Temple Deal Falls Through

david best sfgateToday’s issue of the Jackrabbit Speaks brought the news that the Temple design for Caravansary has changed. No longer will it be the “Temple of Descendants”, apparently they announced the deal before agreeing to the terms of it. It’s also not going to be the controversial Embrace design. Instead, David Best has stepped up and will have a new design, “Temple of Grace”.

We’re announcing an unexpected change for Burning Man 2014: this year’s Temple in Black Rock City will not be the previously announced Temple of Descendents. Unfortunately artist Ross Asselstine was unable to agree to the terms of our agreement and elected to halt the project.

If you contributed financially to the project, thank you for supporting this community effort. The Temple of Descendents Crew will ensure your contributions are refunded.

We are happy to report that David Best has stepped up and agreed to build yet another of his incredible creations for Black Rock City in 2014. It will be entitled “Temple of Grace”, and we’ll have design details for you very soon!

26 comments on “Temple Deal Falls Through

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  6. “Hello, Allstate? Hi, I’m looking for a little coverage for an art installation I’m doing and I’d like you to start running some numbers for me. Great!, thanks….Well, it’s a wood structure of unique and untested design around 5 or 6 thousand square feet in size and maybe three or four stories high, preferable made with discarded and donated materials, built by an all volunteer crew with no building permit or government oversight in an extreme environment with winds that can exceed 70 mph, it will generate some 200,000 visits over the week, a good many of them people enjoying some level of intoxication, will be surrounded by unregistered vehicles, many of which spout fire, with a volunteer security force and then we will intentionally burn it down…what? Yes I did say intentionally…in front of a tightly packed crowd of about 40,000 people some of which will stroll or bike through the flaming embers over the course of the night and then…hello?…hello?….

  7. A bit of financial history, if it helps…

    Temple of Transition 2011 was awarded $60,000 from the Org. The rest of the $140,000 was raised by the leaders and the crew using a variety of tactics: Indiegogo, Kickstarter, dance parties, art auctions, etc. The 2011 Temple was paid for free and clear by October 2011, which is unprecedented.

    Many in-kind donations were also obtained under the umbrella of another 501c3 organization allowing businesses to take the valuable tax deduction.

    It takes a tremendous amount of time, money and labor to bring the Temple to the playa. In the end, the connections are so beyond the monetary cost.

    • The Temple of Transition was one of the most awesome, and awesomely beautiful, structures ever constructed, thank you to the crew who designed and constructed the temple.

      It was constructed for the same price as constructing a room onto a house? The financials of the Temple of Descendants, by appearances, were solely a tad more than the 2011 temple, with the organization contributing the same $1 for each ticket. Yes, the connections are so beyond the monetary cost.

  8. Pingback: BURNING MAN WEATHER Updates 2014

    • It hurts my feelings when people ask for insurance at levels I don’t normally carry, and want rights to my work that others don’t expect, all when they expect me to raise most of the funds for the work. My usual reaction to getting my feelings hurt is to organize a standard equitable agreement for others in similar situations. Such is typical of hurt feelings.

    • Yes, the artists explanation, from Ross, was in regards of obtaining fairness towards the awesome artists, money is solely one issue of fairness, with copyright, liability, and other issues of fairness also in the explanation. His requesting donations text, posted below, was prominent upon his former front page. Please let your voice be heard towards obtaining fairness to the awesome artists on the playa.

    • Read the artist’s explanation! Maybe it was not ALL about money …unless of course you consider license rights and insurance premiums money. (I do.) Obviously the license rights are a recurring theme in what he wrote. The good that can come from this waste is the “One Summary” he offered:

      “I am working with others to draft what we believe is an equitable agreement for this community art piece in future years, and who knows, maybe this year. This will be posted here in about a week or so. Maybe in the future, all the work this last month or so will be one small part of the incredible efforts so many have made over the many, many years we’ve all been on the playa.”

      Sure sounds like the problem is licensing rights and money to me. It is time that the artists, one of the two miracles that make the stone soup work, banded together to look out for their interests, since this temple fiasco shows that the BOrg Millionaires are only looking out for their interests.

      And so it goes.

  9. http://www.temple2014.net/

    Ross Asselstine and crew requests the voice of the community towards obtaining fairness to the awesome artists on the playa. Please support them in their quest.

    The honorarium offered for the Temple of Descendants was solely 0.2% to 0.3% of 2014 ticket revenue, the temple builders were required to raise six digits of funds, two times the cash amount of the honorarium.

  10. Details on the build site and how to help? This is now a pretty tight time line to build the temple. I would like to help.

  11. So, despite the six former BRC LLC owners becoming minted with many millions, they were not desirous of parting with a sporting amount towards the cash needs of the temple. What amount was the cash budget of the temple, solely $250,000, 1% or 1.5% of ticket sales of 2014? What amount did Burning Man offer as the honorarium art grant?

    A few people query why permitting the six former BRC LLC owners to pocket, by appearances, by simple maths, $28 million to $45 million, presents difficulties. This is the rationale why it presents difficulties.


    We Request Your Support

    An Honorarium Art Grant from Burning Man only provides for a portion of what it takes to create of the piece. Thousands of hours by volunteers form the work, but a significant amount of funds must be raised from those who understand what these temples can do. This Temple needs your help now. We are designing, engineering, building mock ups, starting the pre-build…… and quite simply, the Honorarium Art Grant is not sufficient to make this happen. Please donate if you are able to do so. Recognition of the Donors is on the “Donations” page.


    This place is important, and we need your help now. You can be a part of gifting this temple to the community.

      • IF that were true, there would be a clear accounting of all the transactions, LLC cash-outs and agreements. To put it quite simply: there is no excuse for no clear transparency unless there is something to hide, or the need for something to spin. Instead of that complete accounting, that is the calculus of the BOrg board: they are leaving it open to speculation, knowing that no one will ever get it 100% right, so their shills will always be able to take the fact-checkers to task for approximation on missing data, or grammar if all else fails. It leaves their acolytes to spin the gray areas into all that is best for the perception of the event.

        Making others try to untie the Gordian Knot of the financials, instead of providing a clear accounting, may be hiding some further secrets, or at least leaving the truth to conjecture, but it is exacerbating the problems of selling the event as a non-profit stone soup event. The BOrg knows full well that the Burn momentum comes from the perception that it is a magical altruistic event. Those of us who have contributed thousands of dollars each yet to make it happen don’t want to hear that the people in control are making money hand over fist, while at the same time penny-pinching the very rare artists that are actually paid to do their work.

        I suspect that the focus on newbies is on the surface, a desire to “spread the word to as many as possible,” as evidenced by their recent teach-ins in SF. But that also fits and agenda to disempower the veterans who have made the event a success, since they are an unruly crowd and hard to manage. Better to play to those who have only dreams than those who have been there, done that, and had one of the BOrg’s theme camp placement people bail on her job because of a dust storm. (A dust storm on the playa? Imagine that!!!) Far easier to make promises and give perceptions to those who have no basis in fact for judgment.

        But the re-casting of the Temple at so late a date suggests that the magical perception may be eroding. If you get enough newbies, who look instead of participate, let alone contribute, you could lose your critical mass. I don’t know what the equation is, but you cannot just have the number of veteran theme camps you had 10 years ago and have twice the number of people there. The uninvolved newbies dilute the energy, and absorb it without giving back. At some point the critical mass is lost, and the reaction fails.

        • Watching a news story about factory inspections in Cambodia, I am reminded that knowledge is power, most often weilded by those who can keep others from having it. As we can see in DC, withholding facts keeps the debate about the facts, instead of about what we can do better, more thoughtfully, if we all have them to consider.

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