Major violation of the 'Decommodification' principle?

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fciron
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Major violation of the 'Decommodification' principle?

Post by fciron » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:25 am

http://www.cnbc.com/id/32626011

Has anybody else seen this press release on CNBC?

Ola Loa, LLC makes a vitamin/hydration drink mix and they just issued a press release about being carried at the Center Camp cafe. They are very careful not to say that they are an 'official' supplier or even say that they've been chosen by anyone, so it's probably not Larry Harvey selling out. Frankly, I don't care if they donated five tons of the stuff to the Cafe, that kind of press release is still bullshit. I hope BMOrg is lawyering up on that. Any word on this from the LLC would be nice, KTHNXBAI.

What next? "Strickland Propane is proud to be supplying liquified natural gas explosive power to the art installations of the mega festival Burning Man!!!"

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Post by Dork » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:06 am

Newbies "often require hospitalization" due to dehydration? Does sitting in the med tent for an hour count as hospitalization? I'd be surprised if their contract with the LLC actually allows for this type of press release. If it does, expect them to change next year.

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Another press release example from Voxbone

Post by Muffin » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:53 am

Voxbone Provides iNum Numbers for Calling and Texting at Burning Man Event
http://bit.ly/195qC4

"BRUSSELS, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- As more than 50,000 people converge in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada this week at Burning Man, Voxbone will showcase how iNum enables wireless calling and texting to such isolated areas."

"We are showcasing how iNum can be used to connect remote or unconnected areas of the globe with the rest of the connected world, using cell phone infrastructures such as OpenBTS," said Voxbone CEO Rod Ullens.

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Post by goathead » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:23 am

So do they stay operating now or shut down?

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Post by FrankA » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:17 am

I have a feeling that those phones are the ones that are mentioned in this thread..

http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic.php?t=30625

When I originally read that thread I thought the conditions would provide a good test market for new technology. Note the coincidental 10k number.

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Post by fciron » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:35 pm

Ah, this is where things get weird. We don't criticize artists or DJs for putting BM on their resumes. Vinay Gupta uses BM as a testing ground for the hexayurt which is funded research. (He has gotten funding from the Dept. of Defense, which is an awesome way to finance your trip home.) Are they doing anything fundamentally different from the drink co. or the phone company?
How does an art collective, like the Flaming Lotus Girls, distinguish itself from a small business?
Could the BMorg insist on non-profit status for participating projects , while remaining a for-profit corporation?

The sheer size and reputation of the event are going to cause stuff like this to happen more frequently. The recent kerfuffle with the EFF getting upset about the photo policy is an example from a different direction. Attempting to clamp down on people or businesses using their BM experience is just the sort of thing they're upset about.

I have heard a lot about the event going through a sea change around 1995. I suspect that we are entering another period of transition: if the event changed in '95 to deal with it's emergence from the underground, then it is going to have to change now to deal with its entry into the mainstream.

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Post by LeChatNoir » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:37 pm

Well said.
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Post by fciron » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:58 pm

Oh, LeChat.

When I saw that you had responded I hoped that I would be able to read an eloquent and thoughtful exposition on the difference between crass commercialism and reasonable self-promotion.

The more I think about it the more I get stuck. Does a non-profit become excessively commercial if one person gets a full time job? How is being paid to set up your BM art at Coachella any different from being paid to set up your cellular network at Coachella? Can you list BM on your resume as long as you don't send out a press release about it? Can you still send out a press release if it's for a fundraiser to build the art?

Can we find an even more hostile desert to hold the event in? Maybe a jungle? Would it even matter?

Do I have to worry about being commercially exploited every time I join in some participatory art or accept a drink?

Do we trust the LLC to exercise its control over the BM name and squelch uses that they don't like. What if they want to squelch me?

I think that we are going to have to accept larger and larger organizations, for-profit and non-profit, putting BM on there resumes. The thing we have to figure out is how to preserve the experience at the event. It will require a lot more than a lack of corporate logos on the playa if we are hearing about their success at BM for the other 51 weeks of the year.
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Post by karine » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:09 pm

I say - keep posting links and everything you see "advertised" RIGHT HERE, that'd be a good way to start to help.

(and of course, a little action/ attention / follow through perhaps in about a week or so)... when the desert is a little less crowded... ;)

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Post by fciron » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:14 pm

Well, yeah. This week isn't the best. I got the link from Everyman and he's posted it out to all the regional contacts, so someone in the BMorg ought to see it next week sometime.
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Post by LeChatNoir » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:18 pm

Fciron, I think that post may have been the shortest one I’ve ever had here. Some sort of milestone?

Heh

So let us explore this a bit.

The only way I’ve been able to make sense of such things in my own mind is to boil it all down to the intention behind the action. This leaves little room for generalizations, though I guess. Each action must be examined down to its root (or at least a far as possible for the time you have to invest) to determine for yourself what the intention behind it was, is or might have been. An often exhausting undertaking.

For instance:
Does a non-profit become excessively commercial if one person gets a full time job?
A person who starts a non-profit to give themselves an easy job while people underneath carry the weight is different from a person who starts a non-profit to give themselves a job in order to no longer have to scrape by and sweat their bills while championing a passionate cause in the evenings and weekends. This might only be determined by actually getting to know the person or at the very least their public actions and interactions.
How is being paid to set up your BM art at Coachella any different from being paid to set up your cellular network at Coachella?
I don’t’ know about Coachella since, as much as I’d like to go, I’ve never been. However it seems to make no pretensions about it being a commercial thing (please correct me if I am wrong here) and so I’d say there is no difference between being paid to set up art or a cellphone service at Coachella.

But speaking of the same idea applied to Burning Man, I’ve seen a lot of terrific art that has moved me there. Much of it was funded and I think I have no problem with that in most cases. If a person is, through a grant from the Org, able to step back and take a breath, then be freed from some of the financial pressures for a time in order to create a piece of art that moves countless others, then are we all not enriched for it? After all, we all have to eat and the most of us cannot get a consistent meal ticket on our looks. Or at least I can’t.

But cellphone service. If you are given a grant do such a thing and then promote the hardware and software you are using it would be pretty easy for me to think your intentions were not on the level. But on the flipside, I know that Karine appreciated the sat-phone powered phone both during the event in 2006 as Katrina was doing her thing. The guy who borught it set it aside specifically asking that anyone with family in New Orleans be allowed to use it before anyone else and he dropped the requested two minute voluntarily time limit for them as well.

However

Paid is a key term here I think that may make this question a bit loaded. “Paidâ€
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Post by Bob » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:51 pm

Compared to the *any* art piece, I'd wager a concession at the Cafe hawking bogus health remedies has virtually zero physical or fiscal impact on ticketholders or other users of the public lands you people inhabit for a week.
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Post by spectabillis » Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:55 am

That Darned Cat wrote:.. and that people are beginning to form a multi-tiered sort of thing where the public playa is shown one thing and there is another more private side which is opened only to choice others.
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Post by fciron » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:33 pm

LeChat,

Nicely said.

I think you may have misunderstood the Coachella question. I see lots of pictures of art at Coachella that originally appeared on the playa. So the question is "How is getting paid to set up my art that premiered at BM different from getting paid to set up my cell phone network that premiered at BM?"

I think that your focus on cameras is pretty accurate. Neither the cell phone project nor the drink press release would have happened if the eyes of the world were not already on us.
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Post by karine » Wed Sep 02, 2009 7:39 pm

Art is art when YOU SAY it is art.
Fine Art is art when other artists (& scholars eventually) agree it is art.

Burning Man was a temporary autonomous zone which now has grown - Today, exposing your potenital there can now be received on an international scale. Of course that attracts a lot of attention, and *yes* there are dangers of commodification... but the fact that it IS a week long life experience that accepts EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST I think needs to be preserved, protected & available forward.

Coachella is a different type of "gallery" or setting perhaps.
Doesn't seem to have as lofty of goals... definitely not on the same bus.

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Post by fciron » Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:53 pm

Thanks, Karine. You've moved the discussion into one of solutions rather than problems.

For the time being we don't actually have to worry about the fuzzy line between good and bad uses of Burning Man experience. That will be made more clear if we can define the things that make Burning Man important and some ways to we keep them intact?

When I first heard about Burning Man the Drive-By Shooting Range held an almost iconic status, but now there is no driving for most participants and certainly no guns. Yet the Man burns on.

The real question is why the three of us, less than an hour apart, are having a conversation hosted by a server a couple of thousand miles away? :twisted: (I assume this is going through SF somehow.)
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Post by karine » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:02 pm

I think it's pretty close to 2,200 miles to the playa from here... but OUR signal has to bounce off a satellite, so that's even b e t t e r !

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Post by fciron » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:05 pm

Hell, when you put it that way it's almost better than being on the playa.

....not. :cry:
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Post by karine » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:09 pm

oh, don't cry... Burning Man will be back next year!

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Post by spectabillis » Thu Sep 03, 2009 7:36 am

fciron wrote: That will be made more clear if we can define the things that make Burning Man important and some ways to we keep them intact?
thats like trying to indoctrinate 'culture,' which can be done, but not by you because its privately corporate owned despite everyones expectation its a community. so its probably better to view it religiously - where things are doctrinated through teachings and texts, with a loosely developed hierarchy and proceedure on giving legiitamacy to apply interpretations and teachings.


but back to the violation of principle - personally i see little difference between this commercial drink thats given the opportunity for product endorcement, and the previous green themed pavillion showcases.

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Post by fciron » Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:59 am

SB, I like the religious analogy, because it is, as you said, a private corporation that runs the whole shebang. However, just like religion, I need to figure out how it fits into my life and, if it's not meeting my needs or desires, what other religions are available. :wink: I also hope that the decision makers will take the opinions of the lay-people into consideration.

2008 was my first burn, so I missed the green pavilions. As I said earlier, if the drink folks or phone folks are violating the principles then there is a problem with artists who have been doing much the same thing for years. It is mostly a matter of scale.
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Post by spectabillis » Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:54 pm

first was 2008!?


then i dont understand the conflict. you're exactly what the borg has come to appreciate to replace jbs sick veterans like me - fresh blood not having to indoctrinate with all that pretentious principal stuff, and much lower expectations.

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Post by fciron » Thu Sep 03, 2009 5:38 pm

Yeah, I'll get to right to work on that lower expectations thing. :-p
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Post by LeChatNoir » Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:41 pm

Heh Heh
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Post by spectabillis » Thu Sep 03, 2009 8:33 pm

its easy.

just sit back and enjoy the party, afterall, you should expect to be well entertained for dropping a few bills per ticket. hell man, go all out and rent an rv then pay a village for all your needs and meals. make sure the rv has directv and an xbox though... and bring a camera, you definately need that for critical tits. condoms, booze, and extra cash for drugs because thats the best way to get laid.

i would tell you to bring out your atv and string some el-wire to it, but the dmv cant be bribed anymore. have to do something stupid, like volunteer for dpw or something. but the good thing about volunteering for certain groups is privelage since you helped build and run the damn place.

i mean really, fuck the principals and all that hippy community crap. who the fuck do those people think they are trying to push thier lame morality and beliefs on you, you're just there to have a good time.

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Post by LeChatNoir » Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:23 am

spectabillis wrote:but back to the violation of principle - personally i see little difference between this commercial drink thats given the opportunity for product endorcement, and the previous green themed pavillion showcases.
The difference I see between the two are that the name of the drink is mentioned, by the company certainly, but probably at Center Camp Cafe as well, else it might be difficult to let people know that it is available. But I do not recall any manufacturer's name from any piece of equipment or technology around the "Green Pavilion" thingy. I actually learned a bit from the Pavilion but I've been bringing my own drink stuff for years.

Center Camp turns me off anymore, really. I guess it's because of the Cafe. I bought coffee a few times my first year, and maybe once my second. Otherwise I've just passed through for the most part. When several different people told me that the tips were kept by the volunteers, it really went in the face of why I liked the whole event. Now I just stay away for the most part.
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Post by spectabillis » Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:17 am

i may be wrong on this because i tried my best to avoid it, but showcasers were allowed the same press coverage and association. (and in agreement with the cafe, never purchased anything, and only been in it once.)

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Post by Muffin » Fri Sep 04, 2009 9:06 am

Giant Aerial Marijuana Bud Banner to be flown over Man
http://bit.ly/2KmFB

SEATTLE, Sept. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- On the day that the Man burns at the
legendary Nevada Burning Man event this year in the Black Rock Desert,
partiers will see a giant marijuana bud banner flying overhead.

The huge banner, which has already flown over Seattle Hempfest and San
Francisco, features a glistening marijuana flower, along with lettering that
asks the question "Want Big, Sugary Buds?"

The controversial banner is the brainchild of Michael "Big Mike" Straumietis,
co-founder of international hydroponics nutrients manufacturer Advanced
Nutrients.

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Post by LeChatNoir » Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:33 am

spectabillis wrote:i may be wrong on this because i tried my best to avoid it, but showcasers were allowed the same press coverage and association. (and in agreement with the cafe, never purchased anything, and only been in it once.)
You know, you're right… I remember now that the manufacturers did mention this before and after the event in various media outlets.

And with aerial advertising now apparently happening. Jeez…

It’s not that there is such a big base to advertise to out there. +/-50,000 people going out to the desert isn’t big market share. But +/-50,000 people going out to the desert does peek the interest of the eyes of the world which is a big market share. Product pushing by association, I guess.
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Post by spectabillis » Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:59 pm

for a short period, early 2000's i think, there was the tendency for some people to self-regulate the commerce thing by contacting the company involved how they felt about it and what bman was about. i guess the belief was the business would realize it was actually a disadvantage to directly associate thier business to bman, rather than an opportunity.

dont think the word really got out to avoid it, and maybe the saying that "even negative controversy is free advertising" is right.

but .. sky banners... great.

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