(*Following is a lengthy note that contains all of the relevant information you need to  prepare for our upcoming time together. There is a great deal of time sensitive information. Please read this in its entirety by the end of the day on August 6th….*)
.
We are delighted that each of you has decided to join us for this year’s Burning Man extravaganza. It’s going to be an amazing and remarkable experience for all. We have the privilege of facilitating other people’s transformation and we take this responsibility seriously. it takes great intention, attention to detail, humility, joy, and a commitment to hard work. We have chosen each of you because you embody these values in your everyday life and you truly understand what a gift it is to be of service to others in this way.
.
Please take a moment to read this email in its entirety as it contains important information about logistics and expectations.
.
*Expectations*
.
We have spent nearly an entire year putting all of the pieces of our puzzle together. From the initial creative design sessions to packing each of our fourteen shipping containers, we have worked hard to ensure success in every regard. Now it comes down to all of you – the beautiful, talented, incredible people who will bring the vision to life.While each of you is being hired to “work” this event, we expect much more from all of you. More than employees, we want you to think of yourself first and foremost as an inhabitant of the village we are a creating. This year’s Burning Man theme is the *Caravansary*.
.
In the words of the Burning Man Org,”For countless centuries, travelers along the Silk Route crossed paths in caravansaries, a network of oases and sanctuaries that dotted the 4,000-mile road from Europe to East Asia. These bustling caravan stops offered more than just shelter from the desert wilderness; they were vital centers of cultural exchange, bringing together traders, pilgrims, monks, nomads, traveling entertainers, and wild-eyed adventurers from all points of the compass to share their stories around a common fire. Though fueled by mercantilism, their legacy to us is a grand commerce of ideas — a swirling exchange of languages, legends, technologies, philosophies and art that helped shape nearly every aspect of our modern world.”
.
As the inhabitants of our village, we will embrace our guests as if they wandered in off of the long and dusty Silk Road. Our job is to welcome them, feed them, hydrate them, entertain them, share stories, listen to theirs, and to provide the highest form of hospitality possible. There is a distinct difference between getting someone a drink, and nourishing someone in body and spirit. We are here to do the latter. To read our guests’ body language and to anticipate what they need even before they need it. In this way we will help them to feel seen, heard, and cared for in every way.
.
At the same time, it is Burning Man, and we are also here to help them engage with the ethos of the Burning Man experience. This means helping them to find a healthy level of self-reliance and active participation as a member a larger community. We’ll show them how to wash their own plates during meal time. We’ll instruct them on how to conserve water in our showers and toilets. We’ll invite them to participate in gifting to others on the Playa. Together we’ll find the perfect balance between service in the highest form and encouraging our guests to truly participate as a citizen of the Playa.Please begin thinking now about who you are going to be, what character you are going to play, and how you can truly embrace this creative, theatrical opportunity to truly invent yourself as an inhabitant of our shared world for eight days in the desert.
.
*Work Schedule, Arrival and Departure Dates*
.
We have two distinct crews this year – a *Build and Strike Crew* and an Event Crew. While a few of you are crossing over, most of you are on one or the other crew.If you are part of our *Build & Strike Crew*, we will begin building camp on *Monday, August 18th at 12 noon*. Please plan to arrive at that time. Build will take place until everything is done so be prepared to do whatever it takes. We have thoroughly planned and estimated how long it will take to do everything and we hope it will take no more than 12 hours of work per day. That said, our timeline is entirely weather dependent. For example, last year the weather was so bad we could not build anything almost three whole days. Please be prepared for such an eventuality.*If you are part of the Build crew, that means you are part of the Strike crew as well, *and you are expected to stay until camp is completely taken apart. Our goal is the end of the day on Tuesday, September 2nd. That means you will most likely begin your return trip to the Bay on WednesdaySeptember 3rd. That said, Strike is also dependent upon weather and other factors. Please be prepared for any eventuality.
 .
If you are part of our *Event Crew*, the event begins on *Sunday, August 24th*. Unless we have specifically discussed different timing with any of you, everyone is expected to arrive at camp by *3:00pm on Sunday, August 24*. The gates open at 10:00am which should give you all enough time to make it through the entry gate and to camp on time. Please plan to leave early enough Sunday morning or the night before to ensure you can make it to camp by our start time. Our event ends on *Monday, September 1st at 6pm*. You are expected to be present for work up until this time.

.

Each of you on the *Event Crew* will be expected to work approximately ten (10) hours each day, divided into two (2) separate five (5) hour shifts. You will have a three (3) hour break between shifts. Ultimately each of you is expected to work as long as necessary to fully complete whatever needs to be done. As weather and other factors can quickly change plans on the Playa, please be mentally prepared to do whatever it takes.

.

We are planning for each of you to get at least one full day off during the week. Please note that this cannot be guaranteed. If things go as planned, everyone will. If, on the other hand, Burning Man throws us some unexpected curveballs, you might not. Please be mentally prepared for this possibility. Your exact schedule for each day will be shared with you during orientation on Sunday night, August 24th.

.

*Compensation and Employment Paperwork*

.

Each of you will be compensated $180 of shift pay for each day worked. If you do indeed get a day off during the week, you will not be paid for that day. If you get a half day off, your pay will also be divided in half. There will be no tracking of hours or overtime provided. Each of you is required to complete a W9 form as well as an employee agreement and a waiver of liability to participate as a contractor for this event. Please complete the attached forms and return them to me no later than *FridayAugust 8th at 5pm.*

.

*Camp Location*

.
We are happily located at 8:45 and Kandahar. Yes, this is the outer ring of the Playa. We are located on a circular promenade next to other amazing theme camps. Right next door to us is the Lost Hotel and the Playa-Famous Raw Bar. You are highly encouraged to spend time with them at the Raw Bar. It’s an awesome place to meet people and get to know the artists artisans who make the Playa such an incredible place.*Orientation and Training – Sunday, August 24, 5pm to Midnight. *We will work together upon your arrival on Sunday afternoon, from 6pm to midnight, to introduce you to every single element of camp. Attached to this email is a copy of our camp schematic that we have shared with the Burning Man organization as part of our Theme Camp application. This document provides a basic overview of the many amenities we’ll have at our
camp. Please show up ready to focus on Sunday night.
.
*Tickets and Early Arrival Passes*
.
For those of you who live within one hour of our office in [snip], please schedule a time to come by our office, Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm to pick up your ticket and your Early Arrival Pass if applicable (only *Build and Strike Crew* need early access passes). For those of you who live more than one hour away, please email me your mailing address *no later than Thursday, August 7th* so that we can mail your ticket and Early Arrival pass to you. Please note that *YOU MUST NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET*. We do not have any extra. Also, if you do need an Early Arrival Pass, you MUST have the actual Pass assigned to you on your person to get through the entry gate. Each Pass is specifically bar coded and entry will not be granted without one.
.
*Transportation*
.
For those of you departing from and returning to the Bay Area, we are happy to provide up to 2 mini-van or passenger van rental vehicles for you to use and share to carpool to and from the event. If you are willing to volunteer to be a driver, please let me know by *Friday, August 8th *so that we can plan to add you as a driver on the rental agreement. Depending on the number of you who want to utilize this option, there will be 1 or 2 vehicles departing from the Bay area on either the evening of SaturdayAugust 23rd or approximately 4am on Sunday, August 24th. The exact time of departure will be determined by those of you choosing this option. This vehicle(s) will return from the Playa to the Bay Area on Monday, September 1st or Tuesday, September 2nd. *Please note that vehicles may not be parked at camp*. You are welcome to drive up to camp to unload your personal items. Once you are done we’ll show you where to park your vehicle nearby.
.
*Bikes*
.
You are required to *provide your own bike for the event*. While we may have some extra bikes available for use at certain times, there is no guarantee that one will be available at any given time, so please plan accordingly. You are welcome to bring your bike to our office in [snip] before *August 11th* if you’d like us to transport the bike for you. Another option is to rent a bike on the Playa. They cost $150 for the week, plus a $150 deposit that is returned to you when you return the bike. As of yesterday they still have bikes available. *I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this option*. You can email [snip] to find out more and reserve your bike. Directions to our office are listed at the bottom of this email.
.
*Drugs*
.
Illicit drugs are prohibited on the Playa. This includes marijuana as it is not legal medically or otherwise in the State of Nevada. Burning Man is required by law to allow State of Nevada police personnel to patrol the Playa in search of drug offenders. Most of these personnel do this undercover, dressed as a typical Burner. Please be aware that absolutely anyone might be an undercover agent, even someone inviting you to participate in the illicit use of drugs. Even the smell of Marijuana is enough probably cause for an agent to search your body and/or your shelter so be smart!Illicit drugs are also prohibited in camp while working as a contract employee for us during this event. You are expected to show up for every shift sober, alert, and prepared to fully carry out what is expected of you. No exceptions.You are welcome to drink at our bar when you are not on a working shift. You are expected not to drink while on shift.
.

*Sleeping Accommodations*

.

We are providing a combination of cubes, hexayurts and playa huts for each of you to share. Each structure is double occupancy and will include either a cot with a foam mattress or a foam mattress on a frame. Each unit will also have a light, an air conditioner and an outlet for you to use to charge a personal electronic device. You cannot use a hairdryer with these outlets. *Please note that you must provide your own pillow, sheets, and blankets or sleeping bag. *Also, accommodations are tight. It’s the Playa. Look forward to getting to know your bunkmate :)

.

*Mindfulness in Community*

.

we are going to be living in close quarters amidst one of the most profound, disorienting, mind blowing environments on planet earth. there will be 120 camp guests, an ecclectic collection of some of the most interesting and influential people in the world and 50 crew members ranging from cooks and bartenders to musicians, belly dancers, filmmakers, acroyogis, bodyworkers, and artists of all forms. each one of us is a key player in a small, contained ecosystem. each of our behaviors will greatly affect others. embraced one way, this experience invites you to reimagine yourself anew and to choose which character with which spirit you choose to bring to the rest of the group. the more intentional you are,  the more likely you can positively impact and co-create the experience with others around you.

.

*Food and Drink*

.

We will feed all of you three awesome meals a day as well as an incredible assortment of snacks and other delights. You will all eat the same food as our camp members. You are also welcome to eat and drink at our bar and to generally enjoy all of our delicious, organic food and drink. Within reason, you are welcome to invite friends and family to come by camp for a drink or a bar snack. We’ll keep you informed throughout the event as to our inventory supply. Should we face any shortages we will have to limit the amount of guests we invite to eat or drink. Please note that breakfast, lunch and dinner are for camp members and staff *ONLY*. Guests may not be invited to share actual meals.

.

If you have any food allergies, please notify us immediately so that we may do our best to accommodate your needs. In addition, if you have specific”treats” or “food needs” that you enjoy and need to have around, please
prepare in advance and bring this food for yourself. If you are so inclined, bring yummy treats to share with other staff as well. While we’ll provide amply for you, it never hurts to have a bit more of anything on the Playa.

.

*Personal Items*

.

Please provide your own costumes, goggles, dust masks, head lamps, water bottles, mugs, and anything else you need to be a full citizen of the Playa. Please take a moment to review the Burning Man Survival Guide to
make sure you are 100% prepared for your time with us.  You can find it here – http://survival.burningman.comIn addition to what you’ll find on the Survival Guide, the following are
also very helpful items to have on the Playa:
- Hydration pack
– Cup w/ a carabiner
– Neti pot (kitchen can provide the salt)
– Utility belt
Silk underwear for cold nights
– alarm clock
– Supplements (Vit.C, B Complex, 5-HTP, etc.)
– Sunscreen
– Skeleton of a ancient Siberian snow leopard
– The preceding bullet was a joke. We’re just checking to make sure you
have read all of this information.
.
*Headshot and Bio*
.
So that we may include you in the camp program, please send me a 2″ x 2″ digital image of you and a short bio, 30 words or less, *by Friday, August 8th*. Sorry for the short notice on this, but we’ve got a lot going on :).
Please include your real name, meaning the name you go by every day, and your Playa name if you have one.
.
*Attached Documents*
.
We have attached a number of documents for you to complete and review. Please make sure to return all necessary paperwork by the dates noted above.
+   w9 Form
+  employment agreement & emergency contact form
+  Participant Agreement, Release of Liability, and Assumption of Risk
+  Camp schematic – placement
+  Camp Invitation (this is the invitation sent to prospective camp
members. it will give you a good sense of the experience we intend to
cultivate)
.
*Thank You!*
.
That’s all for now! Thanks so much for being part of this experience with us. We are delighted that each and every one of you is joining us and we look forward to sharing this special journey with you.With love, respect, appreciation, and excited anticipation for what’s to come,
.
[snip]
“Experience is not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens
to you.” – Aldous Huxley
Where did they park all the cars?

Where did they park all the cars?

Does Commodification Matter?

bm shark jumping

If you think Burning Man is just a big party in the desert, then no – it doesn’t matter. Who cares? Just go and have fun. Avoid articles critical of BMOrg’s management, just pretend everything is great. We have more than a thousand happy, positive articles about Burner culture on this site alone that you can read, and there’ll be many more to come. You can start with these ones about Burners trying to end poverty and bring peace to war zones.

If you think there’s something unique and special about this temporary city made by all of us, then keep reading. Because this isn’t over yet.

burningman.org’s post this week of the apology from Jim Tananbaum has brought Commodification Camps back to the fore of Burner dialog. I know that some Burners would like to give it a rest, and say nothing more until Burning Man 2015. Other Burners still feel upset, betrayed, and disillusioned. JT’s statement received 217 comments in 2 days at the official site, almost all of them negative.

This is about more than just one camp. BMOrg placed between 12 and 25 Commodification Camps, by their own differing accounts. They even created a name for the area they put them in, “Billionaire’s Row”.

This is about the future of the event, and the integrity of our culture. It’s about Selective Rule Enforcement, more than equality. Do the Ten Principles still matter at the Nevada event? Or are they just some catchy marketing speak, used to promote the brand expansion into new market segments like education and commerce?  Are they even relevant to where Larry & Co wants to take our culture in the future? Burning Man has jumped the shark, and is embracing the mainstream. Happy Days went onto its greatest commercial success, after Fonzie jumped the shark.

Do Burners even care? Do Veterans even matter…or is it all about indoctrinating the 40% virgins now?

Should we just shut up and take it, be good little Burners and only say happy things, keep any negative comments to ourselves? Or is it OK to talk about it, express our frustration and discontent?

Image: galleryhip

Image: galleryhip

If there are problems in the event, and its leadership, will they magically go away if we all just shut up about them? It seems like things have been getting worse, not better. Larry and Marian said in the Spark movie that they were giving up control, but they didn’t do that. They’re still there, trying to control a very different corporate beast – and it seems like things may be unravelling. Nobody wants that. We all want Burning Man to be awesome forever, to be true to its values and get better and better with age. I’m not writing this blog to facilitate the unravelling – it’s the decisions being made, and the spin being fed to us, that is doing that.

Larry likes to say “people have been saying Burning Man is dead since we started”, but I’m not saying Burning Man is dead. Now that they’ve been on The Simpsons and all over the mainstream media, telling the world it’s full of billionaires, celebrities, politicians, Mistresses of Merriment, and free drugs, there will be plenty more people who want to visit. It’s the Bucket List/Selfie destination of the EDM Generation.

The culture may not be the same, though. And that’s the thing that I think is worth speaking out about, and fighting for.

The thing about PopsicleGate that is particularly jarring is that JT is a Director – and was only just appointed to the Board a couple of weeks before Burning Man. At that time, they were well aware of the kind of camp he was bringing to Caravansary. A healthy civilization gets positive, inspiring leadership from its rulers. As well as ethics, the Bylaws of their 501(c)3 public benefit corporation specifically require Directors to uphold the Ten Principles. Larry can say “they’re not rules, just an ethos”, but it’s there in black and white – they’re rules now. BMOrg can say “the Directors have no influence over the event”, but if that’s true – then who is in charge? Should Directors be able to just ignore the Principles, because they have no influence? If so, why have them? What value do they add?

Image: Charis Tsevis/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: Charis Tsevis/Flickr (Creative Commons)

In the typical Silicon Valley startup story, some founders get together with a cool idea. The pioneers on the fringe of society like to try new ideas, they don’t care that they’re boldly going where no man has gone before. They bring their own flavor and personalities into it, and a little community of early adopters emerges. The founders grab the first people they can find to help them out, building a team based on accessibility rather than merit. Existing relationships with people they like and trust are favored over strangers and qualifications. Fun rules the day, not money. Doing something new is exciting. Some of their early customers go above and beyond, and become evangelists for the New Thing. As the New Thing catches on, the organization grows, the money comes in, and with the money come the suits. Doing something new is less exciting and more risky, than expanding the existing thing into new markets. Eventually, the Founders are in the way of the growth of the business, and it’s time for them to step aside or assume figurehead roles, while professional managers focus on the job of taking the business to the “next level”. Then the whole thing goes public or gets sold, and the culture gets blended into the general corporate culture of the Fortune 500.

The examples of a start-up growing from a few inexperienced people, to a large global organization, with the same few people in the same roles, are few and far between. Usually, growth brings change and strains relationships.

burning_man suitsI see parallels today with BMOrg. The lawyering, the brand-building, the media blitz. These are all suit things, not pioneer things. I see Commodification Camps being run by Directors, who blame others for MOOP and a failed build. I see a focus on pushing the safari tourist experience to an ever-increasing pool of newcomers, while they turn their backs on many who’ve been there for the long haul. Where is the retirement plan for long-term DPW crew, and others who’ve dedicated their lives to Black Rock City?

For all its aspirations of changing the world, Burning Man is, at its core, still an arts festival. That’s what their paperwork says, that’s the trademark they own.

Yes, there are many aspects of it that make it interesting, different, more than just a festival. But its essence is art, and entertainment. Fun. “Saving the world” is to my mind an unproven proposition from this party. Even if people have had transformative experiences there, fuelled perhaps by mind-expanding drugs and liberty and surviving outside your comfort zone – is this scaleable internationally? If so, how?

Looking at Burning Man as a startup wanting to grow to the next level, it’s not clear that they’ve solved the scaling issues. And it really doesn’t look like the leadership team who got us to where we are today, are the right people to fulfil the corporate mission of global growth over the next century.

Sometimes it seems like Alabama St live inside a bubble. To get close to the core, you have to LOVE Burning Man, and as a result, yes-men seem to get favored over straight-talkers. They employ a Minister of Propaganda, and pass it off – like so many other things – as an ironic joke. And yet, there is no better word to describe the type of corporate spin that consistently comes out in the Voices of Burning Man, the Jackrabbit Speaks, and their TED talks and panel discussions.

“Fuck you, it’s our business, you’re not part of it!”, they are probably tempted to cry. But it’s not that sort of corporation. Burning Man is a community. We’ve all built this city together, and destroyed it, again and again and again. Some have participated more than others, some have yet to contribute. The special thing about Burning Man is that it’s a pop-up city made by its citizens, and shared with each other – one free from commercial transactions, advertising, cellphones, TV, class and racial divisions, and the other commodities of Default society. We can go there and be Burners together, and express ourselves the way that amuses us the most. For fun.

I get that some people go to Burning Man and it changes their lives, sure. But not everyone. Many of us go to Burning Man and just be ourselves – and love meeting other like-minded people, and doing all kinds of entertaining and silly things with them. If you take it too seriously, you lose sight of that. It’s about FUN, and ART. We put the ART in pARTying.

If you create great art at Burning Man, should you be able to trade off that to build your default world career as an artist? Absolutely! Should Burning Man get a cut of your sales? Absolutely not! Should they sue you because you put a picture of your amazing creation on your web site? Fuck no! Should you be able to sell your art AT Burning Man? Fuck no!

Burners should be able to make money any way they want off the Playa, and if they want to use examples of what they’ve done at Burning Man in their fund-raising, fine. If they want to sell hoodies for their camp, fine. If they want to charge camp dues, fine. If they want to make money AT Burning Man, that’s not so good.

Ignoring and dismissing these problems won’t make them go away. An effort needs to be made to fix the things that aren’t working. Shooting the messenger might feel good in the short term, but it’s not helping their credibility, and it’s not solving any problems.

The response we waited 3 months for, really doesn’t seem like it’s going to alter anything. BMOrg told us they were listening, then they told us they didn’t want to rush the changes they knew they had to make, and then they told us that they’d made them. VIP Donation tickets got stopped. And…? And nothing. Commodification Camps have to have an interactive component, and be placed by the volunteer Placement team. This was already the policy, according to Answer Girl in How Turnkey Camps Get Placed. They told us they’d ban Commodification Camps in 2012. The Directed Group Sale – aka the World’s Biggest Guest List – is still opaque. If Caravancicle appears under another name, and wants another 200 tickets, will they get special privileges to obtain them? Will they get a ton of Early Access passes? We don’t know, but my guess is, yes.

The next Burning Man is 8 months away, so there’s still plenty of time. What else should we talk about, if not the future of our culture? Let’s be open and honest about what’s been going on, and as a community, let’s continue to be vocal about what we will and won’t accept.

The solutions are simple. Stop with the lies and spin-doctoring. Give us the transparency we’ve been promised for years. Open the books, and involve the community in the operations of the charity. Get rid of Directors trying to link the Playa with commercial activities. Keep the Playa free from Commodification. Sell tickets to everyone the same way. Apply the rules the same way to everyone.

Long live Burning Man! Long live Burners!

Licensed to Sell

I just got off the phone with David Freiberg at the BLM’s Black Rock Field Office, who said he’s a fan of this site. He is going to track down the 2014 list of vendors who were granted a Special Recreation Permit to sell on the Playa this year, we will update this story when we get it. The number of vendors has increased from 45 in 2013, to more than 80 this year.

He said that BLM were looking into the Plug-n-Play camps, which are required to have a permit and pay a 3% share of their revenues to the BLM. He wasn’t aware of any such camps that did get a permit, but it seems like most of them should have.

Some of the triggers for if a permit is required:

  • advertising to the general public, or only to friends
  • camp dues as cost-sharing, versus funding a commercial enterprise
  • it doesn’t matter if you’re a bad businessman, if you lose money, that’s your problem; if you’re selling spots and paying staff, that’s probably commercial activity not casual recreation

It appears that Caravancicle had a commercial deal with The Lost Hotel to build their camp, commercially engaged sherpas and managers who were paid to work there, and produced promotional materials that were advertised to the public.

In JT’s recent “apology“, he claimed that his web site was “meant to be password protected”. It certainly wasn’t when we first wrote about caravancicle.com (now blacked out).

caravancicle room outside

Space Cubes at Caravancicle. Image: Philippe Glade

JT says that even though he “gifted money” to the camp, it was not meant to make a profit:

I can assure you our camp generated no money and was not, in any way, a money making venture

This conflicts with Danger Ranger’s version of events, in which he claimed JT “lost money” only because the camp’s un-named producer embezzled “took the money and ran”. Allegedly. It also conflicts with Sherpagirl’s inside information, that campers paid $17,000 for a hotel room space cube. If you’re selling 68 rooms for $17k a pop , your camp is generating money. Discounting or even comping some of the rooms doesn’t alter that fact.

In their marketing materials, Caravancicle quite clearly state that this is based on the “mind-blowing” hotel they built last year at Camp Olympus. There’s no indication that this page on their web site was made by anyone but Caravancicle.

I printed their caravancicle.com/about page to a PDF on September 5 – no password was required, and there was never any indication that this was “camp-only” private information.

2014 Caravancicle – About Camp

Here’s their very commercial-looking Participant Agreement:

2014 Participant Agreement, R… and Assumption of Risk

It specifically mentions the following individuals and corporations in their risk waiver:

  • Back To Earth, Inc dba “dovetail events”
  • Ari Derfel
  • Jim Tananbaum
  • Space Cubes LLC
  • Brad Peik/Peik Construction Inc/Peik Investments LLC
  • Black Rock City LLC
Image: Phillippe Glade

Image: Philippe Glade

JT said:

Our camp breakdown was also compromised because the group responsible for providing the infrastructure was also responsible for part of the breakdown. In the end, our camp manager and some other members of the camp, plus breakdown staff, cleaned up our camp by Saturday after the event

Staff, responsibilities, infrastructure providers, managers – it sounds pretty commercial to me.

We hired a team to produce the camp…but Caravancicle did not participate in any advertising. The ‘promotional materials’ and website were sent to guests who were invited to join the camp. We did not actively promote the camp. No one in Caravancicle made money off of the camp

We’ve provided a link to some of their advertising and promotional materials, the About page at caravancicle.com. Creating a website and putting your commercial-looking brochure up on it surely counts as “participating in advertising”. There is no question that people who worked in Caravancicle were paid, so JT is not telling the truth here.

we used wristbands

some of our campers were “plug and play” participants

Seems pretty clear to me.

2014 lost hotel bathroom

From Interior Design:

Inside a Space Cube

Inside a Space Cube

Scott Mahoney created the camp “The Lost Hotel,” using his modular tent system called Space Cube that can stack up to three stories high. Mahoney used Adobe Illustrator to design the entire project from the stairs to the bed frames, and constructed everything within 10 weeks. Mahoney’s inspiration was “constrained only by ease of setup and breakdown,” he says. Also collaborating on the project was Joey Rubin of Adar Partners. Rubin’s process was one of “resourcefulness and adaptability,” he says, especially when designing two theme camps at the same time, since Mahoney’s team also assembled 68 Space Cube tents for Caravancicle, a camp produced by Ari Derfel…

Caravancicle Camp offered an all-inclusive experience to affluent deciders and Powerball winners who enjoyed a level of sophistication never seen before at BRC.
It took the teams of The Lost Hotel and of LMNOP 5 people working for 7 days 18h/day to complete this pushing the envelope of refinement camp

Here is how the Federal Government defines commercial use, in relation to their requirement for a Special Recreation Permit (SRP):

Subpart 2932—Special Recreation Permits for Commercial Use, Competitive Events, Organized Groups, and Recreation Use in Special Areas

§2932.5   Definitions.

Actual expenses means money spent directly on the permitted activity. These may include costs of such items as food, rentals of group equipment, transportation, and permit or use fees. Actual expenses do not include the rental or purchase of personal equipment, amortization of equipment, salaries or other payments to participants, bonding costs, or profit.

Commercial use means recreational use of the public lands and related waters for business or financial gain.

(1) The activity, service, or use is commercial if—

(i) Any person, group, or organization makes or attempts to make a profit, receive money, amortize equipment, or obtain goods or services, as compensation from participants in recreational activities occurring on public lands led, sponsored, or organized by that person, group, or organization;

(ii) Anyone collects a fee or receives other compensation that is not strictly a sharing of actual expenses, or exceeds actual expenses, incurred for the purposes of the activity, service, or use;

(iii) There is paid public advertising to seek participants; or

(iv) Participants pay for a duty of care or an expectation of safety.

(2) Profit-making organizations and organizations seeking to make a profit are automatically classified as commercial, even if that part of their activity covered by the permit is not profit-making or the business as a whole is not profitable.

From Burning Man’s FAQ (old site):

http://burningman.com/themecamps/delivery_faq.html

Q: Does my delivery driver need a BLM Special Recreation Permit (SRP)?

A:The Burning Man Event occurs on public land administered by the BLM. Commercial activities (services rendered with the intent of making a profit or financial gain, or delivery of goods and services onto public lands for a fee) are prohibited within the Burning Man Closure area unless specifically contracted by Black Rock City, LLC, and permitted by the BLM through a Special Recreation Permit (SRP).

In 2012, Minister of Propaganda Will Chase said:

we would like to address a few key areas of confusion, so everybody’s on the same page:

  1. “Adventure” outfits (defined as purely commercial businesses offering a full service camp experience that have no connection to our culture and community) providing “a Burning Man Experience” are not considered to be Turnkey camps, and as of this year they will no longer be allowed at the event. Before we had a formalized process for making deliveries to Black Rock City (introduced in 2011 as a “vendor pass” then renamed to Outside Services in 2012 to better reflect the variety of deliveries we facilitate which help build the city) we had no way of identifying these enterprises. Now that we do, we will actively prohibit adventure businesses that are not part of our community and merely capitalizing on our event. It will not be a completely clean process the first year; there are innocent people involved who need to be considered and, as always, a spectrum of outfits that could fit into this category or may be of benefit to the community. They will need to be evaluated and treated fairly, but rest assured, we will not allow our city to become a revenue stream for these sorts of businesses any longer. We are calling on the community to help us with this effort by identifying operations and reporting them to us by emailing outsideservices@burningman.com.
  2. There has been confusion on an issue referred to as taxation for Turnkey camps. These are the facts: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently informed us that they will require any business in operation at our event to obtain a permit and pay 3% of gross revenues to the BLM, just as Black Rock City LLC is required to do. This has always been their right. They began enforcement with commercial air charters at our airport in 2011 and this year they will require RV and trailer providers to pay as well. This will not apply to small “mom and pop” style operations or one-time deliveries. The BLM is not interested in capitalizing on every opportunity, but they do have federal permit regulations they are required to uphold, and this allows them to hold larger commercial operations accountable with regard to our event stipulations and their commitment to environmental stewardship.

Although Caravancicle is the most public of the Commodification Camps, and particularly egregious because it was backed by someone on the Board of Directors, it’s by no means the only such enterprise. Answergirl said they placed 25 of these camps on October 29, this was watered down to 12 by December 3 when “Burning Man” gave us their official response. If these camps are running commercial activities on the Playa, without a Special Recreation Permit from the Bureau of Land Management, they jeopardize the permit for the whole event – and thus are an existential threat to Burning Man itself, as well as a threat to our culture.

From burningman.org:

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

References:

BLM 2014 Burning Man Operating Plan

BLM 2013 list of permitted vendors

 

 

image: Philippe Glade

image: Philippe Glade

image: Philippe Glade

image: Philippe Glade

DJ Booth above the bar, Caravancicle. Image: Philippe Glade

DJ Booth above the bar, Caravancicle. Image: Philippe Glade