Turkey Answers, But Silence On Commodification Scalper Tickets [Poll Added]

BMOrg have published a blog post “How Turnkey Camps Get Placed”. They persist with trying to re-frame the issue with semantics – we prefer Commodification Camps to this Turkey camps idea that BMOrg are promoting, because it more accurately describes the problem.

There is still nothing from BMOrg on the main question the Burner community wants answered: how did Commodification Camps get all the tickets they want, when the event was sold out in 42 minutes in February? Of course, readers of this blog already know the answer: BMOrg scalped them directly. Still, the official silence on this important issue is deafening.

From burningman.com (emphasis ours):

Citizens of Black Rock City – everyone is talking about Turnkey camps and the Placement team wants you to know: we hear you! You’re speaking up on social media, talking at parties, doing deep dives at regional events. We’ve received more than 400 post-event emails and hundreds of comments through the Feedback form.

This is a good thing. Speaking your mind and sharing your opinions is the most important thing you can do right now.

Turkey_Time_Fun_Camp_Logo_copyThe Placement Team placed over 1,300 camps in 2014. Theme Camps, camps for volunteers coming in early to work, camps for artists, Black Rock City, LLC department camps, camps within the BRC storage container program, and Mutant vehicle camps

We also placed about 25 Turnkey camps. We define Turnkey camps as those that offer a public space and interactivity in addition to private spaces for larger groups and are typically built by a producer, rather than a traditional camp lead

Community evolves out of relationships and relationships are built out of communication, conflict resolution, disagreements and coming together. Talking with each other keeps us engaged and keeps us participating. The contention I hear is genuinely based on our collective caring about the community we build together. Making room for this conversation ensures the integrity of the Placement process and the integrity of the event. Placement volunteers hold our integrity above all as we enact the Ten Principles in our decisions and actions.

Of course there is more to our plans than just talking. We’re looking at tangible ways to help everyone do better. Ticketing, Early Arrival passes, our outside services program, DMV operations and of course camp placement are all being reviewed as we think about where to push and where to pull.

The Placement team dedicates thousands of volunteer hours to piecing together Black Rock City and we care intimately about how we all fit together and embody the Ten Principles.

I look forward to shedding more light on what the Placement team does and why in future posts. Until then, keep talking – we are listening.

Listening, yes. Doing anything about it, not yet. “Coming soon”.

Read the full post – and some great comments from disillusioned Burners – here.

If you’re not sure what a “Commodification Camp” is, here’s just some of our other coverage on the topic:

Commodification Camp Concerns

Commodification Camps and the Tin Principles

Plug-n-Play Goes All The Way To The Top of the Pyramid

Comfortably Commodified

$2 Million Camps: Gentrification of Burning Man



2014 Trey Ratcliff Photos

Photographer Trey Ratcliff, from Queenstown, New Zealand, has created a slideshow of his photos from Caravansary. Trey describes how he made the video at his Stuck in Customs blog. He is one of the most popular photographers in the world, with 263,716 followers on Facebook.


New System For Arts Grants Announced

Earlier this year BMOrg announced that its Black Rock Arts Foundation non-profit subsidiary, would be absorbed into its Burning Man Project non-profit master organization, to become a new department called “Burning Man Arts”.

Now, they have announced that this will mean a change to their Arts Honoraria process as well. Perhaps “announced” is too strong of a word: they’ve said they’re going to change things, and if you want to know in what way…the details are “coming soon”.

From burningman.com (emphasis ours):

2014 ass on bike

Black Rock Ass Foundation

Burning Man Arts — the new department combining the Black Rock City Art Department with the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) — will launch a new online system in mid-November designed to make it easier for artists to apply for honoraria grants for art destined for Black Rock City.

This year, applicants will be required to first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), which will allow the Grant Committee to select which projects will be invited to participate in the full grant application process, saving everybody time and effort.

The system will go live in mid-November, and LOI submissions will be accepted for four weeks. The Grant Committee aims to inform artists if they are invited to participate in the full grant application process by the beginning of 2015.

All artists hoping to receive a Black Rock City honorarium will need to participate in this new LOI process.

More information will be made available via the Jackrabbit Speaks and on the Burning Man Arts web pages as the rollout approaches.

So basically, if you have an idea for an art project, start working on your letter of intent.

It’s hard to tell if the “new online system” will be anything more than a web submission form that lets you upload a few attachments. It’s also hard to say if this is really going to make life easier for artists, or just easier for BMOrg. We invite any Burning Man artists reading this to share their opinions – perhaps anonymously, as we’d hate for freedom of speech to prejudice the Letter Evaluation Committee against them.

What are the criteria for which projects letters get selected, and which get rejected? Spelling? Grammar? Innovation? Insurance? Aesthetic beauty? Or the artist’s existing relationship with BMOrg’s arts overlords?

Will next year’s theme even be announced before the Art Project ideas are submitted? “Mid November” is only a couple of weeks away, and “the beginning of 2015” in BMOrg-speak does not necessarily mean January 1. They haven’t even been able to update their web site in the 2 months since the Man burned, to list the dates for 2015.

The event begins in 304 days.