Art Cars: Now Chosen by Curators

M&R Photography

Image: M & R Photography, Flickr (Creative Commons)

Over at eplaya, Trilobyte has posted the new rules for Mutant Vehicles.

Have a cool art car? That’s no longer enough. In order to bring it, the Art Czar will have to decide that it fits the aesthetic they desire for the year’s theme – and if you are in good enough standing in your sucking up to BMOrg.

Burning Man 2.0 is about pedestrians and bicycles, not Art Cars and DJs.

2016 MUTANT VEHICLE PROCESS CHANGES

The Department of Mutant Vehicles is moving to a new system for processing Mutant Vehicle applications in 2016.

THE SHORT VERSION
The increased volume of Mutant Vehicle applications (nearly 1000 in 2015) is requiring the DMV to be more selective than ever. Having a vehicle on the playa in the past is no guarantee of
being invited in the future! Put your best foot forward in your application and give us a reason to invite your vehicle to Black Rock City. The Mutant Vehicle application form will be closing earlier than ever this year: Noon (PST) on April 13.

THE WHOLE STORY
In past years, the DMV has invited every vehicle to the playa that met the published Mutant Vehicle requirements. We strove to have an objective process to evaluate each application, focusing on level of mutation – not on quality of the art. It’s important to know that if you think it’s a good idea to art up a Car Leasing from ICL that you catch on the way, think again.

Each Mutant Vehicle application is reviewed by a committee of DMV Hotties, and we strive to reach a consensus agreement on whether the vehicle has met the criteria. Historically the DMV team has reviewed each application shortly after it was received, and responded to the vehicle creator as quickly as possible. Over the years, the Mutant Vehicle Community has steadily “ratcheted up” the bar a vehicle must pass, and we’re now at a point where we require vehicles to be completely mutated – showing little or none of the original base vehicle.

In spite of the stricter requirements, the number of applications has steadily grown, and the number of thoroughly mutated vehicles now exceeds what we can accommodate on the playa. Burning Man is primarily a pedestrian and bicycle city, and only a fraction of burners can bring a vehicle before the playa becomes too crowded with them. Our goal is to enable our creative community of artists making mutated vehicles to show off their creations, while balancing the needs of playa preservation, visual stimulation, and safety.

In response, the DMV is revising how we evaluate applications to bring a Mutant Vehicle to the playa. Rather than considering each vehicle on its own merits, we’re moving to a “curation” model, wherein we will consider each vehicle within the context of all the qualified applications we receive. A vehicle will still be required to meet the published Mutant Vehicle criteria, but that alone won’t guarantee an invitation to bring it to the playa. We will also be looking to invite a balance of different types of vehicles on the playa: large scale sound vehicles, flame effects focused vehicles, small artistic vehicles, large transport vehicles, highly participatory vehicles, etc. We are dedicated to licensing vehicles from projects of all budget levels, not just the most expensively built ones.

We will be looking for vehicles that have good execution of their design concept. We will also be evaluating the originality of a vehicle. There are already quite a number of bar-cars, furniture cars and boats, for example – and that might not be the best design choice for a new vehicle you’re considering. When it comes to larger vehicles, we will be favoring vehicles that have a sterling record for inclusivity when it comes to offering rides to the public.

So…what can you do to maximize the chance of being able to bring your vehicle to the playa this year?

  • Fill out your application thoroughly. Including more detail is better than less.
  • Make sure your application gives us a very clear vision of your vehicle.
  • The application should clearly describe the concept for your vehicle and what you have done or will do to realize that concept.
  • Good photos of both the day and nighttime appearance are necessary – If you’re building a new vehicle that isn’t complete yet, then detailed design sketches are a good alternative to photos.
  • Vehicles desiring a night license need to be detailed about the lighting plan for the vehicle.
  • Mutant Vehicles which align with or comment on Burning Man’s annual theme will be given greater consideration.

Please recognize not every vehicle will be invited. Having brought your vehicle to the playa in a prior year is no guarantee that you’ll get invited again. Your application will be considered in comparison to the other applications we receive. Make sure your application conveys what excited you about building the vehicle in the first place!

In past years, we’ve allowed vehicle creators who were not selected to appeal our decision, and offer up additional details about their vehicle, or change some part of their design. Our new process eliminates appeals, so it’s more important than ever your application be filled out clearly and completely!

Lastly, the deadline for submitting an application will be noon PST on April 13. In past years, we’ve been able to accommodate vehicles that missed the deadline. Because of our new evaluation system, we can no longer do that. So get your vehicle application in early!

Thanks for your time, and we look forward to seeing all of your amazing creative vehicle designs this year. If you have questions, please get in touch with the Burning Man Department of Mutant Vehicles at dmv@burningman.org.

RESOURCES

  • The main DMV webpage is available here
  • The DMV Mutant Vehicle criteria are available here
  • DMV Information on Vehicles for People with Disabilities is here

[Source: ePlaya]

In 2014, the last year we have an AfterBurn report for, there were 600 Mutant Vehicles in Burning Man. So 1000 applications means if you made an Art Car, you have a 60/40 chance of getting it to Burning Man. Basically, flip a coin.

Another Org decision that is just going to make it harder for Burners to plan and get excited about the Burn. They don’t know if their whole camp can go, and now they don’t know if their art car can go either.

It calls into question the entire idea of raising money to invest in an art car, if there is no guarantee it is even going to be permitted at Burning Man – or if it can be turned away on the whim of some faceless groupthink influencer at BMHQ. No appeal, no oversight. That’s it, done – and if you ever want anything approved by them again, placement or an art car or an art project or early access passes or even (gulp!) tickets – you better just shut up and take it.

The series of ticket crises and systems has ended the idea of a camp of friends who would all get together every year at Burning Man; or people arranging to meet each other at a future Burn. Now, it’s pot luck. A lottery. Planning goes out the window, when it all becomes so arbitrary. Unless you have some juice inside the Org, of course. You know people who know people – and they’re the right people.

BMOrg are still trying to figure it out. Hate to break it to ’em, but 10 tickets are really not enough to organize a camp. 5 couples is a pretty small camp – 2 RVs or ShiftPods. I have people contacting me chasing 300 tickets:

Screenshot 2016-01-29 17.48.38

Prepare to get your participation forms in, folks. In about a month, you’ll be able to fill out online questionnaires and applications, so that your process of bring art to Burning Man may finally (possibly) begin…

Heads-up, folks! The various participation forms for the 2016 event will go live on February 24th at noon PST. At that point, you’ll be able to start filling out the questionnaires and applications for your projects. The deadlines vary by project, and are listed below. You don’t have to scramble to get them in the minute the forms open, but you DO need to make sure you fill it out and hit the final submit button BEFORE that deadline.

  • Camp Placement Questionnaire – February 24, 2016 – April 28, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • Mutant Vehicle Application – February 24, 2015 – April 13, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • Disabled Persons Vehicle Application – February 24, 2016 – August 2, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • Art Installation Questionnaire – February 24, 2016 – June 14, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time
  • BRC Media Application – February 24, 2015 – July 21, 2016 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time

[Source: ePlaya]

Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy and DJ Lineups: The Update

"Stereo! That spells trouble - another all night rave!"

“Stereo! That spells trouble – another all night rave!”

The new and improved (?) Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy – starring the Dance Music Zone – has been posted at ePlaya (thanks JV). Loud Art Cars can play music loud outside the Dance Music Zone – but only next to the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock sound camps. This year there are 6 art cars with Level 3 systems.


 

from eplaya.burningman.com:

Burning Man has had a sound policy for a few years now. Those policies are being expanded and clarified in 2015. Mutant Vehicle builders, drivers, and interested people should take a few minutes to read through the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy below…

SOUND POLICY
Mutant Vehicle sound systems are classified into three levels.

  • Level 1: Normal car stereo / average living room (under 90 dB at a distance of 30 feet from the speaker)
  • Level 2: Dance club or theatre (90 dB and up at a distance of less than 100 feet)
  • Level 3: Large dance club, arena, or stadium (100+ dB at a distance of 100+ feet)

(Note: All decibel levels refer to maximum potential dBA.)

The dB levels here are intended as guidelines. What is important is the impact your vehicle’s sound has on your surroundings.

Vehicles with Level 1 systems may play anywhere in Black Rock City, but must be mindful of your volume and surroundings, especially in quieter areas of the City or late at night.

Vehicles with Level 2 systems may only play at high volume on the open playa (not on or pointing right into the city streets) and must be mindful of where you are playing and turn it down when appropriate — e.g. around art pieces, burns, etc.

Vehicles with Level 3 systems may ONLY play at high volume by the Large Scale Sound Camps on the 2:00 and 10:00 sides of the City, with speakers pointing out to the deep playa.

If you get more than two warnings about your sound system, you may lose your Mutant Vehicle license and the right to drive your vehicle for the rest of the event.

DANCE MUSIC ZONE (DMZ): LEVL 3 SOUND MUTANT VEHICLE PARKING

This year we are establishing a deep playa zone where level three mutant vehicles can park for more than 3 hours. The zone will be 5,340 feet from The Man between the 10:30 and 11:15 clock positions with banks of toilets at each end. This distance out follows the arc of Kook Street. The length of the arc is 1,747 feet. Art placement will be modified to accommodate this zone.

The new experimental zone will allow for a longer stay, up to 12 hours as well as provide sanitary stations at this fixed site. The area is large enough for several level 3 sound vehicles to occupy the zone, where their speakers must be turned out and away from the city. The restriction no “encampments” still applies: no camping or setting up speakers or other type of structures on the ground. Of course leave no trace practices must continue.

In this effort we are reacting to the rise of edge cases with a spirit of giving permission whilst supporting all aspects of the community, rather than creating new restrictions.

We hope this experiment is successful in limiting the impact of deep playa gatherings on other members of the community including art installations, sound camps, the temple and other non-partying participants, and that it will additionally promote public safety and sanitation, while holding to our leave no trace principle.


 

[Update 7/21/15 2:37pm]

Thanks to Anonymous Burner for sharing this latest email to the Placement mailing list. BMOrg persist with the public shaming of Mayan Warrior, despite their apologies and the fact that they didn’t actually break any rules, since up until now this has been an unwritten request that BMOrg have tried to keep “on the downlow”.

3.    Announcing DJ Lineups in BRC

Dear artists, organizers and leaders who make Black Rock City what it is,

We’re writing to you with a request. We want you to refrain from pre-announcing and promoting your on-playa DJ lineups, a practice that many sound camps already employ. If you absolutely must announce your lineups ahead of time, we ask that you wait until the week before the event. Here’s why:

As you may be aware, the beloved Mayan Warrior Mutant Vehicle crew recently announced their DJ lineup, much like it was the lineup for an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival all its own. (They have since taken the lineup down from their website, which we appreciate.) We want to share with you this comment a Burner posted in response to the announcement at Resident Advisor:

“Hey, I really love Burning Man, and I really love music at Burning Man, and as a long-time Burner, I love the artistry behind your car, the sound system, and as always, the people you bring on your car to play.

But releasing a lineup like this, over a month in advance, flies right in the face of the rules and is pretty disrespectful in general. We want to avoid turning Burning Man into an EDM festival, with people hunting for lineups and timeslots. Burning Man is not an EDM festival, or even a music festival. It’s something else, undefineable.”

Even to someone who loves EDM enough to comment on an EDM news site, the practice of posting on-playa DJ lineups causes an upsetting sensation that there’s un-Burning Man-like activity going on. We couldn’t agree more — in fact, for many years, we’ve discretely requested that camps keep their line-ups a surprise. So yes, we feel that sensation, and we bet some of you do, too.

These kinds of promotions create notoriety in a community that doesn’t necessarily share our principles, and specifically commodifies and commercializes artistic experiences. Promotion beyond Black Rock City gets especially uncomfortable when on-playa camps, Mutant Vehicles and events are connected to off-playa commercial enterprises.

Promoting lineups to a worldwide audience is not the same thing as listing an act or an event within the confines of Black Rock City, in resources like the online Playa Events Calendar or the printed WhatWhereWhen guide distributed to participants when they arrive. Those are for reaching people who are already going to be on the playa to let them know what’s going on. They are not intended to build a brand on the merits of an appearance at Burning Man. It’s simply unnecessary to promote beyond ticketed Burners for an experience you’re giving to Black Rock City.

Burning Man is an experiment in temporary community, not a traditional festival like the others. So when our participants post splashy DJ lineups, EDM sites and forums talk about us as though we are, spreading that message far and wide. It can also add to an already painful ticket scarcity issue — we don’t want to artificially drive up demand for tickets that aren’t available, and the attraction of big-name DJs can also drive up the price of after-market tickets.

Burning Man doesn’t have “headliners”. We pride ourselves on that. Burners don’t follow anyone else to Black Rock City, they go for themselves. Please understand, we don’t have anything against EDM, an art form whose vibrant community has made great contributions to Burning Man for many years. But we welcome members of the EDM community to come to Burning Man for a different experience than they’re used to: to fully participate in an experiment in a temporary community.

So, while we used to ask this on the downlow, we’ve seen enough instances in the last couple years that we feel the need to formally ask you not to announce your lineups. If you are dead-set on it, OK, but please wait until a week prior to the event before you do so. However, as surprise is great fun, and playa rumors help make things more exciting, we’d suggest that not announcing your lineup at all would be ideal. We’re asking you to listen to this request, think about it, and do what’s right for Burning Man culture. Thank you.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Thank you and stayed tuned!!

Burning Man Creates Dance Music Zone [Updates]

MadMax4set1small

BMOrg have created a new area for art cars with Level 3 sound systems called the Dance Music Zone (DMZ). A mile from The Man, between 10:30-11:15 & K. They will be setting up portapotties at each end of the DMZ – so, if you need the toilet at night, head towards the loudest sound system.

Of course, in typical propagandist fashion, they have to tell us that rules aren’t rules: they are giving new permissions, not creating new restrictions. They should just go full Yin/Yang, and create half the party as a music zone, and half the party as a yoga/TED talks/early to bed zone.


from DMV:

DANCE MUSIC ZONE (DMZ): LEVEL 3 SOUND MUTANT VEHICLE PARKING

———————————————————–

This year we are establishing a deep playa zone where level three mutant vehicles can park for more than 3 hours.

The zone will be 5,340 feet from The Man between the 10:30 and 11:15 clock positions with banks of toilets at each end. This distance out follows the arc of Kook Street. The length of the arc is 1,747 feet. Art placement will be modified to accommodate this zone.

The new experimental zone will allow for a longer stay, up to 12 hours as well as provide sanitary stations at this fixed site. The area is large enough for several level 3 sound vehicles to occupy the zone, where their speakers must be turned out and away from the city. The restriction no “encampments” still applies: no camping or setting up speakers or other type of structures on the ground. Of course leave no trace practices must continue. In this effort we are reacting to the rise of edge cases with a spirit of giving permission whilst supporting all aspects of the community, rather than creating new restrictions. We hope this experiment is successful in limiting the impact of deep playa gatherings on other members of the community including art installations, sound camps, the temple and other non-partying participants, and that it will additionally promote public safety and sanitation, while holding to our leave no trace principle.


[Update 7/19/15 2:15pm]

One question: who picks up the MOOP? The Burners, right…but if they don’t? Who’s gonna get the blame?

A consequence of this policy, is there will be no more major parties at art installations on the Inner Playa. No Embrace burn, no Control Tower white party. The Inner Playa is being made more of an EDM-free zone, like the city itself.

All the major mobile sound systems will just have to line up together, pointed away from Burning Man, and compete with each other. The idea of “music and big art being combined” seems to be downgraded by this move.

[Update 7/19/15 8:48pm]

Burner Karl has pointed out that this latest move from BMOrg comes only a few days after Opulent Temple – in response to being denied placement – published an update which mentioned they will throw their annual White Party on Inner Playa around 4 o’clock, near Marco Cochrane’s R-Evolution art piece.

[Update 7/20/15 1:15am]

Thanks to Captain Trips for this reminder. BMOrg’s latest move was suggested by Burners.Me in 2012:

http://burners.me/2012/02/11/burning-man-announces-new-sound-policy-for-art-cars

Why not just have an “Art Car Loud Noise Zone” on Deep Playa. Super-loud art cars are encouraged to go that way. If an art car offends the noise police and has to be punished, rather than taking away their right to drive, put them on the “Naughty Step” and make them stay in the Loud Noise Zone for 24 hours.

Just because you call yourselves “The DMV” doesn’t mean you have to act like The DMV.

[Update 7/20/15 10:42am]

Thanks to Burner Bart for creating this. A picture paints a thousand words!

2015 edm mpa

 

Some Burners have expressed the view that the red text on the map above should also read “for more than 3 hours” – implying that Level 3 systems can play on the Inner Playa for less than 3 hours. BMOrg’s updated Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy shows these claims to be false and misleading. The only places that loud art cars can play loud music are the DMZ and next to the loud sound camps at 10 & 2.

Of course, the art cars are “allowed” elsewhere. They just can’t play their Level 3 systems at Level 3 volumes anywhere else.

 

[Update 7/20/15 3:50 pm]

Mobile sound stages will now be fixed in position, in the Dance Music area. This will make BM less like a music festival, where certain styles of music are playing at certain fixed areas. Ummm, what???

mad_max_4_fury_road_speaker_truck_wtf___2_by_maltian-d5okx0d

Burners Inspire The New Fight Club

kuratas in street

Way back in the early years of this blog, we brought you news of the ultimate art car: Kuratas. A 4-ton, 13-foot tall, $1.3 million art robot, made in Japan.

[Kogoro Kurata, Kuratas Robot Designer]:
“The robots we saw in our generation were always big, always had people riding them. So I don’t think those have much meaning in the real world. But it was really my dream to ride in one of those giant robots, and I think that it’s a kind of Japanese culture. I kept thinking that it’s something that Japanese had to do.”

The creator showed off the Kuratas Robot at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. It is human controlled; from the cockpit, a driver can move the robot’s arms and drive it up to 6.2 miles per hour.

The battle mech is just a prototype, but Kurata’s website is already taking orders. People have options for weapons, shields, and even an iPhone holder. This prototype was armed with Gatling cannons that can shoot BBs.

But don’t break out your wallet just yet. The Kuratas Robot starts at around $1.3 million, and options can send it much higher.

[Wataru Yoshizaki, Kuratas Programmer]:

“If indeed giant robots and cars are being sold at the same price, then I would, of course, choose the giant robot.

[Source: YouTube]

Billionaire's cars have doors that go up, not sideways

Billionaire’s cars have doors that go up, not sideways. I would personally choose this McLaren P1-GTR over the art robot…

kuratas LEGANERD_047979

Well, America have responded with a robot of their own…and thrown down the gauntlet.

megabot-at-makerfaire-1

From megabots.com:

“Finally, after millennia of bullshit agriculture and metallurgy and revolutions industrial, political, cultural, whatever, shit’s finally getting good.” –Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik

 MegaBots, Inc., uses cutting-edge robotics technology to create the giant piloted fighting robots of science fiction, videogames and movies. These robots fight in epic-scale arena combat the likes of which the world has never seen before.

MegaBots are 15-foot-tall, internally piloted humanoid robots that fire cannonball-sized paintballs at each other at speeds of over 120 miles per hour. As the robots battle, armor panels crack and break off, smoke and sparks pour out of the robots, limbs eventually fall off, and robots fall to the ground until only one is left standing.

The giant robots from science fiction are coming.

They sure are. And the big-time Burners at Autodesk are backing it. At least, they put up $2,500 for a design contest:

Winners will walk away with $2,500 cash and your designs built and brought to life by MegaBots. Designs will be unleashed at Bay Area Maker Faire 2015!

I suspect there’s a lot more money on the line here than that. The winners have been picked:

autodesk megabots winner

autodesk megabotsz-63 spectre megabots

Here’s the original challenge from MegaBots:

The team behind SuidoBashi Heavy Industries robot Kuratas has responded to the challenge, and the two robots are going to fight. But, they have one stipulation: a more traditional Japanese “hand to hand” melee battle, rather than the “super-American” Big Fucking Guns (shooting paint cannon-balls).

KURATAS-8

The local team might be getting ahead of themselves. Kuratas looks pretty stable…

kuratas_550

…while the MegaBot team’s efforts are not yet finished:

We’ve built an upper body prototype of a MegaBot, a missile turret adversary, and a walking simulation of a to-scale robot by building off of Andreas Hofmann’s Ph.D. thesis. We’re currently developing a new, tracked version of a MegaBot in partnership with Autodesk in time for Maker Faire Bay Area 2015. Soon, we’ll be designing full-scale walking robots that can compete in arena combat.

The tracks are on in these recent photos. Some reconfiguration will be needed for the melee.

from MegaBot’s debut at SF Maker Faire in May

Image: Mashable

Image: Mashable

Both robots are currently designed to have human operators inside (MegaBot has 2). This may be dangerous when it comes to real melee combat between 4-ton machines.

Mashable reports that the two robots are fairly evenly matched:

MegaBot Mark II is 15 feet tall and rolls around on a pair of giant tank treads. Suidobashi’s mech is 13 feet tall and uses four swiveling wheels.

But there are some big differences. MegaBot Mark II cost about $175,000 to build and weighs 12,000 pounds; Suidobashi’s sells for more than $1 million and is about 9,000 pounds. “[Suidobashi] is about three times faster than we are,” MegaBots cofounder Gui Cavalcanti said. “Their tech is currently more advanced, but we have about a year to catch up. I think it’ll even out.”

The fight will happen in 2016, in neutral territory.

Some readers have mentioned that this story reminds them of the Hugh Jackman movie, Real Steel.

In fact, that movie was inspired by an earlier prototype version of robot boxing, created by Burners at the same art warehouse on Treasure Island where artists like Marco Cochrane and Peter Hudson create their masterpieces.

Even before that, we had the Hand of Man at Burning Man…and other, off-Playa events.

Going back still further, Burning Man Founder John Law and others were part of Survival Research Labs, an arts collective that made use of big robot-like machines in their shows. These early Burners were also the founders of the Cacophony Society, which inspired member Chuck Pahlaniuk to write Fight Club…the secret society Project Mayhem is supposedly based on their antics and secretive, underworld, revolutionary nature.

From the titles of the SRL shows, you get the gist of the sentiment behind this crew: no love and light hippies, here. Early Burning Man featured a lot of flamethrowers, guns, and explosions…before Helco.

Crime Wave

Extremely Cruel Practices

A Bitter Message of Hopeless Grief

A Calculated Foreceast of Ultimate Doom

Illusions of Shameless Abundance

A Plan For Social Improvement (based on achieving complete freedom from the restraints of civilization)

A Million Inconsiderate Experiments

This may have inspired the UK TV series Robot Wars, which started in 1998 and ran for 4 seasons.

Although sort of fun, Roomba fighting is nowhere near as exciting as Giant Freaking Robots. Even an 18 Roomba free-for-all.

google doodle

Google was founded by Burners and is heavily staffed with Burners, from the Chairman and CEO on down. They were the first company to commodify the Burning Man image in their marketing, beating even Girls Gone Wild. Technically, they didn’t “officially” have a business model back then – this technicality seems to set a precedent for any other “pre-revenue” startup that wishes to use Burning Man to similarly promote themselves. Google today are still by far the largest profit-maker from Burner culture, given the lucrative advertising sold whenever anyone is watching Burning Man viral videos on YouTube, talking about BM on GMail, and so on.

Google recently acquired drone maker Titan Aviation, beating off rival Facebook

Google recently acquired drone maker Titan Aviation, beating off rival Facebook

This $360 billion Burner company are also now the largest manufacturer of military robots on the planet, although they’ve been tight-lipped about their plans. They are launching their own balloons and drones to create an Internet in the Sky.

When it comes to the other side of SkyNet, the A.I. that connects all the drones and bots together, Google already have by far the most advanced artificial intelligence. One flavor of this is currently captivating the Internet with its twisted dreams.

IMG_0308

Image via Hugh Jorgen, Facebook

Recently they “fed” the AI Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas (the movie)…teaching it how to trip.

loathing-gif21

Elon Musk described current Artificial Intelligence efforts as like “summoning the demon in a pentagram”.

Already, robots are killing us.

This is all becoming very real, very fast.

This documentary about AI and robotics is dated May 2015:

Soon we may have robot jousting – or robot polo. Or both. But I’m tipping the knight-to-knight combat will draw a bigger audience than robots pushing a ball around.

Liquid Metal is now real

Liquid Metal is now real

The new Terminator 5 movie just opened (weakly). Like 1984 and Brave New World, the Terminator series has proved to be amazingly prescient over the 3 decades since it was launched – in 1984. Much of what was science fiction then, is starting to become real today. 2015 is the year in “the Future”, that Michael J Fox went back to. His famous hoverboard was quite recently an amusing farce with Tony Hawk and then became a real product with Tony Hawk and now is being promoted by Lexus as a “coming soon” product.

Like Mad Max (also about to get a Part 5), the Terminator franchise is older than either Burning Man or the Web. And SkyNet is older than all of the above.

sp oculus riftIt seems like Kiwi (these days) James Cameron’s other franchise Avatar is priming us for the next revolutionary world. Virtual reality has been building for a long time, and Burning Man has long been immersed in it. They launched their own online world in Second Life in 2003 called Burn 2, and Second Life founder Philip Rosedale said he was inspired to create it by Burning Man. Counter-culture guru Timothy Leary called VR “the new LSD“. VR pioneers like Mark Pesce, Howard Rheingold and Jaron Lanier are Burners. Rheingold wrote a book called Virtual Reality and coined the term “Flash Mobs” after street theater activities organized by Burning Man small-f founder Flash Hopkins. More recently, the Microsoft Holo Lens is being created by a Burner-led team.

The cyberspace Regional Burn2 is coming up soon…July 10-12. The theme is “Primordial – a Playa Before Time”

Primordial-Conception2015poster4-blog

With all the money being spent lately on 3d Facebook immersive realms and self-driving cars and household robot helpers that care and life-like sex dolls... giant fighting war robots probably make a good business case to someone. Hey, there are already 42 different robots you can fuck. Fucking and punching is what it’s all about, as Californication fans know.

Robot UFC, bring it on! I’d rather we train these AIs on each other, than testing on humans or animals. However, methinks there is more behind the construction of these things that mere sports and entertainment. Check out this piece at Jay’s Analysis for an interesting perspective on where it’s all come from and where it may be going.

The biggest walking robot in the world looks like some of our Mutant Vehicles…

Image: Arin Fishkin/Flickr

Davina the Dragon. Artist: Christian Breeden Image: Arin Fishkin/Flickr

Gon Kirin Dragon Art Car Image: Becky Stern/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Gon Kirin Dragon Art Car Image: Becky Stern/Flickr (Creative Commons)

If ever there was an arena suitable for robot melee training, it’s the Playa. Just add flamethrowers!