St Art Ups Posing as Playa Art [Update]

Burner Anarchist Jim has brought this to our attention:

An interesting tidbit that might be worth a blog post… the Honorarium art piece Dreambox, is a front for a startup called Dreamus. They’ve got a profile on Angelist saying ‘they’re launching at Burning Man 2014″

There are many startup folks at burning man, some of which do subtle promotion. If you want to call your camp at 7:15 and H ‘My Startup’ Camp, alright, lame, but whatever. However, slapping your brand on an honorarium art piece (which was funded by BM and part of the price you paid for your ticket) and then using participant’s emails and videos to seed your startup website is incredibly offensive, IMO, and completely against the ethos of the event.

I’m all for supporting burners. If I meet someone in SF at a coffee shop, I’ve got an instant connection, and, sure, I’m more willing to support their art project or startup or whatever. But someone that’s blatantly promoting their for-profit company on playa? That’s someone that doesn’t get the event or anything about it.

Of course, there’s enough other people out there now that don’t get the event, that promoting a company probably won’t be seen as a big deal. So maybe a blog post about it will just give them additional promotion. Who knows… but there’s the story.

Sure enough, Dreamus are trying to raise money on Angel List, on the back of their Burning Man honorarium art grant. Their business model is to take 5% of all donations.

Is it time yet for us to stop saying “the only commerce at Burning Man is ice and coffee”? is a social platform for you to share your life-long dreams, goals, ideas and intentions with others. On Dreamus people follow each others dreams so that they receive notifications as new goals are created and old goals are completed. The platform allows you to comment on each others dreams, donate to each others dreams, share each others dreams and soon enough, join each others dreams. We are monetizing it by taking 5% of all donations.

We have built a Solar Powered Video booth called The Dreambox and brought it to Burning Man twice, capturing HD video of thousands of people stating their life-long dream to the camera. This summer we are showing these dreams to the world for the first time ever, on

This summer Dreambox 3.0 will also be back to Burning man, but this time it will be LIVE, with an internet connection, and a video feed of people’s dreams. We expect to go viral, but we know its silly to even say that.

Here’s what Burning Man said about the Art Honorarium grant for this project:

The Dreambox is a video booth that allows you to input your email and record a statement of your life’s dreams, goals and intentions into a HD camera. Your video will then be linked to your own private account on a brand new web platform specifically designed to allow other people to follow and support your dreams. It also includes an outdoor theater, where your dreams can be watched by other burners during the week.

They also promoted the project on their Ignite Channel affiliate.

Digging a bit deeper, we find that this project has been going since 2012 – and is brought to us by the creator of the famous “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Dr Seuss-themed Burning Man video.

From the Huffington Post, 2012:

Six months ago, filmmaker Teddy Saunders posted the inventive short film, Oh! The Places You’ll Go At Burning Man, and received nearly two three million hits on YouTube… Oh! The Places You’ll Go at Burning Man scored a well-deserved Best Short Film Award at this year’s New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles

…The DreamBox is a solar-powered video booth that the public can walk into and speak about their greatest dream, or aspiration in life. Using the power of film and social media, Saunders believes those dreams can and will come true.

Custom designed from the ground up featuring an interactive touch screen interface allowing the dreamer to see himself or herself, rehearse their dream, and type in their contact info needed for others to be able to reach out to them. The DreamBox contains an intricate lighting system with LED soft boxes and back lighting, making the dreamer look flawless on camera. Behind the dreamer is a green screen, which will be swapped out with cinematographic time lapse video that thematically supports them.

Saunders says, “Basically, it’s designed so the dreamers look as epic as possible when speaking their dreams.”

During the day the DreamBox is covered with shiny rainbow-colored mylar. At night, it will glow with high-powered LED lights, allowing it to be seen from a half a mile away.

When the project appears online as a web series, anyone will be able to watch the “dreamers” share their life goals. As each dreamer speaks, their Email address will be embedded into the video allowing viewers to contact them to help make his or her dreams materialize into reality.

Their first installation captured almost 300 dreams. No word on how many of those it helped to come true. There are only 17 listed on their web site – how do they decide “What Dreams May Come”?

From Reddit:

It was out there. Teddy didn’t catch as many dreams as he wanted to, some sort of technical problems (somebody said it was dusty or something).

They managed to record 284 dreams, although the goal was 3-5k recordings.

As I watch the dreams now I see how powerful a single voice can be. We are all united, each with remarkable ideas to make the world a better place. All you have to do is share your dreams and together we can change our destiny.

Cheers and thank you again for making this dream possible.



[Update 8/18/14 7:51pm]

I’ve watched a couple of their videos and thought about what they’re doing. I kinda like the idea. Use Burning Man and the Internet to make peoples’ dreams come true. I would contribute to one of the projects (the Give Wildlife Rights dream). The cute girls will probably get a disproportionate share of funding, that would be interesting to follow. Different things resonate in different ways in different networks. Providing a consistent format for absorbing and replaying the data makes it easy to see a variety of dreams and choose which ones you support. Burning Man is probably the world’s greatest collection of dreamers, but they could do this at Comic Con or Glastonbury or Oracle World. The Dreambox could be the next kickstarter and change the world, or it could be a clumsy attempt from the tech industry to link themselves to Burning Man – like Intel SiMan.

While I agree with many of Anarchist Jim’s comments, my personal opinion is that this party has grown up to become one big money fest now, it’s time to stop denying that and just embrace it. BMOrg should do everything they can to help startups, including using the money we provide them with to give small amounts of funding to a small number of them. Hell, they should use more of the money to fund more startups with larger donations! For $30 million a year, the Burner community ought to be able to spin off a few startups. Maybe then raving really could change the world.


[Update 8/17/14 8:58 PM]

They’re a to-do list for your entire life, according to Dreamus themselves. If it was a charity asking for a donation, it would be slightly cuter than a startup looking for investors on angel list and monetizing other peoples money in the meantime:

Project Dreambox was first created on Kickstater as Teddy Saunders and Paola Baldion raised $29,277 to build a solar powered video booth that allows people to record 30-second statements of their life-long dreams, goals and intentions into an HD camera.

They called it The Dreambox. They then brought this Dreambox to Burning Man, where they collected dreams from people all over the world. Now, with the addition of lead programmer, Nicholas Juntilla, they have built a place for these dreams to take shape online…

Dreamus is a place to collaborate on dreams with others.

We’ve all heard the term, thoughts become things. The Secret is about the Law of Attraction. The idea of manifesting your own destiny by painting a picture of the specific goals necessary to be building your dream project, working your dream job, and living your dream life.

We feel that identifying your dreams is the most important thing you could do in life because it creates a motivational drive and direction in your day-to-day actions.

By puting your life’s intentions online and allowing others to follow, you make a promise to yourself and your peers. We believe that this promise can improve your destiny.

We like to think of Dreamus as the to-do list for your life and we hope that it will enable us to live better lives, together.

Saving the world with Burning Man, Dreamus, and The Secret. One dream at a time, hopefully the 5% cut on each dream – whether fulfilled or not – is enough to pay for all the data storage required to record everyone’s dreams (condensed into a few minutes).

300 dreams, that’s got to be at least $10 for a memory stick.

I bet this data, when linked to dreamers Facebook profiles and Yahoo or Gmail accounts, phone numbers – is a dream indeed, for electronic marketers swimming in the lucrative sea of Big Data. It would appear their business model gives them a 100% cut of revenue from that, quite independently from any dream manifestation.


23 comments on “St Art Ups Posing as Playa Art [Update]

  1. Pingback: Awaken: A Story of Dreams | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Hi guys. Teddy here. I created Project Dreambox with some friends. It began with us building the Dreambox and allowing people to record their dreams in order to share them with the world, but then we realized that simply posting these dreams on a site like YouTube would not give the dreamer the privacy options, collaborative opportunities and means for others to join, follow and support their dream, so we built in hopes to make it easier for everyone. You can call it a startup, but we also consider it more of an interactive art project and social experiment.

    I don’t know how we can keep this project alive anymore without financial support. Attmitedly, the profile was an attempt to try to get the attention of people who might be able to help. The 5% business model seemed like a very reasonable idea. It’s not like we’re selling anything on the playa.

    Most Burning Man art projects wouldn’t exist without crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, who take up to 9% of contributions. Burning Man fully shares and supports these campaigns. Without them, there would be far less art. So why point a finger at us? Our mission is to enable participants to create artful opportunities together, on and off the playa. Burning Man made us an Honorarium project this year, and we are grateful that they see the fantastic opportunity at hand.

    Either way, in response to the criticism we’re now removing donations from the site and if we do bring them back in order to help support users dreams, then we will greatly consider taking 0%. Meanwhile, we would love to hear your ideas on how we can keep this project alive and in alignment with Burning Man’s principals. We feel that this project well represents the ethos of Burning Man’s values, especially those of self expression, radical inclusion (a website for everyone), gifting and participation and we hope to be able to celebrate and support the brave dreamers who chose to record and share their dreams over the past three years in which we brought the Dreambox to the playa.

    The world deserves to hear how brilliant, creative, sincere and inspiring the people of Burning Man are, so I hope that we can continue this project with your support.

    Many thanks for your comments and feedback,

  3. Pingback: The Best Art At Burning Man 2014 | Lydia Laurenson

  4. There is clearly some advantage to having FaceBook profile access to those who register on your site. I recently registered for a hotel promotion, and got this confirmation:

    “Congratulations! You have successfully registered for the Club CarlsonSM Great Escape Face–off. You are now entered for a chance to win one of many exciting prize packages. Vote for your favorite of two featured destinations each week to increase your chances to win.* Limit one vote per day.”

    The only trick is, even if you are “registered,” the only way you can log in to vote is through FB. Keep in mind that I already have a full hotel reservation profile on their site. They must be selling the FB profile information they gather, unless someone can explain otherwise.

  5. Burning Man has changed from an event of the counter culture, towards an event of middle class conformity. The response of the Cacophony Society, of Burning Man founder John Law and of his Billboard Liberation Front, would utilize numerous canisters of spray paint. For an awesome discussion upon the desired Burner response towards commercialism, as is this Dreamus Dream Box, within Black Rock City, read the signs from the Gate to the Greeters, of particular interest, read the signs with spray paint upon them.

  6. Here’s my dream, a fucking house I won’t lose where I can have all my kids live and we won’t starve. Got that? Yeah, didn’t fucking think so. DreamupMYass. Take your dotcom somewhere else. If someone had soooo many dreams, why didn’t they take all the money they spent on BM and use it on their dream instead of begging people online for it instead.

    • Good point.
      they spent $30k of OPM (Kickstarter) to fund the creation of the box, bringing it to the Playa, and recording the first 300 dreams of which 17 are live. One dream has come true, someone who spoke their dream at the box manifested it.

      If you want your dreams to come true, start speaking them.

      To anyone who will listen? On video to anyone and everyone on the Internet while you’re in the middle of Burning Man: well, that is one strategy that people can use to make their dreams come true. It’s not to my taste, but I can see it being effective for some. Personally I prefer saying the right words at the right time to the right people. Plus a kind heart and a lot of hard work when it’s needed. I can see my strategy working for anyone, whereas
      “record three things at Burning Man” is more risky: your performance may have social media repercussions that will last a lifetime, that are beyond your comprehension in the chaos-fuelled Carnival of Immediacy that is Burning Man.

  7. Anarchists are fundamentalists, they’re extremists. What’s wrong with an art project that has a sustainable economic model to support its existence when, after all, the purpose is to inspire people to manifest their dreams? Is it because they associate “startup” with the evil empire? This startup takes 5% of donations, and kudos to them for going after VC money to further fund their beautiful project — that’s a great use of money IMHO. I roll my eyes at anarchists with such cynical and ineffectual outlooks. To achieve great things, to make great positive changes, you have to work with the current system — not against it. Let’s all please get over the illusion that Burning Man was ever separate or independent of capitalism; never was, never will be.

    • What is the process to repeal the Decommodification principle? Or is it’s existence part of the unquestioned facade for those who seek happiness in denial?

  8. In addition to accepting that the event is little more than a money fest how about no longer using the term ‘our culture’ as if it somehow stands apart from the dominant culture? At one time this may have been true. It no longer is. Eliminate a pretension I suspect is mostly just an ego trip.

    • lol supa, that is a very good question. I’m going to look into it, although with early stage businesses it’s hard to tell. Someone certainly gets the revenue from all those YouTube hits on “oh the places you’ll go” (as well as Google)

      • The places you”ll go short does not have ad content. Hits of themselves do not create revenue. There has to be advertising associated with it, which in this case, there is not. This is a feature that You Tube account holders can turn on or off. In this case there is no advertising served.

        • are you saying this has always been the case with this video? Or just that there are no ads on it today? The Youtube comments suggest there may have been more than one version of this video on YouTube.

  9. Not too sure about this. No propane. Minimal carbon footprint. No global warming. …I’ll have my assistant see if we can get a reserved time to visit the box.

    • Yep and I’ll bet the manufacture and transport of these $$$ devices is completely carbon neutral…I wonder if somebody can set up a ferris wheel next year?

      • Tried to sign up, but my assistant refused to use his FB account, which is the only way to dream with them. Besides, he offered me this:

        “If what you are following, however, is your own true adventure, if it is something appropriate to your deep spiritual need or readiness, then magical guides will appear to help you. If you say, ‘Everyone’s going on this trip this year, and I’m going too,’ then no guides will appear. Your adventure has to be coming right out of your own interior. If you are ready for it, then doors will open where there were no doors before, and where there would not be doors for anyone else. And you must have courage. It’s the call to adventure, which means there is no security, no rules.”

        Joseph Campbell, from “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living”

        …Might be time to look for a new assistant.

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