Problem of Vanishing Street Signs after the Man Burns - WTD?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
butterscotch
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Problem of Vanishing Street Signs after the Man Burns - WTD?

Post by butterscotch » Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:32 pm

After the man fell... it was disorientating...

Problem:
Having Most of the Street signs stolen (souvenirs?) right after the Man fell made it even more so.

<Tired + Ecstatic + Possibly drunk/other = Death to directional abilities>

Our groups had a heck of a time turning down the right streets/finding events without those signs for the rest of the time there.

Possible Solution(s):

-Asking people/publishing online and in the Survival book to Please not steal the road signs.
Most of the people I met was very respectful of people's safety/sanity. Knowing that keeping these signs up would help with that could help protect them.

-Maybe have a "Please do Not Steal this Sign (until Monday night?)" message on them.

-Having temporary signs ready to put up just in case?

-Or maybe asking if you see a close-by crossing without a road sign to put up your own. Saw a few terrific home-made setups.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks!
~Aimless

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Tancorix
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Post by Tancorix » Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:47 pm

What ever happened to radical self-reliance? How about looking at the camps around you, getting to know the city and it's layout and learning about your surroundings so you don't get lost? The theme camps on the Esplanade for the most part stay up until Sunday or Monday and surely people can count ring streets. Or look for landmarks like the AEZ tower and other things to get your bearings! And when all else fails do what others did this year...make your own signs and post them...which in a few cases looked even better than the swiped ORG made stuff. The last time I checked the event was about radical self-expression and art..so why not make your own fucking signs? Or post stuff at the corners indicating where various camps are located? The street signs and posts have a lot of untapped potential for art....

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Ivy
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Post by Ivy » Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:13 pm

I actually thought about making replacement signs and putting them up after the originals had been taken as a possible personal project next year.

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Post by Hotspur » Wed Sep 08, 2004 9:56 pm

Yeah... how hard is it to figure out what street you're on (to within at least half an hour) if you've been in BRC for at least a few days.

Or you could, you know, ask a stranger. Interaction with other citizens! Crazy, I know, but there's hardly any time of night when you won't see somebody awake.

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Post by Dork » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:34 pm

It's not something that's likely to be stopped any time soon. If anything is to be done, I'd suggest putting up cardboard/sharpie signs BEFORE the man burns.

As far as finding your way home, it is pretty hard to do even when the signs are there on burn night. There's so much crazy shit going on, some people pack up to leave already so the landmarks change, installations are put away so the people running them can go watch the burn, etc.

You're right... asking around is the best way to go. I had lots of people ask me what street they were on and I was happy to tell them. If I knew.

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Post by Sensei » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:35 pm

Ivy wrote:I actually thought about making replacement signs and putting them up after the originals had been taken as a possible personal project next year.
I had the same notion. A little cardboard, a Sharpie and a killer stapler and you're in business. Thousands would thank you.

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Post by PantyMechanix » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:41 pm

Haven't you found yet that the thing about the playa is, if you try to find it, them or your way it won't happen. Forget about it and it will come to you. The signs are just part of the illusion. Not so well said, but maybe you get me?

butterscotch
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Post by butterscotch » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:42 am

Great ideas and comments all.

Hmm... Some of us (that includes me) - Usually have poor directional sense. I felt on Sunday and Monday most of the people I asked for directons were as confused as I was. (e.g. Well you just need to walk toward... erm... no... that doesn't seem to be there anymore... heh).

I would love to get together with like-minded people to create cardboard (and the like) signs for before & after the man burns.

Was thinking that maybe necklaces for virgins that read: My camp is at (blank) & (blank). Please return me there if I get lost... (or something for the like) would make for another good project.

Sincerely,
~Aimless

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Yea

Post by Valhalla » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:50 am

That was a small problem for me. I was really drunk on night after the burn, and I decided to take a turn down the backstreets when I had never been. Not knowing where I was, no street signs ,no nothing....But somehowI got through it. Why not wait till sunday night at least!!!
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Kiba
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Alternate interpretation

Post by Kiba » Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:57 am

Before BM I had been told that the signs would be missing, though I was never told that they were stolen. I was under the impression that after the Man burned (or perhaps the temple) that the signs were deliberately removed. The symbolism behind it is (allegedly) that we no longer have individual addresses on the playa, but that the whole playa is our home. Our tents were still there, so we had our own place to sleep, but that BM became one enourmous camp as opposed to many tiny camps.

But that's easier for me to say, because I spent the entire first night familiarizing myself with landmarks and sights because a few individuals tented up in front of where my camp had corded off, and I couldn't find my tent until sunrise. Suffice to say, it was a long cold night (I was not properly dressed either), but I got through it in the end. From that experience I gained the insight that 'lost' is a frame of mind. Had I spoken to and been willing to hear others, I would have either found my camp or found a loving indivual who could have helped me in some way. If I'd thought 'I don't know where I am' instead of 'Oh sh**, I'm lost' things might have been different, but then I wouldn't have learned anything.

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Post by Kiba » Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:58 am

Quick note: Special thanks to the guys who set up the giant match at 3:30 and Neptune! You guys were a life-saver for those intoxicated. ^_^

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Post by Rob the Wop » Thu Sep 09, 2004 9:48 am

This whole thread is kind of funny in a way. Back in the old days <waving cane wildly>, you found out where you were because you deliberately thought of this before heading out. People would set up light towers or other unique landmarks themselves to guide their way back to their camps. This was before there were street signs. Part of that whole self-reliance thing, which wasn't really called out until much later. Things just weren't there, so you made do with what you could. Now people are so used to street signs/center camp coffee/etc. that it seems removing them leaves folks in a stupor.

Expect the street signs to be stolen. Further expect any replacements to be stolen. Eyeball unmistakable landmarks and determine where your camp is in relation to them prior to heading out. Make your own coffee. Carry a small flashlight or glowstick in case you can't see the streets. Etc.
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Re: Problem of Vanishing Street Signs after the Man Burns -

Post by HughMungus » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:46 am

Mark the signposts with the street locations in paint in addition to the actual signage itself.
It's what you make it.

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 09, 2004 11:34 am

Being a vehicle responce medic for two years makes me want to give the entire playa a lecture on the importantce of the "Golden Hour."
However,
my sock is right. There is something tremendously important to be learned in those moments after the signs are taken. Not only is the map not the territory, but the territory itself shifts and changes. It's true in all our lives (rumor has it that that what Gertrude meant when she said "There's no there there") but it's truer on the playa. And one of the wonders of BM is that those sorts of things that we can ignore at will in camp reality leap into our faces when we are on playa.

We finally found an issue where I might say: That's going to far in the Disney Direction. . .

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PetsUntilEaten
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Post by PetsUntilEaten » Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:24 pm

SIGN STEALING

PROS:
• you get to ask people where you are
• you can look for landmarks you know
• you will finally make that tall blinky landmark sign
for your camp next year
• you get to make your own newer/cooler street signs
• you get to find creative solutions to a problem
• you might get lost
• someone gets something cool to sell on ebay

CONS:
• no quick trips to find friends before they leave town
• lag time on emergency services - when you need it most
• you are reminded that people can be selfish bastards
• you might get lost when you really need to just get back to bed
• you wish you had been there when they did it
so you could throw things at their head
• someone gets something cool to sell on ebay

butterscotch
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Post by butterscotch » Thu Sep 09, 2004 12:29 pm

<Kilba ~ Before BM I had been told that the signs would be missing, though I was never told that they were stolen. I was under the impression that after the Man burned (or perhaps the temple) that the signs were deliberately removed. The symbolism behind it is (allegedly) that we no longer have individual addresses on the playa, but that the whole playa is our home. Our tents were still there, so we had our own place to sleep, but that BM became one enourmous camp as opposed to many tiny camps.>

I'm very curious if that's how it works for most... It's quite beautiful imagery.

Hmm... I saw most of the planet signs missing but not the hour and half-hour ones (lacking the "collectible" *cringe* factor?).

Maybe at least let virgins know to not expect anything to stay the same (especially signs/landmarks)? If you are worried about making it back to your camp to open your eyes more/create your own landmarks?

<Rob the Wop ~ This whole thread is kind of funny in a way. Back in the old days <waving cane wildly>, you found out where you were because you deliberately thought of this before heading out. People would set up light towers or other unique landmarks themselves to guide their way back to their camps. This was before there were street signs. Part of that whole self-reliance thing, which wasn't really called out until much later. Things just weren't there, so you made do with what you could. Now people are so used to street signs/center camp coffee/etc. that it seems removing them leaves folks in a stupor.>

Heh. Usually it takes me at least a couple of weeks in a new location to get my bearings - even with lots of signs/landmarks I tend to do lots of U-turns.

I'm curious about the # of streets/size in the "old days" versus what you saw this year. I have been told that 2 extra streets were added this year to accomidate the expected size. Perhaps its easier to find your way around a small town rather than a medium one?

Hmm... perhaps letting virgins know that "Before you leave camp for the 1st time... along with plenty of water/sunscreen/etc... think a moment about how you are getting back to camp... because signs dissapear and landmarks change."

Thanks all!
~Aimless

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:14 pm

butterscotch wrote: I'm curious about the # of streets/size in the "old days" versus what you saw this year. I have been told that 2 extra streets were added this year to accomidate the expected size. Perhaps its easier to find your way around a small town rather than a medium one?
My understanding. No streets, no city planning at all. people just camped whereever and drove between camps on art cars. All ended never to return when a man on a motorcycle drove over someone in his very own tent. Streets are a responce to that first festival death. At that time (96) participents numbered in the 100s not the 10s of 1000s. Big difference.

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Post by Ivy » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:57 pm

Regardless of the pros, cons, etc of the street signs:

what bothers me is that it's STEALING.

Stealing=taking something that's not yours without permission.

Just because people might be more inclined later to meet their neighbors or have some otherwordly sort of "finding themsleves after being lost" experience or the thought that "it's just a sign" doesn't make stealing okay.

Stealing is shitty and it's wrong.


My $0.0000125.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 09, 2004 3:58 pm

Point taken, Lydia. Especially if they sell it on e-bay (that really seems like a creepy violation of the whole commerce policy. I hope the lawyers would be all over that.)
But, point taken.

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Post by Blenderhead » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:20 am

> I actually thought about making replacement signs and putting them up after the originals had been taken as a possible personal project next year.

confession: that's a fantastic idea, but in the brain of the wrong person it's a recipe for chaos. Imagine an e-tard stumbling back to find that 10:00 has become 5:00. 5:00 has become 3:00. Jupiter is now Venus. Venus is now Pluto. And so on.

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Post by Ivy » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:24 am

confession: that's a fantastic idea, but in the brain of the wrong person it's a recipe for chaos. Imagine an e-tard stumbling back to find that 10:00 has become 5:00. 5:00 has become 3:00. Jupiter is now Venus. Venus is now Pluto. And so on.
Bender, you're a fuckin genius.

Nothing else to see here, folks, move along...

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Post by Rob the Wop » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:37 am

Ivy wrote:
confession: that's a fantastic idea, but in the brain of the wrong person it's a recipe for chaos. Imagine an e-tard stumbling back to find that 10:00 has become 5:00. 5:00 has become 3:00. Jupiter is now Venus. Venus is now Pluto. And so on.
Bender, you're a fuckin genius.

Nothing else to see here, folks, move along...
OH OH OH! I want in on this one too. Make a couple giant exit/detour signs, place them at the outer spokes, pointing the wrong way. As the mass exodous happens Sunday morning, this could fuck up traffic to a massive snarl on the way out.
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sign stealing

Post by Megaflow » Sat Sep 11, 2004 4:33 pm

What we did at our camp was to rig up a flashing green strobe light like off a forklift to a 20 foot tall pole. No matter where we where on the playa we could always find home. After the man burned it really came in handy. We hooked it to a car battery and it lasted all week. There were several of these and once you knew where they were you could navigate by using these lights.

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Post by Simply Joel » Sun Sep 12, 2004 7:35 am

yo buttercup... stuff gets stolen... get over it... be self-reliant and find your own way home...

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Post by Simply Joel » Sun Sep 12, 2004 7:36 am

one more thought.... ask (pm) FORCE, he has an answer for everything.

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Post by butterscotch » Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:20 pm

Heh. Hear you simjoel. I think I will bring along cardboard + sharpies as previously suggested and post up a few handmade signs of my own on the surrounding streets.

I'm more concerned about friends who not only are "sense of direction" deprived but were also drunk/dehydrated/etc.

I'd just like newbies/virgins to be told "Look... this place changes faster than you'd ever expect... Think about landmarks... and even those may vanish faster than bloody marys on Saturday morning." (Question: At least the signs will be available... Yes? Response: No.)

Information = Better Preparation for Radical Self Reliance = Less chance of becoming an incident statistic.

Sincerely,
~Aimless

---
The answer my friend is blow... erm... I can't see a thing...

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Post by bullD » Sun Sep 12, 2004 5:33 pm

Rob the Wop wrote:This whole thread is kind of funny in a way. Back in the old days <waving cane wildly>, you found out where you were because you deliberately thought of this before heading out. People would set up light towers or other unique landmarks themselves to guide their way back to their camps. This was before there were street signs. Part of that whole self-reliance thing, which wasn't really called out until much later. Things just weren't there, so you made do with what you could. Now people are so used to street signs/center camp coffee/etc. that it seems removing them leaves folks in a stupor.

Expect the street signs to be stolen. Further expect any replacements to be stolen. Eyeball unmistakable landmarks and determine where your camp is in relation to them prior to heading out. Make your own coffee. Carry a small flashlight or glowstick in case you can't see the streets. Etc.
ehhh, WORD!!!!!

I know were I am at, even in a stupor, because I familiarize myself with what is around me. It's really not that hard folks. Even if you are on the other side of town, think of the order of the planets and figure out where the 3:00 and 9:00 plazas are, shit we have center camp too,,, ez from there.

I do think putting up new signs with the wrong info is very funny,,, wrong, but very funny...

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It's just part of the whole thang

Post by Porkadiah » Sun Sep 12, 2004 6:34 pm

I get a bit lost and disoriented every year when the signs dissappear after the burn as well. But instead of being annoyed by it I feel appreciative. It's just one more part of the experience at Burning Man. Are you in such a rush you that you can't spend a few extra minutes wondering around looking for your camp or whatever else happens to be on your agenda? In fact, I've come across things I'm glad I didn't miss while lost and I wouldn't have come across them if the signs had been left up.

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Post by Badger » Sun Sep 12, 2004 9:42 pm

This year I locked in waypoints for all the main intersection (Earth & 8:00, Earth & 9:00). It actually came in QUITE handy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after the event.

Have come to expect no signage after Sunday afternoon.

Thanks to the good folks who made their own scrawled version of the signs after the originals had been removed.
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~

Post by sparkletarte » Mon Sep 13, 2004 8:46 am

I was quite fine with the missing signs, although I knew it would happen so I made sure to mark my points. I think it's kind of funny. The times when I didn't know where I was I just asked around until someone who sounded like they knew what they were talking about gave me a location.

A friend said he had a camp on the esplande a few years ago and had a crying young woman show up who had been searching for her camp for a couple hours and was hopelessly lost. That would really suck. She hung with them for a bit and they walked her home, which was only a couple blocks away.

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