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?

Re-Writing History for the Banksters

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 Lorenzo Mediciwith 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.