DonnieBurno wrote: ↑
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:27 am
However, convenience is relative and is affected by numerous outside factors which creates very real ambiguities that the BRC Cultural Direction role players are probably aware of, for example:
1) Burners should set up their own accommodations (tents) to experience what it is like to become part of the Playa and ‘survive’ the dust. But people are also allowed to roll-in with their huge and expensive RVs. How do you reconcile the two?
I believe that even the effort of having to drive in an RV, wait in line, and/or arrange for shared accommodations on that RV, creates a useful barrier to entry for many would-be tourists.
What needs to be eliminated is this public impression that Burning Man can be attended by simply booking a flight/bus and a room, flying or busing in, and taking a shuttle to their lodging on playa. That is what you do when you visit Disneyland or Las Vegas.
The process to attend BM needs to be such that it takes personal effort, or significant and special resources, to attend.
2) By allowing cheap bus services to drop a large number of Burners off, the event risks the entrance of people who may not be the best examples of what a “true” Burner should be because they utilised the convenience of the bus service. But people are also allowed to fly into the event with private planes. This raises uncomfortable socio-economic questions.
The problem is not the "royalty" who attend Burning Man, but the nouveau riche/middle class. There will always be rich people attending Burning Man. They are far and few between. Burning Man does not, and should not, democratize that aspect of society.
When an event is easily attended simply for what it would cost to go on a nice Disneyland trip, it becomes too accessible for anyone to attend. The event becomes commodified -- something that can be simply bought.
I am perfectly at ease with people paying $100,000 to attend some Humano camp as long as they don't shit up the place. Quite frankly, Humano's MOOP record was probably the real reason they got kicked out.
What I am more fearful of are relatively cheap PnP lodging camps that appeal to middle class tourist incomes. That's where we start seeing floods of clueless people attending the event like they were going on a European trip.
I also don't care about people who own their own private planes. There are so few people who do that they are an insignificant factor.
There will also be good burners who take the bus or take the planes. All the above isn't to accuse them of being unworthy people. Rather it is to shape what is the outside impression that is going to commodify this event.
3) By stating that it is desirable to be the kind of Burner that brings everything they need to ‘survive’ with them in their cars, where does that leave far-flung Burners who can’t drive their own vehicles, and transport all their large and heavy camping gear to BRC? For example, aren’t the Burners who live in San Francisco, LA or Seattle (350, 550 and 670 miles from BRC respectively) much more ‘conveniently’ located than others? This contradiction is amplified when considering those Burners from other countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, and South Africa etc. Think of the travel expenses of these international Burners and the logistical arrangements that would need to be made to purchase camping gear in the US and then transport themselves and the gear to BRC in comparison to say someone who lives in LA and owns a car for example.
Short answer: deal with it.
Nobody is entitled to have a convenient trip to Burning Man. The entire event is built around survival and lack of convenience. THAT is supposed to be the democratizing aspect of this event. The event is located in an inhospitable location in the middle of a nearly empty region of a sparsely populated state; it lacks nearly any kind of services, resources, etc.; it forbids the sale of anything but ice, coffee, and maybe gasoline; the ground corrodes nearly everything. This was never an event made for people to be able to attend without effort.
Yet people still do, and bravo to them, but that's their own efforts.
Groups of people are also welcome to start up their own regionals, own festivals, etc. in their own locale.
If the new Cultural Direction does not deal with this correctly, these ambiguities and contradictions have the potential to tear the cultural fabric of Burning Man apart. But if the status quo is left to develop unmanaged, the very soul of Burning Man also risks destruction. A very difficult situation indeed.
If we continue to believe that we can, and should, accommodate everyone, we have definitely lost the soul of the event.