Just what ARE Burning Man's Core Values?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Postby Tiara » Tue Sep 30, 2003 3:43 pm

radical inclusion. . . radical self-recreation

I enjoy being exposed to the overwhelming spectrum of everything in BRC. From personalities to communication styles to lifestyles to political views to the art projects.

BRC is a place where I have the opportunity to observe, experiment, and try for myself an unimaginable array of offerings.

The event itself may be radically inclusive, but the act of self-recreation requires that I choose among the offerings, and adopt those things which appeal to me. Some won't be a good fit, and will be eventually discarded. But the knowledge gained in the process is the reason I will be back next year.
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:11 pm

>I'm not going to suggest an org-endorsed "affirmative-action"-type program.

i'm suggesting that they're already half way there.

> not so sure that's a great example.

i think it's the explanation that sucked more than anything. sure, most of the projects out there need people to find them entertaining/attractive/something. you can't do stuff in a vacuum.

what i'm suggesting, though, is that aside from enjoying other peoples art, i'd like to find ways to encourage everyone to follow their own vision. like you did with the wife carrying contest. like the skynyrd boys did with the brcc. or david best and the temple. or like the "free mayonaise" sign off the esplanade. it doesn't have to be huge, but it should be something that came out of your own head, rather than piggybacking on someone elses trip.
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Postby PJ » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:27 pm

III wrote:...aside from enjoying other peoples art, i'd like to find ways to encourage everyone to follow their own vision. like you did with the wife carrying contest. like the skynyrd boys did with the brcc. or david best and the temple. or like the "free mayonaise" sign off the esplanade. it doesn't have to be huge, but it should be something that came out of your own head, rather than piggybacking on someone elses trip.


Good examples.

FWIW, the B-Man version of a Wife Carrying Contest was a fully-formed concept that just popped into my head after reading a newspaper article. Damned if it didn't go over well on the first try. If I return next year one reason will be because the participants really had a hoot and I got a kick out of organizing something that people enjoyed. It was very little work, wasn't expensive, and I could transport it all in the airplane myself. Really, Jane and Playa Air contributed more than I did because they provided the beer transportation from the airport and acted as an announcer's platform. (Us short guys need that.)

Other than giving lots airplane rides on other years, the Contest is the only thing I've contributed.
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Postby Ivy » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:28 pm

what i'm suggesting, though, is that aside from enjoying other peoples art, i'd like to find ways to encourage everyone to follow their own vision. like you did with the wife carrying contest. like the skynyrd boys did with the brcc. or david best and the temple. or like the "free mayonaise" sign off the esplanade. it doesn't have to be huge, but it should be something that came out of your own head, rather than piggybacking on someone elses trip.


Trey, I'm really glad you said this. I may in fact print it out.
This might be "drift" from the official topic, and this is totally personal: I'm not making any statement about BM, the event, or any of the people or anything else. Mainly I'm pontificating for my own personal benefit, so anyone not interested inlistening to my whine, please, skip this an continue on the the next post.
I've been struggling a long time with this, even before I ever went to BM or even heard of it. I really feel like I don't "fit in" with the "core values" or whatever because I sincerely feel that I have nothing original to add that "came out of my own head." Even the event I helped organize this year, although it went, IMO, very well and was the best time I had the entire week, was a spin-off and continuation of an event from last year.
I feel really frustrated in regard to BM and in my own life right now that I feel like I have nothing that comes from my own head. Part of it, i know, is amplified just becuase of where I am in my life right now, but part of it never goes away. And you can't just force an idea to come out of your head--not only it it most always fruitless, sometimes it even comes out worse.
A friend of mine mentioned that maybe I'm trying to think too "big<" as in a big awe-inspiring project or theme camp or whatnot--I'm really not. If "free mayonaise" came to be, rest assured I'd hit the ground running. I really feel like I have nothing of my own to share with any community and say, "here, i did this for you" or "I made this becuase it's beautiful" or whatever. But it is sometimes even more frustrating to be around so many creative people, big and small ideas and projects. This is why I sometimes feel I don't "qualify" to be a burner. So I guess to tie it all in, I'd say that creating and sharing something out of your own head is, I think, a core value.
Sorry about the post length; it probably didn't even end up making any sense but I just felt like blabbering.
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Postby PJ » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:34 pm

Ivy wrote:...I really feel like I don't "fit in" with the "core values" or whatever because I sincerely feel that I have nothing original to add that "came out of my own head."


Oh, hell, nothing's totally original. "Steal, but only steal from the best" is a motto with a long and honorable pedigree in the world of art. Whatever you make/do will be original enough--because YOU did it. If it's your take on a dinosaur costume, the fact that there was 200 other dinosaur costumes doesn't invalidate your's.

And if you really run out of ideas you always have the option of going as one of those naked girls you hear about.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:42 pm

> the fact that there was 200 other dinosaur costumes doesn't invalidate your's.

In my new self-amusement system, this translates to:
the fact that there was 200 other dinosaur costumes doesn't invalidate your penis's [dinosaur costume].
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Postby Badger » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:45 pm

Well Ivy, I'm thinking sometimes the biggest and best 'art' - your participation - is when you selflessly give of yourself in a crowd of strangers and you do it without condition, and you do it with no expectation of recompense and you do it in a way that your longing to be part of something dictates on a fundamental level.

If we all compared our ideas against things like Bests' temple, Mason's fire canons, etc. most of us would probably check out and stay home. That's why I love the greeters so much. And the Lamplighters, and the ill-tempred carpenters, the gate staff, some DPW and most Rangers. Each has defined for themselves an idea of what they do and have incoroprated it into their way of 'arting.' Thinking off of the traditional palet is a good first step towards finding your artistic muse I think.
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Postby Tiara » Tue Sep 30, 2003 5:19 pm

Ivy, I think your furry pimp coat, your belly dance outfit and performance, and your etched rocks are all "art".

And let's stop making fun of those who participate by wearing dinosaur suits, ok??!
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Postby PJ » Tue Sep 30, 2003 5:23 pm

Badger wrote:...Mason's fire canons...


I shudder to think what those cost to operate.
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Postby Ivy » Tue Sep 30, 2003 5:27 pm

You guys, I appreciate your thoughts, but I'd like to nip this iin the bud before it continues.
I'm not looking for props or booting my ego.
I have been told before (and told myslef) all this stuff--about comparing yourself with Best etc, and in fact before this year's BM I had a whole discussion on the SC list about dancing--for me, it's a selfish gesture, not a giving one. I certainly think I'm more a "free mayonaise" type, I guess I just haven't found my true condiment yet. I also sometimes think that "selflessly" just really isn't me, and thereforeI cannot contribute in any meaningful way to any sort of gift economy.
Anyway, Like i said, it just has to do with a lot of personal stuff right now and I wanted to whine a bit. I'm done, at least for here and now.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
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Postby Kinetic » Tue Sep 30, 2003 6:11 pm

Ivy wrote:You guys, I appreciate your thoughts, but I'd like to nip this iin the bud before it continues.
I'm not looking for props or booting my ego.
I have been told before (and told myslef) all this stuff--about comparing yourself with Best etc, and in fact before this year's BM I had a whole discussion on the SC list about dancing--for me, it's a selfish gesture, not a giving one. I certainly think I'm more a "free mayonaise" type, I guess I just haven't found my true condiment yet. I also sometimes think that "selflessly" just really isn't me, and thereforeI cannot contribute in any meaningful way to any sort of gift economy.
Anyway, Like i said, it just has to do with a lot of personal stuff right now and I wanted to whine a bit. I'm done, at least for here and now.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.


You can't contribute to a gift economy? Bullshit. Your dancing contributed. As a matter of fact I just got home from taking Dragontear to dance classes. Guess who got her inspired on dance? Your posts on the old e-playa started the spark, and now after coming home from seeing the belly dancing on the playa she's taking 2 hours of dance. You gave her a gift of inspiration. The Burning Bellies Yahoo group fed the spark. And now she is dancing, and pretty well I might add. And regardless of what you wrote about not sending props out, I'm doing it anyway. You got her up off her ass and moving, and I am very thankful for that. You gave without even knowing it....hell you inspired me to take up costume design. Get mad me all you want for saying this, but I said it, and that's that.

I still understand the rest of your post as sometimes I felt like I had no original ideas. I worked the greeters gate and that really turned my attitude around but I wish I could do more. Your post hits home. But I had to toss in the props because Tiff says you inspired her...and I had to pass it along.
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Postby stu » Tue Sep 30, 2003 7:36 pm

equality: removal of the power structures that dominate everything else. something between libertarianism and anarchy.


IMO, the move away from this is what stands the greatest chance of seriously damaging the event as it affects some of the other "core values."

Tying in what Ivy had to say; after seeing what can be done by others who get support from the org, why should I try to do my meagre art when it will be overshadowed by fabulous and wonderful things that I don't have the means to carry out? Seeing as I live in Canada, I really doubt I will see much support as an e-mail or a couple of pictures really can't compare to personally knowing the people involved. (This is not a complaint about cliques, it is just the way the world works)

Also, sponsored art creates spectators, unless it is a *highly* interactive piece. I say this as I have seen several large-scale pieces that were stunning, but I simply stood there and looked at them as they were not interactive, and none of the creators were around. Of course, many individuals create pieces that are just the same in this way, but I am talking about BM supported art.

Then, there is the whole self-sufficiency thing.

And, after that, the event is definitely drifting away from the idea of it being a week long, temporary phenomenon as these ever larger art pieces need more time to erect then disassemble, both before and after the event. What happened to taking up the challenge of doing what you can in seven days? That makes peoples' accomplishments more monumental, even if the scale may be smaller.
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Postby Kinetic » Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:13 pm

Going back to the 7 days to build approach would address one of BLM's gripes of all the people on playa in advance of the event. And it would force people to be more creative.

Yet I heard a lot of people bitching that the base of the man wasn't finished on Monday or even Tuesday. (We know DPW was busting their butts but a lot of people don't appreciate DPW). When the theme camps were still being setup, people bitched about that. So no matter what you do you can't win and please everybody.

And it is hard to compete against the ORG sponsored works. IMHO, the org needs to have a funding shift, if they are going to dive into supporting the regionals, spend more money there and not so much on the large scale art.

The Esplanade is starting to remind me of a circus midway, and it's drawing too much of the crowd away from the side shows and stuff on the other streets. It's a crazy idea but I'd like to see some destination work, quiet type stuff, moved back to say Creed or even Dogma to get people to explore the city more.

Another crazy idea...have the Esplanade stay as it is, and move the theme camps to the outer rings and let the rest of us fill in the gap. Some of the coolest things I saw at BM the past two years were on the side streets such as Faith, Evidence, even as far out as Reality. I wonder how many people unless they were camped out there made it that far out? Again, that's just an idea floating through my head...it's one thing to bitch, it's another to offer solutions and that's what I hope to do with the thought.

(I know...it's off topic. Sorry!)
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Postby Badger » Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:22 pm

And if you really run out of ideas you always have the option of going as one of those naked girls you hear about.


THAT was a self-serving post if ever there was one PJ.

BTW, according to Jim Mason, the Male Impotence Compensation Project (fire canons) uses on the order of 30 gallons of diesel/sec.
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Postby Lydia Love » Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:25 pm

The "Free Mayo" sign made me blissfully happy and struck a chord with me that the temple of gravity failed to do (ok ok - i just adore the absurd). I love the so-called small scale art.

I think "originality" also has to do with context. The playa is such a strange place to take these things. "Free Mayo" on my lawn would be much less amusing than it is in that heat. The Temple of Gravity would look perfectly fine in front of a corporate office building.

Um... I don't think I'm expressing this well...
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Postby blyslv » Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:59 pm

Ivy wrote: I sincerely feel that I have nothing original to add that "came out of my own head." Even the event I helped organize this year, although it went, IMO, very well and was the best time I had the entire week, was a spin-off and continuation of an event from last year..


I don't know, that stone you decorated is very beautiful. And I think it makes a lot of sense to play with an idea several years running, 'cuz sometimes it take that long to polish it and fully realize it.

Maybe one of the core values is exploring the gap between "theory" and "reality."
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Postby blyslv » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:05 pm

Ivy wrote:about dancing--for me, it's a selfish gesture, not a giving one. .


I mentioned something about acting being good for the ego. He corrected me. Perfomance is about giving. You raise interesting quesitons about intent.

I wonder if this discussion itself is illustrative of a BM "core value", I'm just not sure what.

"Hellishly introspective" doesn't seem the most flattering...

(Note to self: Must read entire thread before posting.)
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Postby precipitate » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:30 pm

> The Temple of Gravity would look perfectly fine in front of a corporate
> office building.

Which is more or less where it was designed to be, for what it's worth. In
which location no one would be able to climb on it.
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Postby Lydia Love » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:46 pm

Which is more or less where it was designed to be, for what it's worth. In
which location no one would be able to climb on it.


Yeah - I guess that was part of my particularly poorly expressed point. That it was the context of the playa itself that made it more a meaningful piece of art. That all being relative. As I said, the mayo reverberated more strongly for me.
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Postby stu » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:51 pm

Lydia,

Speaking of small scale art; thanks for your mesmerising little piece out on the playa.
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Postby Lydia Love » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:55 pm

Thank you! I'm so glad you were mesmerized. They are on our lawn right now, which, come to think of it is a pretty strange context for them. They were better on the playa.

Bremerton passersby don't know what to think of us, which is a plus.
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Postby III » Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:29 pm

>If we all compared our ideas against things like Bests' temple, Mason's fire canons

that thing i mentioned about the org's actions not always reinforcing their stated values? don't get me started...
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Postby Ivy » Wed Oct 01, 2003 8:48 am

Perfomance is about giving.


I personally have to disagree. Perhaps it will evolve into that someday, but one of the major reasons I love dancing is because it's something I do for me. I dance the way I want, when I want, how I want. I don't do it to bring joy to other people (though that may or may not happen as a side effect)--I do it to bring myself joy. therefore, I do not consider it a gift I give, and I consider it selfish, not selfless.

YMMV.
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Postby Kinetic » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:01 am

The Temple of Gravity brings out mixed emotions for me. A couple of thoughts:
I thought you were supposed to cover up corporate logos out there? Between the two temples I saw enough United Rentals logos to last a lifetime. Couldn't someone cover that up? Or because the ORG loves them so much, was it ok to forget about covering it up for a bit to maybe send some future business their way?

I love creative art but when you have to have semis and cranes and all that coming in, it's not exactly LNT for the playa or the environment is it?

If you build playa art, unfortunately there are fuckwits who are going to sabotage it. It's at the point that people should build their art with the thought of sabotage in mind and design security measures in that can prevent it. The temple of gravity comes to mind because I heard someone unloosened bolts or other safety mechanisms and caused it to be closed off for a while. I don't know if it's true but that was some heavy art, safety should have been a more prominent design aspect.

And last but not least is the website I learned about when I got home. I saw that website as blatant commercialism that is using BM's countercultural cache as a selling point. The ORG can send out legal threats to Pepsi for displaying a BM logo in the London Underground yet this guy gets to post his website and ask for money using BM as a selling point. I might be off base with my comments but that's how I see it...anyone want to offer facts and opinions and try to change mine?
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Postby Alpha » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:01 am

Ivy wrote:I dance the way I want, when I want, how I want. I don't do it to bring joy to other people (though that may or may not happen as a side effect)--I do it to bring myself joy.


I, for one, love this attitude. More people would enjoy dancing if we all thought this way!

[envisioning myself at the pre-decomp this weekend, dancing like Elaine on that Seinfeld episode...]
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Postby blyslv » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:02 am

Ivy wrote:I personally have to disagree. Perhaps it will evolve into that someday, but one of the major reasons I love dancing is because it's something I do for me. I dance the way I want, when I want, how I want. I don't do it to bring joy to other people (though that may or may not happen as a side effect)--I do it to bring myself joy. therefore, I do not consider it a gift I give, and I consider it selfish, not selfless.

YMMV.


I'm not looking for agreement, but I do wonder if "selfish, not selfless" are the only two choices? Do you dance exactly the same when there is an audience as when there isn't? If not, maybe3 because there's some energetic exchange going on.

Increasing joy, even if for you alone, is always a good thing.
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Postby Ivy » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:16 am

Do you dance exactly the same when there is an audience as when there isn't? If not, maybe3 because there's some energetic exchange going on.


I think this is a very interesting point.

I don't deny that audiences affect performanaces. I do sometimes play off the audience--if I want to. And, while most of the time I can shake it off, if the audience is overly bored or uninvolved, it does sometimes bring me down. But for the most part (unless I am dancing a theatre choreography or with my tribal troupe, which has strict stylistic aspects to follow) its me doing whatever the fuck I want, which, I admit, sometimes does get pretty crazy.

I should note something here that I always find ironic but it makes me think: I say I dance for myself and it's true. A lot of people relate my stance to that of the saying "dance like there's no one watching." Which is a phrase I totally understand the sentiment behind and encourage most people to consider. However, I do the opposite--although my dancing is for myself, I always dance like there's an audience. Not because I care what they think, but becuase it helps me focus on improving my skills and self-confidence. Whenever I think about, it's pretty twisted thinking, since it sounds like the opposite of what I'm advocating, but I don't think it is, more like a level 1 progressing to level 2 sort of thing. If that makes sense. Which it probably doesn't.
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Postby PJ » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:26 am

Badger wrote:
And if you really run out of ideas you always have the option of going as one of those naked girls you hear about.


THAT was a self-serving post if ever there was one PJ.



Not completely self-serving. Jezebel likes them every bit as much as I do.

But I hear where you're coming from. Would it help balance things out if I ran around a lot wearing nothing but tighty-whities?



Badger wrote:BTW, according to Jim Mason, the Male Impotence Compensation Project (fire canons) uses on the order of 30 gallons of diesel/sec.


(Swoon!) Other than the Kuwait oil field fires, what could possibly top that spectacle?
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Postby Alpha » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:42 am

Ivy wrote:A lot of people relate my stance to that of the saying "dance like there's no one watching."


Well I suppose you mean me. :-) I totally get your point, though -- it's the difference between someone refining their art (there's that word again) versus someone afraid to dip their toes into it to begin with!
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Postby Ivy » Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:13 am

Actually, I meant a lot of people in general.

I think that motto is a good starting point to overcoming shyness and inhibition. I think that I'm mostly past that though--so I'm onto "dance like everyone's watching." If that makes sense.
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