The decline of BurningMan

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
Post Reply
Burnt Out
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:12 pm
Location: Concord

The decline of BurningMan

Post by Burnt Out » Thu Oct 21, 2004 3:27 pm

This is my first (and probably final) post. I first attended BurningMan in 95 and have returned each year since. Over those years, I have recruited an ever expanding group of friends. This year there were 20 in our camp. Most of us will not be back.

I have watched the gradual decline of this event and finally feel compelled to speak out. Over the years, it has changed from anarchy that worked to bureaucracy that does not. Some of this change can be attributed to the increase in size. Much, however, can not.

I still remember a time when the constant theme was "no spectators." Now BurningMan has become a predominately spectator event. I remember a tribal sense of community. I remember multipronged processions, starting from several points, and marching out to burn the Man. There were drummers (and fires) everywhere and everyone chanted as they marched and danced out to the burn. Now everyone attempts to arrive early and get the best seat. Now, while there is a long staged ceremony before the burn, others drive up in large motorized floats and blast out hip-hop that drowns out the drumming that has already lost it's spontaneity.

There were probably several turning points, but I feel that the opera was the most significant. Pepe's towers were magnificant and probably some of the best artwork that ever graced the playa. They were also spectacular when they burned. On the other hand, his "operas" were long, tedious, and boring. They were, however, the 600 pound gorilla that dominated the night on which they were held. Many other attractions would close as most of the crowd would head out for the opera, perhaps the ultimate spectator event. The operas seldom, if ever, started on schedule. The frequent delays, combined with the length of each opera, meant that they completely squelched other events and any semblance of participatory community that evening. Previously there had been a sense of rising enthusiasm and anticipation leading up to burning the man. The operas tended to deflate that enthusiasm like a leaky balloon and when the Man would be burned the following night, it had also become much more of a spectator event.

Of couse I could mention the incredible shrinking man. Now it has become BurningBase or BurningPlatform. The pyrotechnics have greatly diminished over the years, resulting in a rather bland "controlled burn." I'm sure that even OSHA would now approve.

Of course the operas are now gone but BurningMan had changed. I had hoped that it might return to the spontaneity of the past, but I have now abandoned that hope. Unlike past years, this year had very little significant art, if any. The organizers seem to have more concern about enforcing various rules and regulations, and searching vehicles to ensure that no one sneaks in to avoid the escalating ticket fees. (Incidentally, the initial on-line ticket buying frenzy was perhaps the most inept concept that I have ever encountered!!! It was a system designed to fail in every way possible!)

I have never, to my knowledge, met Crimson Rose, but I have heard her name mentioned several times over the past few years. For a few years, the most impressive part of burning the Man was the ring of large pillars of fire that surrounded the man. If you were not yet there in those years, you missed an incredible sight. One year they were no longer there. When I asked a ranger what happened, he replied that Crimson Rose had decided that she didn't like them.

This year, I was bicycling on the playa and came across a very large installation that was being built. I talked with the individual in charge, who was furious. He said that his group had built several major projects over the years, but this was to be the last! He swore that they would never do it again. When I asked why, he said that the organizers had a dual standard. They would preach a sense of community and participation, encouraging everyone to join in. Then when they had you "bending over backwards" (his words) to do everything you could, they would start inposing a series of strict, arbitrary, unilateral decisions. The name of Crimson Rose was again mentioned in less than flattering terms.

I heard similar stories from various individuals at various artworks and attractions. Through friends, I heard of several people who had previously created artwork or artcars and who had chosen not to participate this year due to the bureaucracy.

There used to be a passion and a frenzy. Fires were everywhere! Most of the artwork was designed to eventually burn. Flame throwing dragons roamed the playa shooting fire out 30 or 40 feet from their mouths. (I understand that perhaps BLM has cracked down, but damnit there should be a bit more latitude.) People drummed and spontaneously danced everywhere, and at a moment's notice. There was a greater sense of whimsy.

The fires of the past are gone (in more ways than one). I anticipate that in the near future, "participants" will go to their assigned seats to view large screen videos of a burning man. (Probably accompanied by recorded hip-hop blasted at full volume.) I probably won't know for sure. I won't be there but I will still experience a sense of loss.
Burnt Out

User avatar
geekster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:53 pm
Location: Hospice For The Terminally Breathing
Contact:

Post by geekster » Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:09 pm

It's all your fault.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

clown lover
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: dark carnival

Post by clown lover » Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:33 pm

For me, it's not really about other peoples art, spectating, or even the burning of the man. I don't go there to judge other peoples art. That is just wrong on so many levels. I could go out there and never leave my own neighborhood and still have a great time. I know this because I had an injury that prevented me from exploring last year. I've been going since 96 and, yes it has changed. That rock opera?, here I am 8 years later and I still can't get that fucking song outta my head. "Fire tonight, Devils delight". It seemed that structure took a lot longer to burn than they had planned. I didn't care for it, so I moved on. But if BM isn't for you, don't go. It sounds like you will be one less judgemental jerk saying my art isn't good enough. Where did all the art critics come from anyway? If I wanted my art to be judged, I'd enter some sort of contest. Doesn't judging peoples art make you a spectator?
Buh bye.

User avatar
Sensei
Posts: 2878
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 10:56 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by Sensei » Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:36 pm

Who's the judgemental jerk again? I kinda lost track...

User avatar
Badger
Posts: 3324
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by Badger » Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:43 pm

I think the use of the word 'judge' is often just a mis-applied term for interacting, evaluating, reading or discovering a piece. There will always be thos for whom a piece has resonance and for others it'll be passed by, forgotten or poo-pooed.

Like it or not there is an element of judgement involved - even if it happens on a unconscious level.
Desert dogs drink deep.

User avatar
Sensei
Posts: 2878
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 10:56 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by Sensei » Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:02 pm

Ya' know, as I read back thru Burned Out's post, I don't see a whole lot of art criticizing goin' on. Ok, he pooh-poohed Pepe's Opera - who hasn't. And he did say that "this year had very little significant art". I'm not sure what that means exactly, but it seems to me that his gripe was more about quantity rather than quality.

I just don't like to see someone like Burned Out leaving. I'm not saying I agree with everything in his post, but I think it's worth thinking about...

User avatar
Sensei
Posts: 2878
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 10:56 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by Sensei » Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:17 pm

And as I read thru my last post, I don't see a lot of thinking goin' on, critical or otherwise. Badger, you've seen 'em come and and you've seen 'em go... My question is this: is this starting to happen more often? I mean, experienced art-creating type burners throwing in the towel. Seems like it is happening more and more, but maybe that's just my perspective. From what I understand (very little, obviously) this has been happening since the beginning (i.e. John Law).

There's just something about Burned Out's post that raises a red flag for me...

User avatar
Alpha
Posts: 765
Joined: Fri Sep 26, 2003 4:55 pm

Post by Alpha » Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:45 pm

I think it was Bob or Badger who pointed out that turnover of the "bread 'n butter" artists keeps BurningMan fresh -- from a holistic point of view, it's not a bad thing for the event that some people decide to move on. There's certainly no shortage of new attendees, the question is how many of them will pick up the torch? I've vowed to do this for next year or not come at all. Perhaps a lot of the newcomers this year were yahoo / frat boy types, but then again I think it only takes a small percentage of those to decide to contribute, for the event to keep its flair.

From the point of view of any single person, I think it's terribly sad when someone who's given so much to the event decides that it's not worth their time anymore. I missed your art this year, Burnt Out, but you'll be missed nonetheless.

User avatar
theCryptofishist
Posts: 40316
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 9:28 am
Burning Since: 2017
Location: In Exile

Post by theCryptofishist » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:11 am

Alpha wrote:. . . how many of them will pick up the torch? I've vowed to do this for next year or not come at all. Perhaps a lot of the newcomers this year were yahoo / frat boy types, but then again I think it only takes a small percentage of those to decide to contribute, for the event to keep its flair.
You know, I remember a party at a frat house back in the mid-80s in Berkeley. It stuck in my head because the theme was "Urban Guerillas" and I remember thinking how ironic it was. But it was decortated (with higly moopy rattan) and there was propably a keg and so on. They recycled the decor for the next year too--it was a Rambo/jungle thing then. So, frat boys have a demonstrated abiliyt to throw parties. We can direct this to our ends. With effort.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

User avatar
Kiba
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:21 am
Location: Woodland, CA
Contact:

Post by Kiba » Fri Oct 22, 2004 10:42 am

I'm sorry but if you don't want to go, don't go. If you're dissatisfied, be dissatisfied. Your pages of rationale (that's all it is) don't give any more weight to what amounts to your opinion. Furthermore, your position is so riddled with logical fallacies so as to be invalid. Lastly, what do you have to gain by ranting on so about BM? Are you trying to get others to be as dissatisfied as you? Are you trying to prevent message board goers from WANTING to go? I hope I'm wrong because I really don't like the depiction I'm getting.

And the horse you rode in on!

User avatar
Badger
Posts: 3324
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by Badger » Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:00 am

Spoken like a true Yahoo.
Desert dogs drink deep.

User avatar
geekster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:53 pm
Location: Hospice For The Terminally Breathing
Contact:

Post by geekster » Fri Oct 22, 2004 11:32 am

What bugged me about the post was a sense I got that there weren't enough other people producing enough art to enjoy and that the art that was there wasn't to his liking. I guess I missed the part where he described the art he contributed. He said there were some 20 people in his group and most won't be back because there wasn't enough cool shit to look at. 20 people could probably get something pretty cool together themselves.

It would have carried more weight with me if the poster had said that they had brought cool art and were told they couldn't display it or if they had problems with their own art installation with the powers that be. What I heard was that spectating wasn't fun anymore.

I didn't hear anything like "I think the art sucks and so we are going to get together and try to get this awesome fire squirting dragon on the playa" I would then be interested in hearing any problems with doing that, and not just repeating the frustrated words of others.

The idea of "there aren't enough other people participating to make my experiance worthwhile" just seems like it is the problem ... and not the solution.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

User avatar
Kiba
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:21 am
Location: Woodland, CA
Contact:

Post by Kiba » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:03 pm

Nicely put. Badger, if it's worth saying/doing, there'll always be someone to object. I'm just getting tired of people bashing aspects of BM while freely admitting they're not coming back. If they're not coming, why the sensationalism?

User avatar
Kiba
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:21 am
Location: Woodland, CA
Contact:

Post by Kiba » Fri Oct 22, 2004 1:13 pm

Besides. Only a yahoo would care who is or is not a yahoo. ^_~

User avatar
Badger
Posts: 3324
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by Badger » Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:56 pm

If they're not coming, why the sensationalism?
Because there's a bigger issue to mull around here. One that you've overlooked in your haste to paint with your sweepingly dismissive attitude towards the concerns posted (voiced) by Burnt Out. A thread which from my perspective might constitute the single most important active thread on the e-playa for the time being.
Desert dogs drink deep.

User avatar
geekster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:53 pm
Location: Hospice For The Terminally Breathing
Contact:

Post by geekster » Fri Oct 22, 2004 4:48 pm

Okay, so there were three main concerns raised in the original posting.

1. Lack of art.
2. Frustrated people trying to provide art.
3. Seeming rule creep keeping cool art away.

I suppose one of my problems is that I would want more information. I could counter with ... most of the participants come from the bay area. The bay area economy has been hit pretty hard the past few years. What impact might this have on the quantity of art?

If we want more and better art, what steps are WE taking as participants to get it there?

If people in the org are making it difficult to participate, why aren't those concerns being brought up directly by the people affected rather than from third parties? I am not talking so much about bringing it up here, but in meetings (town hall?) with the org. Bringing up SPECIFIC information and hard facts might be helpful here but hearsay probably isn't.

I just have a very basic problem with ... "I have been coming here for years, it is getting suckier, I am not going anymore" because that tells me that the person doesn't feel invested in the project. They don't have a sense of ownership and real participation. If that is a problem, it should be laid out clearly and we need to go to the org and see what can be done to fix it. There was nothing in the original posting I would feel comfortable going to a meeting and raising my hand and asking. I would feel pretty stupid saying "Well, someone said that someone else said that someone named Crimson Rose was giving them some kind of a hard time ..." Lay it out. What is the org or people in the org doing that screws up the event? What is it that WE as participants want? What exactly is the org doing to get in the way of that?

My gut feeling ... when the org hired full time staff I think they made a major mistake because then the event becomes a workplace. Certain safety requirements are mandated by law for providing a safe workplace for employees. All kinds of other requirements come into play too. Yeah, maybe they are getting too safe at the expense of the awe. But until we really dig into it, all we are doing is pissing on the playa.

1. What would bring more art to the playa
2. What would bring YOU back to the playa.
3. What is the org or people in the org doing to prevent that.
4. What can we do to change it.

We can do something if we have specifics and if we really know what we want.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

User avatar
Badger
Posts: 3324
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by Badger » Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:26 pm

"I just have a very basic problem with ...I have been coming here for years, it is getting suckier, I am not going anymore" because that tells me that the person doesn't feel invested in the project. They don't have a sense of ownership and real participation.
Or, it might suggest that the person(s) in question feels disempowered and frustrated because many of the good points you raise in your posts are never addressed even after making the effort (individually or collectively) is made but ultimately falls on deaf ears. In short, they might be tired of banging their head against the wall of non-responsiveness. I'd argue that many of the people I know who've not (or will not) return in future do so because of their investment. Their investment in an event - an idea - that seems to be more and more diluted by an influx of people who go to be entertained. That vicariously suckle on the creative energies of others without putting anything more into the event than wearing a woman's dress, a green halloween wig and a bottle of Jim Beam under their arm as they go out night after night to 'experience' the city.
Desert dogs drink deep.

Burnt Out
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 2:12 pm
Location: Concord

Post by Burnt Out » Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:38 pm

Against my better judgment, I decided to revisit this site to see what comments I might have stirred up. I'm somewhat sorry that I did.

I think that my original post has been grossly misconstrued. My major point was intended to be that I felt there had been an erosion of the original spirit of the event. Yes I did make a couple of comments about a recent decline in the art, but that was not my main concern. Any judgment regarding art is, of course, very subjective and I merely threw in my opinion on that. That was a very small portion of my post. Geekster and Clown Lover seem to be the sort that could read a dictionary and compulsively focus in on one or two words that they didn't like. (Of course then you have Kiba who takes great personal offense at any criticism whatsoever. We should only discuss sunshine and warm puppies for Kiba.)

I offered my comments because I have cared about the event, and I suppose that I continue to wish for recovery. My concern is that we seem to have lost the spirit, the energy, the sense of community that once prevailed. I admit that I don't understand all the reasons that things have changed, I merely wanted to raise some issues.

Perhaps because there was so little regulation in the past, the participants had to take it upon themselves to actually be "participants." Perhaps it is merely a reflection of changes in our society. ( I know that in the past we never worried about theft. On more than one occasion I carelessly left a valuable camera lying around openly on a table in my camp and returned hours later to find it untouched. Now we try to lock bicycles constantly and still have one stolen each year during a brief moment of carelessness.) Perhaps the growth has exceeded the pool of those who fit the original mold and BurningMan is now attracting a wider (and less desirable) variety of people. Perhaps the higher ticket prices have made many feel that since they paid so much, the event should be presented for them, rather than feeling that they are part of the event. Perhaps it is the inevitable result for an event that has continued to age and evolve for so many additional years.

Anyway, as I said before, I feel that we have lost much of the passion, the energy, the tribal connection, the willingness to throw oneself fully into the spirit of the moment. Now, everything seems much more "staged." It seems that an increasing number of those who do participate, do so more from an exhibitionistic standpoint (either of themselves or their art) rather than from a desire to join a broader community.

Yes, I know I know, this is only my opinion, but I have heard similar sentiments from others. Yes I know that it is very subjective. No, I do not have any solutions but I wish that I did. Anyway, this is definitely my last post. I genuinely wish nothing but the best for future BurningMan events and those who attend.
Burnt Out

User avatar
Isotopia
Posts: 2847
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 11:26 am

Post by Isotopia » Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:56 pm

Anyway, this is definitely my last post.
Well, that sucks.

User avatar
geekster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:53 pm
Location: Hospice For The Terminally Breathing
Contact:

Post by geekster » Fri Oct 22, 2004 9:03 pm

I am sorry I misunderstood the original posting. Since most of the posting seemed to be about art, I assumed that is what was bothering you most.

BADGER: I agree with you about the banging head on the wall part but I could not jump to that conclusion from the post. The original post mentioned OTHER people having this problem but doesn't speak to any specific problem the poster had.

The crux is still the same. If the event has become something you don't like your options are to voice those concerns as specifically as possible to people that can do something about it, do something about it yourself, or just wait for someone to waive a wand and hope things change by magic.

It would be a great loss to see the experianced burners leave and that would only make the situation worse.

As for the attitude of the people, yeah, a lot of that has to do with our changing culture. People have an attitude these days that if you don't lock something up, it is free for the taking. They didn't steal your bike, it wasn't locked! They don't have the same ethic that taking something that isn't theirs if it isn't locked or guarded.

50% newbies is the reason. As that percentage gets higher, it will probably get even worse. Having the experianced burners just leave is really sad, as Iso said. It is bothersome to hear "I am never going back" instead of "There is a problem and we have to figure out some way to make it better". I just wish we could focus on some way to make things better.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

User avatar
Kiba
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 8:21 am
Location: Woodland, CA
Contact:

Post by Kiba » Sat Oct 23, 2004 12:46 pm

It is bothersome to hear "I am never going back" instead of "There is a problem and we have to figure out some way to make it better".
I agree, and these statements are my reason for objection. The cause of my feverence however is the multi-page dissertation as to why. A person who has written that much doesn't leave much room for discussion, and it seems they've pretty much made up their mind. I was just being a dick/confrontational about asking "What'cha gonna do about it?"

User avatar
Badger
Posts: 3324
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by Badger » Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:53 pm

I was just being a dick/confrontational about asking "What'cha gonna do about it?"

Well, it would seem you succeeded on all fronts.
The cause of my feverence however is the multi-page dissertation as to why. A person who has written that much doesn't leave much room for discussion,
au contraire. Seems to me that if a person writes a tome on their reasons as to why they will or will not return to the playa that such a voluminous missives should afford you plenty of opportunities to inject your opinion or disagreement.

Sorry, I just can't buy into your justification.
Desert dogs drink deep.

User avatar
geekster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:53 pm
Location: Hospice For The Terminally Breathing
Contact:

Post by geekster » Sat Oct 23, 2004 5:52 pm

Okay, I am sincerely concerned that experianced burners don't want to come back. I really want to help, if I can. Badger, you have been participating for a long time. Do you think it is getting "worse"? Can you put your finger on some changes that have been made over the years that have things worse or is it just how the thing has evolved? I am really interested in knowing if the organization has changed the event, if the particiants themselves have changed or of there is just a different kind of participant mix or what.

I guess what is frustrating me is that I hear people say it just isn't the same and point out some things that are different ... less art, tamer art, bad attitudes, stealing, etc. But I am trying to dig under that and try to learn what a root cause might be. If the cause is just a cultural change in the people themselves, nothing can be done to "save" it and it will just have to change into something different as it is handed off to a new generation of burners. If the cause is policy from on high, that can be changed. If the cause is economic ... fewer people willing to blow money on large art installations, that can be worked on too.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

spectabillis
Posts: 3527
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 11:07 pm
Burning Since: 2020
Location: black rock city

Post by spectabillis » Sat Oct 23, 2004 7:49 pm

Badger wrote:Or, it might ... (badgerphone rings).
Yeah, what he said.

Did not do an art installation or anything since it would have felt like a wasted effort. I got a bit jaded of putting a LOT of effort into something when others get to observe, kick it, not care, act like complete fuckwits... so I guess now I am one of those... and it sucks.

Desperately feeling like nothing will change it and I cant make a difference. So when next year rolls around I ask, WHY THE FUCK SHOULD I CARE?

I hate this has been done to me, I feel old when I am not.

User avatar
geekster
Posts: 4867
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:53 pm
Location: Hospice For The Terminally Breathing
Contact:

Post by geekster » Sat Oct 23, 2004 8:08 pm

spectabillis wrote:Did not do an art installation or anything since it would have felt like a wasted effort. I got a bit jaded of putting a LOT of effort into something when others get to observe, kick it, not care, act like complete fuckwits... so I guess now I am one of those... and it sucks.
Fair enough. So let me say back what I am seeing here. You put a lot of effort into something and didn't get the reaction you expected. Because of this reaction or lack thereof, you don't want to put the effort into doing it again.

Perfectly valid but doesn't say there is anything wrong with burningman. I guess I am just completely missing something.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

User avatar
Badger
Posts: 3324
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:43 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by Badger » Sat Oct 23, 2004 10:59 pm

Do you think it is getting "worse"? Can you put your finger on some changes that have been made over the years that have things worse or is it just how the thing has evolved? I am really interested in knowing if the organization has changed the event, if the particiants themselves have changed or of there is just a different kind of participant mix or what.
I'm doing that as quickly as my smoking, asbestos tipped fingers can type. Thing is that the change - the shift - is a bit more nebulous than I realized at first. I have a general ideas which have been garnered over the years but for the time being don't want to lay them before anyone's feet before I complete writing my assessment. Suffice it to say that a good number of the problems are, I feel, anchored in behaviors and ideas that are brought up to the event by persons not familiar with the concept of creating, expanding and - most importantly - sustaining 'community.' perspective about things but keep in mind that it is only my perspective.

Having said all of that I need to also say that my take on things is just that. They're mine. They're subject to change, revision and retraction. I'd just hope that some of you folk would kick in your ideas/thoughts/etc because if you don't then your voice might not be heard. Your ideas never considered, and that to me is a sad thing. I'm trying hard to distill what I believe is the essence of people's feelings about what has been happening to the event without pointing fingers - except when necessary. Also, remember that this isn't all about shit flinging. I personally would like to hear from folks who have good thigs to say. What experiences were positive, what makes you want to come back, what worked. What rocked your world. Why? Can it be improved? Changed?

Toss is out there folks.
Desert dogs drink deep.

spectabillis
Posts: 3527
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 11:07 pm
Burning Since: 2020
Location: black rock city

Post by spectabillis » Sun Oct 24, 2004 1:36 am

geekster wrote:
spectabillis wrote:Did not do an art installation or anything since it would have felt like a wasted effort. I got a bit jaded of putting a LOT of effort into something when others get to observe, kick it, not care, act like complete fuckwits... so I guess now I am one of those... and it sucks.
Fair enough. So let me say back what I am seeing here. You put a lot of effort into something and didn't get the reaction you expected. Because of this reaction or lack thereof, you don't want to put the effort into doing it again. Perfectly valid but doesn't say there is anything wrong with burningman. I guess I am just completely missing something.
Nah your probably not, sorry, because I usually dont rant-off like that. I dont want to get caught up in interpretations so I should elaborate. Expectations are always greyish anyways, so I usually dont take them to bman since they have a tendency to get washed in with the colors and bleed.

On the other hand, which has some bite marks, it seems like the general crowd is no longer into that artistic vibe... and thats what its about for me, so why bother with all that effort? I know the arguments that there are still people who like and appreciate it, for me its a matter of numbers. I hate getting drowned in a mob of Disney dreamin party animals.

So what is wrong with it? Nothing at all if this does not bother you or anyone else.

spectabillis
Posts: 3527
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 11:07 pm
Burning Since: 2020
Location: black rock city

Post by spectabillis » Sun Oct 24, 2004 3:27 am

spectabillis wrote:So what is wrong with it? Nothing at all if this does not bother you or anyone else.
Christ that sounded negative.


1. What would bring more art to the playa

Good question; I will think some more about it and only reply again if I have something significant in the same spirit of sincerity that you ask, or if you ask a followup to this. I want to avoid the whole apathy thing and not just whine about it, but see my reply to question 4.

2. What would bring YOU back to the playa.

Not to be assholist obvious, but if the artistic focus were to return - I will.

3. What is the org or people in the org doing to prevent that.

My very humble opinion that I am stating for the interest in discussion and not an inflammatory one, they should first be aware that its a *serious* problem. That it is running a high risk of getting worse quickly if it is not addressed, and that this effects the entire nature of the event and wrecks the spirit to the core. Burningman has changed many people for the better, and in its own special way made a significant cultural improvement. Just about every artistic movement is generally unappreciated at the time of its inception and is valued more in a historic context. That needs to be taken advantage of. How?

First, the people behind it have a personal opportunity to be remembered for something great that it once was. If it continues to deteriorate, it is likely going to be remembered for what it has become, and thats a loss for everyone.

4. What can we do to change it.

Appreciation and re-focus would greatly help. I found it really strange that the same organization behind this has also developed a separate group that funds other artistic endeavors. I dont know their activities, but if they could divert that effort and bring it back into the event, that would probably go a long way.

Appreciation branches out to apply to several things. Appreciation for those that put the *hard* effort into art installations with little or no immediate reward. Appreciation for artists, who in the past have been instrumental in the success that the event has achieved. Appreciation of the larger value art has in society, where people who are not artists can come to the event and experience something wonderful, and personally expanding that they take with them when they readjust themselves back into their social surroundings.

Its not a secret that art and artists are generally unappreciated, that problem has been in society for a *long* time. Burningman was an event where all people, especially non-artistic ones, could attempt their own style and expression. Its not that way anymore, something great has been lost.

User avatar
Isotopia
Posts: 2847
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 11:26 am

Post by Isotopia » Sun Oct 24, 2004 4:10 am

Appreciation and re-focus would greatly help. I found it really strange that the same organization behind this has also developed a separate group that funds other artistic endeavors. I dont know their activities, but if they could divert that effort and bring it back into the event, that would probably go a long way.

Appreciation branches out to apply to several things. Appreciation for those that put the *hard* effort into art installations with little or no immediate reward. Appreciation for artists, who in the past have been instrumental in the success that the event has achieved. Appreciation of the larger value art has in society, where people who are not artists can come to the event and experience something wonderful, and personally expanding that they take with them when they readjust themselves back into their social surroundings.

Its not a secret that art and artists are generally unappreciated, that problem has been in society for a *long* time. Burningman was an event where all people, especially non-artistic ones, could attempt their own style and expression. Its not that way anymore, something great has been lost.
That's a hell of a start in pushing the dialogue to the fore. I thinks it's because you're tapping into one of the fundamentals. A fundamental at least as far as my tribe of friends are concerned.

Yes, the (seeming) lack of art and installations this year did shift things a bit for me. Initially I was hoping that it represented people pulling back from the Esplanade and moving it into the heart(s) of the city. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be the case. I have this theory that some folks are intimidated by the concept and cost of planning and assembling 'big art.' Almost as if "ah, fuck it. My stuff will go unnoticed so why bother." Which is unfortunate as well. In some ways I wonder if this mindset (assuming its real) plays into the idea of just dropping one's idea/plans and settling on the ideas of others to stimulate your experience while in BRC. That gets to the shifting sands of entertain vs. entertainment. Participation vs. sppectating.

User avatar
Isotopia
Posts: 2847
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2003 11:26 am

Post by Isotopia » Sun Oct 24, 2004 4:10 am

4:10am. Fragmented Thought Rules Apply BTW...

Post Reply

Return to “Philosophical Center”