Art historian, PhD student Stephen Mack, has written an excellent de-construction of the Burning Man 2016 art theme at The Daily Dot. The Medicis had a unicorn horn in their art collection. Who knew! And BMOrg are playing fast and loose with history. Who’d have thunk it!
Please read it in its entirety – here’s the conclusion for TL;DR:
There actually is something about this period of the Florentine Renaissance thatwould appeal to the Burning Man crowd: The Florentine art patrons believed genuinely in the idea that money could be spent virtuously and they felt that spending on art was virtuous. Several scholars have gone into this idea in some depth. I think that many people in the Renaissance looked to art to engage them in learned discussion—perhaps to contemplate morality, to visualize and understand religious concepts, and even, I think, to contemplate on the ideas of nature and of representation. Spending money on art wasn’t virtuous simply because it provided the masses with beautiful objects, but because, in the Renaissance (as in most periods), to engage with a work of art was, in effect, to seriously contemplate both the world they lived in and the spiritual world beyond this one.
I imagine that the organizers of Burning Man had this type of contemplation in mind when they conceptualized the “Turning Man.” I’m sure many bros will have wonderful acid- and shroom-induced journeys staring up at Turning Man, and may indeed come out of it with a challenged view of the world. This is a great thing. And, ultimately, it is for exactly this reason that we should spend money on art in the first place. (Well, not so much the drug-culture part, but the challenging-our-view-of- the-world part. Not that the drug part is so bad, either.)
But the fanciful utopian history Burning Man has written to underpin this journey is an utter farce. And rewriting history to our own ends is never a good thing.
That said, the Renaissance did their own rewriting of history, too. The learned elites idolized Classical Antiquity in much the same fanciful way that Burning Man now idolizes the Renaissance. In this way—though it was likely unintentional—Burning Man actually has done a decent job emulating the Renaissance.
Read the full article at Daily Dot.
In the last year the non-profit Burning Man Project – which we’re told was created as the ultimate gift to us, giving Burning Man back to the Burners – has assimilated other charities BRAF, Burners Without Borders, and Black Rock Solar. Control of these networks is now cemented in the grip of the Project and the Ruling Group behind it. The Rulers get to play Medici in the economy of Black Rock City. They bank all the money from the Gerlach festival ($34 million), tax free (even though it’s not a tax deductible deduction for us buying tickets). They take a gallery commission on art sold outside the Playa by Burning Man artists. They get a share of the revenues of more than 100 licensed vendors approved to sell things at Black Rock City. They grant about $800,000 in cash and a couple of hundred thousand “in kind” in their patronage of the arts. Most artists are expected to raise two-thirds to three-quarters of the project costs themselves. And work for free.
My sincere hope is this “creative Maker artist” theme flavor will signify a new era from Burning Man’s
owners founders controllers. Let’s hope for much more generous patronage of Burner art from the Medicis Ruling Group, both visible and invisible. 10% of revenues would be a great start – and let the artists pay themselves.
We will get a hint of the direction we’re heading soon, when the long overdue IRS public filing for 2014 for the Burning Man Project is made public. Perhaps we will get to hear soon about some of the activities and achievements of the Burning Man Project in taking our contributions to execute its mission.
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Today I was working with one of my stone soup group teams on a project we have been doing for years. Comparing it to Burning Man and the post-sellout NV burn draws some clear contrasts.
First, our group is unencumbered other than our time commitment and following our group policies. This is how it was with Burning Man before the sellout, but is no longer the case with the NV burn. The Borg has now set up a gauntlet and barriers to even attend, let alone make a collaborative contribution.
Second, and most important, our stone soup group is a collaboration. We play ideas off each other, and come up with better things. We can draw on any resources we have and share, and can involve people as needed. At no point is our work limited by others. That’s the way it was going to Burning Man. Now, the Borg envisions itself as “setting the theme” of the NV burn. How often does that lead to creative work? It may contribute to “the theme,” but is not the best source for creativity from the participants.
When you combine direction over collaboration with the inability to define your implementation group, the stone soup is not very good at all. It may make sense when it’s you day job to pay the rent, but as a volunteer contribution there are better venues. More so when the people compromising your efforts are selling the soup you donate as their day job. )$(
Marian said that when the corporation started to dictate the culture, that’s when they had to all step back and make it a non-profit. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be what’s actually happened. Instead little dictators seem to be springing up everywhere.
Can’t see how making it a non-profit has had any effect on their dictating the event. Only seems to have opened up new revenue sources.
This was a great opportunity to establish a model to enfranchise and enable a stone soup event. Unfortunately the Borg were not equal to the challenge. Not being creative or particularly smart, they copied other corporate models which has led them down the same path to promoting product-based revenues. My two big stone soup organizations have largely avoided that, one better than the other (who has more salaried staff and is more concerned for revenues).
But the biggest epic fail of the Borg is their attempts to control information about them and the event, only wanting information that has been properly edited if not spun to paint their picture. For a creative event, this is poison. Rather than facilitating collaboration among the participants, they are stifling it. Combined with their subjective and capricious control over ticketing, can’t see how they really could have handled this any worse.
You can tell when you have a working stone-soup group: it functions without any direction. The participants make the soup, just get the fraak out of their way. The participants decide on the recipe, because they know best their resources, and can best come up with ideas because they are who they are and greatly outnumber the event staff. The staff just makes sure there is a place and a kettle (and porta-potties); the participants will handle the rest.
In this sense Night Market is the best and purest expression of a stone-soup/crowd-sourced event. The organizers set the place and time (and arrange the porta-potties); the participants handle the rest. https://vid.me/b3tJ
Here is something from my email today that you would never hear from the Medici or the Borg. It comes from an all-volunteer group with completely transparent financials…
Transformus & Ignite Leadership Interest Form
Participation: It’s not just a principle. The work of volunteers is critical to the existence of Transformus and Ignite! One great way to participate year-round is to step into a leadership role in the community. Whether Team Lead, BoD, or other positions, good leaders are a valuable addition and something we can’t do without.
Sometimes good candidates for leadership get overlooked due to the on-site craziness at events. Perhaps they don’t show their interest to the right person or at the right time, or they simply don’t realize that anyone can be a leader if they show the skills and desire to be one. This form is an effort to help the BoD and IPA keep track of potential leaders and give everyone an easy way to show interest. We’re looking for not just on-the-ground “doers” but big-picture thinkers and organizers. Organization and decision making skills are highly sought after hallmarks of a good burn leader.
Tell us why you would be a great addition to leadership in our community! We’ll keep your interest on file. As positions open up we regularly refer to the candidate list to ensure we don’t overlook good candidates for those rolls. Filling out this form isn’t a guarantee you’ll be chosen, but it is certainly a great way to make sure your skills and desire are known.
Click here for the Leadership Interest Form
Kudos to Stephen Mack for an awesome article.
He begins his article in the manner of ‘Burning Man’s introduction on their website has historical inaccuracies, overstatements, or debatable claims in pretty much every sentence. In fact, almost every clause has an error. It’s not that I expect Burning Man to have an exhaustive knowledge of the period, but it’s frustrating that they’ve written a history that is utterly fanciful.
And, he was not familiar in regards of Burning Man, or of the BMOrg, prior of penning his article.
In regards of ‘utterly fanciful’, Larry makes Chinese whispers of that Burning Man is a democracy, in the manner of Florence and Black Rock City, ‘The parallels between these two precocious cities are remarkable. … Florence is perhaps most notable for a new kind of social mobility; not only was it governed democratically, …‘
Nothing might be further from truthful. View the rubbish Burning Man Project bylaws, upon their website, permitting near all control to Larry, Marian, and their mates, and no representation of the awesome Burner community is permitted within the Project bylaws. The Borg does not even permit free speech within the Burner community, upon the decisions of ‘our tasked government’, of the manner Larry priorly termed it.
The Borg has assimilated near to all Facebook groups and other sites. Near to the end of 2014, the Borg assimilated the Burning Man Facebook group, of which, Motis built to 50,000 burners, but it permitted the Burner community to converse upon the decisions of Larry, and Marian, and criticise their decisions. The Borg placed their minions as the ministers of the group, and they booted any Burners whom desired free speech upon the government of Black Rock City. The Official Unofficial Burning Man Facebook Group was then began by Burners desiring of free speech, of which, it gained to near to 8,000 burners, but, the Borg assimilated the new Facebook group within 2015 October, placing their minions in control, in the manner of, on October 20, Pooh Bear made April Robinson and Eve Alas admins. Free speech is not permitted within this group, and any burners whom desire to resist assimilation and not agree with the decisions of the Borg are to be booted from the group.
Kudos must be given to Will Chase, the Minister of Propaganda, and to Larry, and to Marian, in regards of assimilating near to all Facebook groups, in addendum of websites of regional groups, purposed towards preventing free speech within the Burner community. Volunteers are not permitted to criticise the decisions of the Borg, might they desire their free tickets to the next burn, and theme camps might be punished might they not worship the decisions of Larry, and Marian, in a proper manner. If the awesome Burners of Opulent Temple might be denied placement, in the manner of within 2015, near to all whom resist assimilation might be punished by the Borg. Might an awesome Burner Facebook group not desire to be assimilated, the Borg minions will begin a competing Facebook group, or a competing website, utilizing the Decommodification LLC trademark of ‘Burning Man’, and solely promoting of events controlled by their Regional
RepresemtativesContacts, and paying proper tribute, of cash, towards the Project.
Since the Borg minions drove me off FB earlier this year, I am gladly not there to see this. I wonder if we are seeing the final conversion of the NV burn into Bohemian Grove.
Good I stopped mentioning going to Burning Man to people years ago…
Yes, I was most curious in regards of there was little criticism of the manner of 2016 theme promoting of artists licking the arses of rich patrons, purposed to gain cash for their art, of the worst manner of trickle down economics, and I became of the realisation of near to all Burners are new, and of they are not permitted to learn of the prior culture of the priorly counter culture Burning Man, of which, it would be most appalled by this, in due of the awesome labours of the Minister of Propaganda, and his social media team, of preventing free speech. View the post upon the Burning Man Facebook page of announcing the theme, and near to all comments criticising the theme are, at present, deleted.
Thank you, burnersxxx, for providing near to the only site permitting free speech upon the decisions of the government of our Black Rock City.
It’s pretty much turning into Cochilla for me – it’s off my radar. Only memories.
There is “enough” left to make the NV burn continue, and support the sellout, but Burning Man has left the playa.
My concern is to contain the Borg, and not let their commodification/commercialization/defaultification infect and spoil the other burns. The NV burn is an example of what NOT to do.
The reason online complaints have fallen off as you describe is somewhat due to the aggressive censoring by the Borg, but is far more due to their driving away the real Burning Man burners in favor of the NV burn cult faithful.
Just think about this: what is your reaction when your online discussion comment is deleted? How much do you redouble your efforts to comment? …Only if you are stupid and have no self respect. No, you take your efforts elsewhere. The Borg have not only disenfranchised the burners, but have censored them and their already discounted input. The result is that most of the innovative and creative burners not part of the faithful have gone elsewhere, while those paid to do their art and are given tickets remain.
As the NV burn becomes less and less, the question is: will the Borg futilely try to recapture those they have rejected, or will they settle in with what’s left.
My fear is that their NPD will kick in, and they will go after the regionals in a useless attempt to “make” the old burners come back into the fold by extending their censure and exclusion.
We shall see…
This is a great overview. I haven’t really been following the “Eve Alas” and “Soren Ateri” admin wars on FB very closely, but I could see there was some weird beef going on there. It doesn’t surprise me to learn that they hijacked the Official Unofficial the same way they did the BMFG – an operation that involved “black hat” hacking techniques including subterfuge and trickery, and insiders at both Facebook and BMOrg. I also note that this operation was launched about the same time Danger Ranger tweeted this:
and then launched his doxing and team trolling attacks on me.
The admins, of course, deny everything. And Burning Man sails on to millions of blue-haired Dr Phil fans coming to stay in RVs and observe the spectacle being thrown for them by the participants.
If you are doing a theme camp, art car, or playa installation, you should be getting paid and tickets. If not, here is your sign…
‘Perhaps we will get to hear soon about some of the activities and achievements of the Burning Man Project in taking our contributions to execute its mission.’
Within the 2014 afterburn report, the BMOrg stated of they would publish this within the summer of 2015, but, it did not occur. My belief is it is to be in the manner of a PR afterburn report upon the Project. In the same manner, the BMOrg stated the 2014 990 form would be published within 2015 November. Might the 2014 990 form, and the afterburn report of the Project, be published within November, or, might it be delayed to 2016 January?
I am holding my breath…. 😐
For what it’s worth, here is the fine print in an email today:
FIGMENT is a free, inclusive, participatory arts event held in multiple cities and drawing tens of thousands of participants each year. FIGMENT’s mission is offer free, family-friendly and participatory art to entire communities. The event removes the barriers of museum and gallery walls and entrance fees, blurring the lines between those who create and those who enjoy art. FIGMENT catalyzes and celebrates an abundance of creativity and passion, challenging artists and our communities to find new ways to create, share, think, and dream. FIGMENT’s free annual participatory arts event began in New York City in 2007. In New York, FIGMENT hosts an annual summer-long exhibition on Governors Island that includes an interactive sculpture garden, a treehouse, and an artist-designed minigolf course, and an architectural pavilion co-presented with ENYA and SEAoNY.
FIGMENT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization entirely funded by grants and individual donations. FIGMENT accepts no corporate sponsorship of any kind. FIGMENT is supported by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. FIGMENT NYC is supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, as well as by the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
FIGMENT Boston is produced with support from the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the designated stewards of the Rose Kennedy Greenway and site of FIGMENT Boston.
FIGMENT Jackson is produced with support from the Greater Jackson Arts Council.
FIGMENT Geelong is produced in partnership with Diversitat, our local auspice agency, and is supported by City of Greater Geelong through its Community Festivals Grant Program.
ALPHA is FIGMENT’s annual camping event for creators, in which everyone is expected to bring a project. ALPHA 2016 will take place April 15-17 in Darlington, Maryland.
Click here to support FIGMENT with a donation.
And, FIGMENT does this with a budget of solely $250,000.
Nomad, do you know anything about the early history of Figment? I’ve been wondering if my local free, inclusive, participatory arts event inspired Figment. St. Louis has had Artica for close to 15 years. Artica is definitely not a burn (it doesn’t regurgitate the 10+ principles like Figment does), though heavily attended by burners. Artica received a grant from BRAF in 2004 (and again in 2008). In 2007, Figment started up. Was BRAF (or another BMORG entity) involved with Figment at the start? Were the Burning Man principles part of the initial vision?
I don’t have any special knowledge of the early years of Figment. I do recall that in 2010, my first participation, they had the 10 principles, with veiled reference to Burning Man, but a clear statement that they were not affiliated. Most all artists knew of Burning Man, but had not ever been.
You will have to look further on their web site or the net to find out more, unless a lurker can offer some help.
The 2014 990 has to be filed with the IRS by Nov. 15, 2015 if the BMorg accountants filed both available extensions. So it should be available and published by the end of November if not earlier. The date the accountant signed it will be readily visible, so we’ll know if they held off on making it available or not.
Who are the vendors licensed to sell at Bman? Locksmiths, water and sanitation. But who else?
Any reporter, including of any whom desire to pen a guest post upon this site, is of the ability to gain the list of vendors from the BLM, perchance, including of the cash paid to the BLM in due of the 3 per cent levy upon each vendor. The BMOrg must send much information 60 days after the Burning Man event, of which, it is today, of the manner stated within the Burning Man 2015 Special Recreation Permit Stipulations, to the BLM, including of details of ticket sales, medical trips to Reno, or to Sparks, details of population of Black Rock City including of vendors, contractors, volunteers, and others. The reporter is solely of the need to request of the BLM, in a most clear manner, the desired information the BMOrg must send to the BLM today.
Here is the 2013 list. I spoke to the BLM who said they were going to send me the 2014 list, but someone must have intercepted that. It should be available via FOIA request – that’s what BMOrg’s “clean well lighted suite of rooms” of transparency is these days.
This is most stunning. The BLM FOIA page states public information of this manner is available upon solely a request, there is of no need to pen a FOIA request. The BLM has the list of 2015 vendor permits, including of estimated, or final, 3 percent levies paid towards the BLM, and the name of the person signing the form, there is no rationale of the BLM employees not providing of this public information.
The other information stated within the 2015 permit stipulations, sent from the BRC LLC to the BLM today, is to be available in the same manner, upon solely a request. A cc, of the request, to the BLM minister of Nevada might be most appropriate. A FOIA request is sent to BLM offices within Washington, D.C., and it is months prior of them answering the request. The 2015 permit stipulations state of some of the information is requested of the BRC LLC purposed for the rationale of the information to be available towards the public. A reporter is solely of the need to request of the information sent to the BLM in due of stipulation x of the 2015 Burning Man Permit Stipulations, and cc the BLM minister of Nevada of the request.
It is the government, thus, it might be one week, or two weeks, prior of the desired information to be sent to a reporter. In actuality, any person is of the ability to request the information, the person is not of the need to be a reporter, but, might any person do so, we would be much obliged might the information be shared with the Burner community.
Too bad that list does not include the 3% revenue amount.
Reblogged this on Nevada State Personnel Watch.
BTW, I like your work…