In my recent article about a new Burning Man director’s involvement in a million dollar plug-n-play camp, I commented on Disorient, giving them praise for the way their camp seems to operate like clockwork. Just like I did in March 2012, when I first started covering plug-n-play.
It seems that Burners can survive life in the harsh desert for a week, tripping over re-bar and Darkwads. They can survive Playa lung and Playa foot, sun burn and wind burn and sinking into the mud. They can line up in queues for hours, party for days on end and still not be offended by ugly people shirtcocking. But use an ambiguous word in describing their camp? Oh my god! “WE DEMAND A RETRACTION!”
Here’s what I said:
Leo Villareal is the founder of Disorient, who certainly share a great deal with Burners. They also have one of the most impressive turnkey operations I’ve seen on the Playa. They are turnkey in the sense that there are meals and regular RV services available, and members pay camp dues. It’s harder to argue that they are the ghastly “plug and play”, where sparkle ponies show up but don’t participate adequately. Everyone who camps there has to do volunteer shifts, such as being a Greeter. It ain’t cheap, but it ain’t in the stratosphere either. From what I hear, their budget is pretty reasonable for such a large camp with so many amenities
I camp at disorient for years, where did you gain your informatio?n,.. You should have checked your sources, disorient is NOT a plug n play by any means. What a fucking slap to all of us here who contribute to the building, alpha team, disengage, LNT, love ministry, .. We ALL wash dishes, we all take shifts at disorient, who the hell do you think builds our camp? We do, all of us, AND we do a greeters shift, AND we have teams of art cars AND DJs, we do it all ourselves. Retract that now please , because that’s a fucking lie!
burnersxxx: I never said Disorient was a plug and play camp. Turnkey was the word I used. Surely you admit that you pay camp dues, have meals provided, private as well as public camp areas, RV services, private bathrooms? Disorient contributes plenty, and if you read the post you will see I pointed out that everyone who stays there has to do volunteer shifts.
So, any camp where your camp dues pays for your food, portable potties and shower and biodiesel for campers and rvs is considered “turnkey “? That’s pretty fucking hilarious , I invite you over to our lovely ” turnkey” camp , hahaha, yeah, all I had to do was show up, hahahahaha, hahahaha, sorry, having a hard time breaThing here, hahahaha,..
“where do you draw the line” is a good question. Is it Sherpas that make it turnkey (vs plug-n-play)? Chefs? Private bathrooms? Showers? Pre-arranged RV services? Or is it all about having the Segways and bicycles ready?
Disorient is a big camp with a six figure budget, and people who arrive early and stay late setting up and tearing down. Are any of those people paid for their time? Regardless, it’s hardly a small group of friends putting their tents up next to each other. I can’t see where you think this article is being critical of Disorient. The point of this article is not “plug and play camps are ruining Burning Man”. It’s “Burning Man’s new director is promoting a million dollar camp with the names of artists he didn’t get permission from”.
I think the issue here was simply the terminology of “turnkey” vs. “plug-n-play”. DISORIENT is certainly not a plug-n-play camp, but if some come away with the impression that our operations are turnkey, I’ll happily take that as a compliment! It’s due to the incredible hard work, creativity, and dedication of hundreds of active burners, honing the camp over 14 years to continually improve how we set up, maintain, and break down our infrastructure, how we conceive of and produce our art projects, how we welcome new burners into our camp and the community as a whole, and how we interact and give back – on playa and year-round. Everyone at DISORIENT participates in the working aspects of the camp, and anyone who doesn’t is politely encouraged to camp elsewhere the next year… In 2014, we were as large as we’ve ever been, yet the camp felt tighter and brighter than ever.
On the topic of Plug-n-Plays, I’m not a fan. In a nutshell, I think they contribute more to the “mainstream-ization” of the playa than the “burnification” of the default world. And _that_ is a bad thing.
thanks Tejawe, it was meant as a compliment. Disorient got their shit tight!
“Turnkey” just isn’t a compliment in terms of what Dis0rient is all about, and it isn’t accurate. Burnersxxx was (uncharacteristically) sloppy in his word choice, whether intending to be compliment or a slight…. A handful of people in a camp of a couple hundred plus, go that route, and usually aren’t allowed to do that for more than one time. We bring our own “drive trains”, we are our own “owners”, we are not just handed keys to a functioning business, or sold a pre-packaged experience. It is wrong, and conflates different problems with a lot of hard fought, well thought out solutions to various challenges. Here’s Wikipedia on turnkey. Burnersxxx, we await your retraction, and rethinking of the epitaph …
“A turnkey project or contract as described by Duncan Wallace (1984) is:
“…. a contract where the essential design emanates from, or is supplied by, the Contractor and not the owner, so that the legal responsibility for the design, suitability and performance of the work after completion will be made to rest … with the contractor …. ‘Turnkey’ is treated as merely signifying the design responsibility as the contractor’s.”
Turnkey refers to something that is ready for immediate use, generally used in the sale or supply of goods or services.
…Burnersxxx and anyone who has really looked at Disorient or spent time their knows (or should know) better. I think you owe DisOrient a retraction/-apology. We are NOT “turn-key”–never. We work shifts, build our shit, break it down, and everyone pretty much pays our modest dues, except for a few who work extra hard or contribute a lot more in effort than the cost of dues… There may be an rv or three delivered to the playa, but turn-key implies fully stocked, unlocked and loaded when you arrive with your key you simply turn. Ain’t Got No Sherpas.
It seems like by the definition Bacchus has chosen to use, turnkey is where someone else designs and sets up the camp. Camp members pay their dues, show up and get allocated a spot that’s been reserved for them, and enjoy the facilities brought and erected by others. Campers are different from owners, or designers. Just because you paid the dues, doesn’t mean you’re involved in the design, or responsible for the camp as a whole if a disaster happens.
Here are some simpler definitions, from Urban Dictionary:
– Something that is finished and ready to go
– Work left to a competent source to complete, ready to go when needed.
And from Google:
– involving the provision of a complete product or service that is ready for immediate use.
I apologize to friends and strangers in Disorient if my use of the word “turnkey” to describe their large, organized, big-budget camp, hurt their feelings. I thought “plug-n-play” was the bad term, I didn’t know “turnkey” was also a bad term. I grew up in the military and have spent my career in business; in both worlds, a “turnkey operation” is considered as high praise indeed.
Perhaps there is another word that is more appropriate to use?
Here are the elements of Disorient that I consider combine to make camping there different enough from pure self-reliance, that their should be some sort of word to differentiate it from plug-n-play:
Elements of a Turn-key [or, Word X] Camp:
– dues cost nearly as much as tickets
– camp budget above $50,000
– someone else cooks your meals
– private bathrooms and showers
– people with early access passes get there to set up, so you can arrive when much of it is built
– you can leave the camp before it has all been packed up
– some of the workers in the camp get paid
– generators are available to plug into and someone else takes care of running them
– RV service regularly comes to the camp
– you can fly in and meet your RV on the Playa
– if you need extra tickets the camp will be able to find them
– use of an art car you didn’t build
Not every camp has all of those elements. If it does – like Disorient – is it turnkey?
I’m not sure what their prices were this year, but this is from 2012:
Our camp utilizes dues to help meet our budget, including dinners, porta potties, showers, sound, art, epicness, and a communal water tank
Our camp dues are:
– tier one – $275.00 per camper through July 22
– tier two – $325.00 through July 29
– tier three – $375.00 through August 06
– overdue – $425.00 after August 06 (this goes up sharply because registering late creates a lot of extra work for our registration team!)
– $50 rebate for campers working on Disengage through 8pm on Sunday, Sept. 2.
– additional $50 rebate for campers working on Disengage through 8pm on Mon., Sept. 3.
– additional $50 rebate for campers working on Disengage through 8pm on Tue., Sept. 4.
– additional $50 rebate for campers working on Disengage through the end on Wed., Sept. 5.
If your application is approved on a tier deadline, you will be given a seven day grace period to make the dues payment at the lower dues level.
RV campers: Please note that there will be an additional required fee of $725 per RV.This pays for the RV to be serviced with fresh potable water and pumped (grey/black water waste) every other day connection to our bio diesel generator grid. (Use of on board generators is not allowed because of the exhaust they produce.)
It’s pretty clear that the whole camp doesn’t stay to break it down and completely de-MOOP, since they have to pay $200 to incentivize people to do that. The fact that the payment occurs in the form of a rebate is a nice touch, but it is what it is. Clearly, the option to pay more and clean up less is available.
Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with these elements. I’m not hating on camps that do this, Hell, I’m not even hating on plug-n-play camps. And I never have been. I’ve been telling you they exist for years, and saying that I think Burners should direct their ire towards BMOrg, not their fellow Burners. I care as much about P.Diddy’s sherpa as I did about his umbrella holder: ie., zero. Whether or not someone had a sherpa does not change my Burn in any way. It’s bizarre that people define their own happiness by the actions of others. To each their own – what are you bringing to the party to share with everyone else?
There is no doubt in my mind that Disorienters work volunteer shifts, and I commended them for that in my original article. Likewise, Disorient itself is a gift to the Playa. I have been praising their logistical and operational abilities in this blog since early 2012 when we first started talking about Plug-n-Play, holding them up as the example that other camps should be like. There is nothing in my article that is criticizing Disorient in any way, but some of them see my words as the compliment they were intended as; and some are butt-hurt.
Sorry I ever called Disorient a turnkey operation.
I throw it over to you for suggestions, readers. What sort of word should we use to describe camps where guests pay fees and enjoy private showers and meals cooked for them, and pay others to stay and pack up…if we want to differentiate them from “plug-n-play”? Is it just “camps”?