New Details of Man and Base

This year’s Turning Man is going to spin end to end. Bells are going to ring out every hour, and then the Man will be rotated like clockwork. The area around the base is going to be used for skills training workshops.

Plan view of piazza (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

Plan view of piazza (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

From the Burning Man Journal:

In contrast to the historic squares of Florence that serve as its inspiration, Black Rock City’s piazza will be a playfully détourned version, re-imagined for our desert milieu through the use of repurposed, reused, and recycled materials. It will be anchored at its corners by four campaniles or bell towers, and flanked by four rows of Workshops, sheltered spaces intended for the teaching, learning, and practical application of art and craft.  Encouraged by the community’s positive reaction to the Souk in 2014 and the Midway in 2015, we designed these Workshops as the latest step in our ongoing experiment to turn the area around the base of the Man into a rich interactive space. To that end, we will be calling on artists, craftspeople, and tinkerers from across the Regional Network and beyond to help turn these Workshops into lively centers of creative activity, and have set aside a portion of our Honorarium Art Grant budget to help bring these ideas to life. Complementary groups will be encouraged to collaborate here as they do so frequently in their home communities, pulling together artist, organizer, and maker resources to fashion an updated version of the guild network …The emphasis within the Workshop spaces will be on experiential learning through hands-on doing…in order to turn the fruits of one’s imagination into action in the world, new skills often need to be acquired. Whether it’s as ancient as sewing or weaving, or as modern as programming digital lighting arrays, Burners enthusiastically embrace new skills to make their art installations, theme camps, or other projects bigger and better.


Detail view of Man mechanism, looking up (Rendering by Andrew Johnstone)

Read the full story here.

It’s not live entertainment, it’s lively centers of creative activity. Some people go for the EDM and molly, some for the sewing lessons. Perhaps the Ministry of Propaganda will be conducting some spin classes.

So what happens when The Man burns? Everyone crowds inside the square plaza? Where are the art cars going to go?

13 comments on “New Details of Man and Base

  1. How about a LEARNING man, where the focus is on people actually thinking and creating *more*, where people share knowledge and are educated about any number of things – whether it be how to build a sex machine, organize an effective NGO (for real, non-borg-related, ahem), build a mini house – think *less* TED talk and more experential/interactive/off-the-wall. I don’t know, but at least it’s better than … turning.

    Or to spoof the turning theme… how about transition. Like werewolves, self-transformation, etc. Anything other than Renaissance plus turning man. I mean come on.

    • Like a project where everyone builds a mini house over the week then raffixes or donates it, or something like that.
      Less been-there turkey legs and turrets… more doing.
      I dunno borg.. a Ren fest is* standard entertainment fare. Good luck dodging tax on that.

  2. Renaissance fair, how boring and formulaic
    … how about, I don’t know, being *creative* and *thinking outside the box*? Like… a futuristic-type exploration of humanity? You know, something about *INNOVATION*! Since thats what they are supposed to be talking about, right?? Sheesh. For people with a cajillion dollars, time on their hands, who are also globe trotters with access to numerous cultures. .. they sure do spit out the ol’ shit. If I was their professor, they would get an F.

    • Engaging and quite a sight, no doubt and no argument there, but so are rodeos, mud wrestling, and Ren Festivals. All of which pre-date BM. Well, I am not absolutely sure about mud wrestling. Anyway, my participation in the renaissance faire communities pre-date BM by almost two decades (1974 vs 1994) and it definitely had a burner-ish component with fire, and present day festivals close with fire dancers. My prior comment was not totally derogatory, but rather a historical reflection based upon personal experience with shark-jumping. Creativity is not exclusive to an event or age, and neither is commercialization. I view both Burner and Renaissance gatherings as being started by rebellious, imaginative, creative, volunteer participants. People attend to be with like-spirits, to have the freedom to behave outside the norm, and the participants want validation that their contribution is a valued gift to the community (sound familiar). Ren Festivals jumped the shark about the time BM began “maturing.” Now it appears to be Borg’s time to capitalizing upon its success, and I don’t have a problem with that. However, just as happened in past cooperative communities that changed to commercial ventures, the nature of the ‘changing’ will alienate the very people that produced the uniqueness of the event. Eventually, the individual sua sponte will be lost. C’est la vie. I have no clue what the future BRC will look like, maybe a pseudo safari-cargo cult vibe, or EDM Fantasy Festival, or an Arts-n-Crafts Fantasy Faire with dust and fire dancing. Whatever it morphs into will always be “very engaging and… quite a sight,” or it will cease to exist. The old guard non-conformists, the creative and the rebellious will find a difference direction that empowers, again c’est la vie. Will I go year or the year after? Maybe not, but I don’t rule it out. I have new pursuits, old friends to share my time with, and new places to explore, such is life. However, I will steal from a Star Trek line and close with “I have been and always will be…” (insert) burner.

  3. OK, besides burn-night sight-lines, this ring of buildings is really stupid. Are they going to let the “workshop” people camp there? I presume not. Then what happens to the workshop space when a particular group is not using it? Is it going to work like a function room at the Holiday Inn? You know, with a schedule and all. Do the workshop people have to install and remove all their workshop stuff? And if the space is dedicated to a workshop for the week, do you really want all that dead time when there is no workshop?

    A town square works because virtually all the shops are open all the time, at least for business hours. Do you go to the square or mall when a particular store/workshop is open? No. You go there as a destination. That’s why most “workshop” spaces or any other activity that is occasional and scheduled are not in things like malls and town squares. The town square thing makes more sense when there are people there doing their thing most of the time.

    Hey, I have an idea! Let people do workshops wherever they like, and have a message board system showing when/where each is. They could configure their space and camp as needed, and when not active it would just be another camp in BRC. …Oh silly me… How can you derive narcissistic supplies if everyone did what they wanted and you did not have to suck up to the Borg to be in their selected workshops. I’ll go away now…

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