Org Envisions The Future With “Visioning Teams”

Popular art installation The Pier is now at Fly Ranch.
Image: Friends of the Black Rock Desert

Has Burning Man become rudderless without the leadership of founder Larry Harvey, who passed away earlier this year? Now that they have a $45 million budget, and a permanent year-round site gifted to them to the tune of about $7 million, are they finally able to…DO something?

Well…YMMV. Perhaps in this Brave New World of Millenials, the better part of a year spent Ideating qualifies as something profound and meaningful, an enormous and courageous action communally performed by all who participate.

The lead post up at the BJ calls for “ideas” from the community to be added to the ideas that they come up with themselves after months of elite visioning, perhaps at Esalen or Flysalen, using the powers of Holacracy and Timothy Leary


A group specifically charged with coming up with a vision! How exciting.

Meanwhile in the comment section, Burners be like: close the airport. Stop selling out our culture. Charge camps for prime placement instead of allocating it through favoritism. Focus on ways to reduce the environmental footprint and waste generated. Stop making it hard for true Burners to participate while encouraging an influx of sparkle pony tourists. Don’t make us wait in line. Make it easier to get tickets.

Sadly, the same things I’ve been hearing – and saying – for many years. BMorg is BMorg, we’ll see what happens…#ComingSoon.

They expect to spend at least a year on this intensive “visioning” process. Partying it up in the solar-powered Russian steam baths at Fly Ranch is no doubt on the agenda.

Burners can donate cool stuff to the ranch like Russian steam baths and solar arrays. Image:

Sign up for a workshop, get naked and tell us all your ideas! Even if you can’t make it to Flysalen, Burners anywhere are invited to spend their time contributing to the visioning.

Here’s how to participate:

Fill out this survey. It will take around 30 minutes to complete. We’ll ask you about city planning, camp size and culture, money and decommodification within camps, and more. If you’ve ever lived in Black Rock City, please fill out the survey. The survey deadline is Thursday November 8 at 11:59 pm PST.

Participate in a community conversation in your area. We’ve partnered with camps and regional communities all over the world to host deeper discussions around these topics and to share notes with the visioning group as qualitative data. These are all happening now until the end of November! Check out the listings by location and thank you to everyone hosting!

Host a community conversation. You can organize your own conversation, using a kit we’ve created that includes suggested discussion format, facilitator tips & tricks, questions to ask, and how to submit the input and feedback to the visioning group. Email us at to request the kit. Schedule a date, time, and location (in person or virtual) and, if you’d like, we’ll add it to the listing above so others can join you. You can also host a conversation with just your camp.

Join the Facebook group. Post the notes from your community conversation in this public Facebook group so others can see all the threads as they develop. Post your individual thoughts after taking the survey in the group or as a comment on this Burning Man Journal post.

Share the survey. Share this post and the survey link widely with your fellow Burners, campmates, and friends. We want to hear from folks who are already tuned in (like you reading this) and from folks who are less tuned in, or perhaps haven’t been to Black Rock City in a while.

Stay tuned. We have some ideas for future virtual engagement, and participation opportunities at events like the 2019 Theme Camp Symposium.

This is community-wide engagement. That means this vision won’t reflect any one individual’s feedback. The visioning group will analyze the input gathered, keep you informed, and provide feedback on how our community’s input influences the eventual vision of this project. This visioning group will meet regularly through spring 2019, and we’re excited to see how this effort evolves.

With the 10 Principles in mind and our best intentions as heart, we’re confident we can set a clear path for Black Rock City’s future.


Of course there’s a survey. Detailed profiling of all participants is a big part of Burning Man’s raison d’etre. You may want to make sure your VPN is turned on before you check it out.

I have highlighted some of the comments in response to the original post. I put JV’s first because he’s a regular here, and as in most cases I agree with him. Read them all for yourself here


Here’s an idea for you, BMorg. Throw Full Moon parties at Fly Ranch. Invite specific camps to come to each one, encourage mixing between the camps on a smaller scale than Black Rock City. Everyone gets to know each other like in the good old days (or Juplaya). Ask each camp to leave a permanent art contribution to the ranch. Offer art car storage with mechanical/electronic/paint services. Get all the art cars there, art cars bring crews who can bring crowds – or not, depending on what is needed to advance the cause. After a couple of years, you will have a enough energy there for a year-round community to thrive. Sell tickets to everyone to fund it. I mean, not that nature walks aren’t swell, but you can still offer that. We’re Burners, we don’t go all the way out there just for nature walks. Party in the hot springs? Now you’re talking…

Here’s a bonus one: spend some of that massive cash surplus you’re sitting on to purchase some trash compactors. We need to have recycling and waste management on the site, it’s not fair to the local community or environment that they should pay the price for Burner waste.


5 comments on “Org Envisions The Future With “Visioning Teams”

  1. I disagree that BMORG should provide waste management. I’m not kidding when I say that my favorite thing about BRC is the absence of public trash cans. It forces people to think about what they walk around with and, in extension, what they bring to the playa in the first place.

  2. I’ve warmed to plug-and-play over the years. It’s really the only way I would ever go back to Burning Man, if I didn’t have to do anything. I’d probably just sit in camp all week and bang the help. Yes, keep the airport open because I’m not mixing with those assholes during exodus.

    I tried to complete the survey but had to stop when they asked if I spit or swallow. Why do they need to know that? These BM surveys are always so perverted. I get the whole free-love vibe, but what I do in bed is my business.

    • I tried to fill out the survey also. But they didn’t have a category for how I identify myself. I found that offensive. For the last 5 years I’ve identified as an albino sea urchin. We are very rare and we are oppressed. It’s insensitive of the Burner community to exclude us. I have been triggerered since last Tuesday.

  3. I am in agreement with the comment by JV, it is a good summary of what is occurring. I do not remember whom penned the comment in the manner of ‘first, the BMOrg listens intently, then shows sympathy, then has intense discussions, then restates rules disguised as action’, this comment is most appropriate towards what is occurring. And, sympathy towards numerous members of the Burner community in regards of the horrible fires within California.

    My belief is there is much behind the BMOrg scenes driving their decisions, of which, the Burner community is not of the knowledge. At present, NOW in due of their prior statements, the five founders of the Burning Man Project, and whomever Larry desired, are gaining the second part of their massive cashout, the payments, from the BMP, to buy the Burning Man ™ trademarks from them. I do not know what is the rationale of their continued desire of $45 million of revenue of each burn, and their embrace of the plug and play camps, after the second part of their cashout might be paid, but my belief is it is in due of the Fly Ranch Project.

    Queries in regards of this are below, my belief is the queries may be answered by information within the Burning Man Project Board minutes, now, of which, the BMP bylaws state any person is of the ability to walk into the BMP headquarters, within usual business hours, purposed to view, and copy, the BMP board minutes. Might any Burner, or reporter, desire to do so, guest posts are most welcome on

    a) In the big meeting in San Francisco on 1 April 2011, in regards of the plan to convert Burning Man to a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, Larry stated

    ‘In May, he said the LLC will file papers to create the nonprofit, which will initially be run by the current board members and at least seven more directors selected by that board. In about three years, depending on how the new nonprofit forms up, the LLC will turn over management of Burning Man, while holding onto control of the logos and trademarks for another three years after that, Harvey said. And that’s when the six board members will officially cash out.’

    The three years was changed to five years, which is of the meaning of they are to be paid for their owned Burning Man ™ trademarks and other IP of the history of Burning Man NOW, in due of the end of 2018 is five years after the conversion of Burning Man to the Burning Man Project, might not all six founders of the Burning Man Project vote against doing so, and might the other BMP board members vote to buy the Burning Man ™ trademarks from the six BMP founders.

    My belief is of the yearly BMP board meeting, electing the BMP officers, and new BMP board members, and voting upon other items, is the weekend of the Artumnal, of which it is to occur upon 17 November, of the $500 per person fundraiser, when all BMP board members are in San Francisco. The BMP bylaws state of all items to be voted upon are sent to the BMP board members two weeks prior of the meeting, thusly, the amount to be paid towards the BMP founders is within the BMP board minutes NOW.

    Comments have been penned in regards of there is an account of two million dollars, each year, from 2013 to 2018, of which, Burners are not of the knowledge. Might this be an escrow account of ten million dollars purposed towards buying the Burning Man ™ trademarks from the six BMP founders? Or, might unexpected actions occur, might the BMP board vote to change the name to Flaming Dude, in the manner Yosemite changed numerous names in the place of paying for trademarks owned by others?

    b) Larry was the Chief Philosophic Officer of the BMP, setting the philosophic directions of the BMP, and of the Burning Man event. The BMP bylaws were penned towards the purpose of Larry, and Marian, to be within near to total control of Burning Man, and the BMP. The discussions, of the community, in regards of the cultural direction of Burning Man are useless in due of Burners are not of the knowledge of whom is doing the decisions of the philosophic, and cultural, direction of Burning Man, and the BMP. Whom, at present, is the Chief Philosophic Officer of the BMP, and whom is the BMP Board to vote for the Chief Philosophic Officer for 2019? My belief is the answer to this query is within the BMP board minutes NOW.

    In addendum, the BMP bylaws state of the Chief Philosophic Officer has the power to evaluate, and propose towards the BMP board, ventures, and joint ventures, of which, it permitted Larry to be in control of the Fly Ranch Project. Whom is the Chief Philosophic Officer?

    c) Larry was the Executive Director of the BMP. The BMP bylaws state of the Executive Director, in addendum of the BMP lawyer, and a little number of employees, of whom, it is easy peasy to fire might they not obey Larry, is in control of all subsidiary corporations of the BMP, thusly, Larry was in near to total control of the Burning Man event, in due of the Burning Man event is controlled by the Black Rock City LLC subsidiary corporation. My belief is Larry, in addendum, was in control of the Burning Man Arts subsidiary corporation, doing decisions in regards of the little amount of cash paid towards the artists having the opportunity to have art near to the Google headquarters, and other Art Budget Shenanigans. The BMP bylaws state of no other BMP board members are of the power to do any oversight of the subsidiary corporations, of which, that is their purpose within most organizations, but Larry termed it interfering in his business. Whom is the Executive Director of the BMP, and whom is to be voted the Executive Director of the BMP for 2019, whom is in control of the Burning Man event?

    d) The BMP bylaws are the constitution of the BMP, the bylaws state whom is within control, and whom does the decisions. In due of Larry passing, and in due of issues in regards of other BMP founders, the bylaws are most in need of being re-penned. Their original rubbish statements, in regards of Burning Man converting to a 501(c)3 BMP, were to empower the awesome Burner community to control the direction of Burning Man for the next one hundred years. But, the BMP bylaws were penned to state the Burner community has no authority, and of Larry, and Marian, do not have to listen to the desires of the Burner community, of the least. What might Burners desire to be included within the new bylaws? Perchance, might the bylaws be re-penned to officially empower the artists, the Burning Man representatives through the world, and others within the Burner volunteer community, have the power to set the philosophic direction of Burning Man? Ha ha, I make a funny. Might re-penned BMP bylaws be voted upon within the BMP board of directors meeting and what might be stated within the new bylaws?

    e) The cultural direction of the Fly Ranch project, in addendum, is hidden from the Burner community. The rubbish statements in regards of the Fly Ranch project are in regards of it is funded through near to $400,000 of donations each year, and the BMOrg requested of what might the Burner community desire upon the Fly Ranch? A better query is of whom are the venture partners of the Fly Ranch project, whom is doing the decisions in regards of the Fly Ranch project, and what is the rationale of the BMP not funding the Fly Ranch project? Might it be in due of conflicts of interests of the five founders of the BMP whom are in management of the BMP? The original plan for the Fly Ranch project, Flysalen, within 2011, was for near to sixty ‘homesteads’ to be sold to fund the Fly Ranch project. My belief the Leonardo’s Workshop theme of 2016 was in due of the philosophic direction of the Fly Ranch project, of masters owning the workshops, and of apprentices to the masters, and in the manner Larry stated in regards of the theme, it is time to have a conversation about money. Might this be the rationale of why the BMOrg embraces plug and play camps?

    Bear Kittay, within his awesome Tribute to Larry and discussion of the plan for Fly Ranch, within which he states:

    And it was in the 11th hour as the funding and acquisition became a reality that I had my moment with Larry, pleading with him to, for the sake of his legacy, commit to more inclusive process and governance design that would demonstrate Fly Ranch as a V2 for Burning Man. A laboratory to prototype the future of human civilization and bring the processes, best practices and of course, magic of Burning Man to the world at large. We didn’t see eye to eye, …

    In the manner I priorly stated, the purpose of my comments, and penning these queries, are to assist the awesome Burner community towards being treated in a fair manner by the BMOrg. My belief is the Burner community should have official power, within the Burning Man Project, in due of their contributions to the Burning Man event, and the regional events, and the BMOrg should pay most of the costs of the awesome artists from ticket sales, in the place of paying solely a small amount of the costs, the BMOrg should pay all DPW workers whom are upon the playa for more than a week, and the BMOrg should treat the volunteers, and all the theme camps whom contribute to the Burning Man event, in a fair manner.

    • You raise some great questions here ABP. They created a unique organization where the Ten Principles are enshrined in the bylaws. This has already been used to kick director Jim Tananbaum off the board. The corporate documents also specifically reference this Chief Philosophic Officer – with Larry gone (and Barlow – RIP to both), who is it? I nominate Stewart Brand, or failing that Stuart Mangrum.

      I suspect Bear’s frustration in the disconnect between Vision and Reality when the rubber really was hitting the road and millions of dollars were changing hands, was not so much Larry’s fault as a reflection that these were never just Larry’s decisions to make.

      The question of transfer of intangible assets from Decommodification, LLC back to the charity remains unanswered…of course.

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