EVENT (r)EVOLUTION

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

Postby Todd in Seattle » Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:14 pm

Believe it or not, I've never been inside one. I may be the only non-coffee drinker left in the entire northwest.
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Postby Lucifer » Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:55 pm

Kinetic wrote: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.


You just articulated my core passion for 2004 - I think that BRC needs a proper downtown, with a more intimate vibe than the Esplanade or Center Camp.

I'd love to collect together installations like Eleccentricity's Ascension, bars with live music like Hair Of The Dog, sidewalk bistros like the Golden Cafe, a coffee house alternative to the Center Camp Cafe, random streetside artwork, and give everyone a cool neighborhood to hang out in at night - somewhere around Creed and 5:00, where the city is thickest and where nobody would expect it.
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Postby Kinetic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 9:07 pm

Post 800!!!! Wheee!!!!!!

Something else I noticed, or actually didn't see was creative use of the street signs. I walk into Playa Info and there are all kinds of cool camp names marked all over the boards. Chillonia, Taosyty.....and they list their address. But you go find a street sign and the poles are empty! Why not put up signs to your camp on them? I saw a few such signs, but this is like a forgotten art opportunity.

Speaking of Taosyty, that was a camp that impressed the hell out of me. From the stickers they put up in Playa Info and other places to the overall structure and layout, it was like my fantasy theme camp come ot life. I loved that place. I never got to talk to any of the people running it but I snapped quite a few pictures to use as inspiration for 04.
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Postby lurker » Mon Oct 06, 2003 8:38 am

The villages are the start of things like the interest themed donuts, but interest themed communities tend towards homogenaeity(sp?) is this a good thing? Homogenous areas will run into odd behaviour paterns, cliquing, bigger is better, competition and alienation. There are pluses, but do they outweigh the negatives?

Center camp will always be--no matter what's there or what it's called--a central meeting point is something that tends to naturally occur in human society. Move the actual camp from the center and one of two things will happen. Either BRC life will shift to accomodate the new position or the camp will be ignored in favorof the actual central meeting point

Personally I am not in favor of homogeaeity or standard human patterning.

Chaos.

Place theme camps, large villages and art installations randomly throughout the city. Don't fall for downtown-style clustering. Random placement would encourage wider interaction as 'destination' points would be seperate. Smaller camps would get more notice--as would offbeat and unannounced art installations. There would be no real 'main' roads. All roads would lead to something, perhaps something more than expected

The central point would still occur, but in this format more as a waystation than a real destination. It would function more as a place to go through
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Postby Isotopia » Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:42 am

Place theme camps, large villages and art installations randomly throughout the city. Don't fall for downtown-style clustering. Random placement would encourage wider interaction as 'destination' points would be seperate. Smaller camps would get more notice--as would offbeat and unannounced art installations. There would be no real 'main' roads. All roads would lead to something, perhaps something more than expected


That's all well and good as long as you don't mind having to wait for a medical response by REMSA/EMTs for people who're seriously injured. The idea of having no structure to the City layout might afford some small level of interaction on the part of obscure camps and such but I'd argue it would be to the detriment of public safety. Many is the time in which quick medical response by responding personnel familiar with the streets has probably saved more than a life or two. On another note I'll add that there've been several instances that I can recount in which persons coming to the event with the intent to meet up with folks at a pre-determined location we're completely blindsided by not being able to locate their friends due to the street signs being modified. This was especially unfortunate with a woman who'd flown into Reno, hitched into the event and set about trying to find here friends who she'd not seen in many years. As it turned out she had only two days to spend with these folks and she's spent a full half day tring to locate here friends but had no reference from which to locate them due to. By the time she found the camp she was looking for a substantial amount of her available time had been wasted on what was for all practical purposes a snipe hunt. I thnk this highlights an example of how unintended consequences can come into play as far as interfering with some else's experience.

Just my .02
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Postby lurker » Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:40 pm

public works, like medical help are, like the nexus fubction of the center camp, something that does not need to be randomized--you'll notice I didn't include services in the things that would benefit from randomness.

Besides, even the randomess I suggest is a relative thing--it'll only be effective as a chaos inducing mechanism on a personal level--the org'll know where all the big things are, there just won't be a set 'here's where you go to get your BURNING MAN experience' place--except the man.
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Postby Badger » Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:49 pm

Got it.

Re-read your post and see that you do not in fact suggest a complete random distribution of street, etc.

My bad.

Thanks for the clarification.
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Postby Lucifer » Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:55 pm

Now I actually like the idea of random placement, but here are some snags:

lurker wrote:Center camp will always be--no matter what's there or what it's called--a central meeting point is something that tends to naturally occur in human society.


Los Angeles is a counterpoint. Now it IS the case that the vast majority of cities outside of Black Rock DO have central meeting points, but it is also the case that the vast majority of cities outside of Black Rock GREW around those center points, rather than being established overnight and having the center points appear on their own.

Were Manhattan wiped out and created anew tomorrow, with no Times Square already in place, I can't imagine any social forces that would make that part of town or any other develop into a central hub - the city would probably remain a bunch of disconnected neighborhoods, just like LA.

lurker wrote:Place theme camps, large villages and art installations randomly throughout the city. Don't fall for downtown-style clustering.


For better or worse, what you're asking for is LA taken to the extreme. Here in the City of Angels, an evening of dinner, a show, a bar, and a club can easily carry you all over the city, and eat hours in transit alone.

lurker wrote:Random placement would encourage wider interaction as 'destination' points would be separate.


That is exactly what so many Angelenos grumble about. The upside is that it makes those of us who have lived in the city for years look omniscient to visitors - the downside is that it takes newcomers months or years of active exploration to find anything of merit. A further downside is that plenty of folks just give up on exploring, and never realize how much cool stuff is hidden out there.

Of course, the self-interested actions of individual business owners mitigate this situation by creating little clusters of complementary experiences. These clusters allow for a romantic walk past galleries and restaurants in SoHo, for cool bars and artwork in Los Feliz, for the tourist midway that you find at the Fisherman's Wharf, etc.

IMHO, the biggest weakness of BRC is that the current placement process severely reduces the ability of individual camps to organize these clusters. There is no problem if your camp fits in the Fisherman's Wharf (Esplanade), City Hall (Center Camp), or the club district (Amplified Audio) - you just ask the BMORG to put you in one of those state-organized clusters. And there is no problem if you are so tight with a bunch of other camps that you'd be willing to entangle yourselves in the shared responsibility of a Village...

...but if what you want is to get yourself into a neighborhood of independent camps that provide complementary services, you just have to ask for the right neighbors and pray. Consider that, in BRC, next-door neighbors can't even coordinate the layouts of their own camps, because nobody knows exactly who their neighbors are until they arrive on the playa - at which point construction is already underway. This lack of foreknowledge eliminates a class of social interaction as well as making the city less space-efficient.

The only way the system will support individual camps coordinating their placement is if A) an actual map showing everyone their exact neighbors was published well in advance of the event, and B) if camps were allowed to negotiate changes in position and space allocation with each other in advance of the event.
Last edited by Lucifer on Mon Oct 06, 2003 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby sugarlarry » Mon Oct 06, 2003 1:56 pm

Interesting idea, but I think that basically this will lead to us creating ghettos within our city, and this might only serve to enhance the problem.

For the time being, people are forced to interact with all sorts of different people. As a result we do actually have community standards, and these are basically upheld. If you ghettoize things you may loose this as people stay away from the different sectors. These sectors may as a result become worse as there are few around to check the behavior of the lowest common denominator. Also, we may loose some of the diversity provided by these groups within our larger commuinity, and that would kinda suck. Still I do think that maybe the city plan needs a re-thinking, and perhaps the points outlined in this proposal need to be taken into account.

Personally I don't think there is a huge problem. It doesn't matter where we gather, or what we do, we'll always be troubled by the occasional idiot. Our only hope is that some of these people are straddling a line, and may be won over to our side. Maybe it's because I haven't really experienced any truly bad interactions, but I just don't see the "fratboy" problem as all that big a deal.

Is it possible that in our own small way fratboys are to Burning Man as immigrants are to America? By this I mean are they suitable villians on which we may pin all of our society's ills?
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Postby shitmouse » Mon Oct 06, 2003 3:09 pm

i do agree with the statement "uncomfortably comfortable. layout changes to the city would be fun and it would bring back some unpredictabilty as well. looking on the brighter side of a "ghettoe'ed" hood might re-freshen too as i don't really think any one social group will take up one city in a negative attribute so tp speak.
i think the chips will camp where they fall.

i love the idea of each city having a related theme, but i guess that could introduce more planned space than show-up-and-camp space. ?? or not. live in what part of the theme you'd like. grab your space and have fun.

and heck, getting lost within a new city would occupy hours of fun and mayhem.
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Postby TheJudge » Tue Oct 07, 2003 10:37 am

Lucifer wrote: A further downside is that plenty of folks just give up on exploring, and never realize how much cool stuff is hidden out there.


Isn't that what's currently happening in BRC anyway?
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Postby bounce » Tue Oct 07, 2003 10:55 am

Just two cents from a lurker.
I strongly agree that some type of structural change in the layout of BM would help bring some of the novelty back to the event. The layout has been absolutely the same at least since '97. While complete chaos in the placements of the themecamps and villages would be impractical, I think just changing over to another strickly adhered to design would eventually result in the problems we have now. We need to somehow find a good balance between the two. I think a lot of the gripes about burning man can in some way be directed by the concentration of the larger theme camps on the esplanade. While we all feel, at least I do, that there has been an increase in the number of yahoos, fratboys, ect, I'm willing to bet that this perception is wrong...the proportions have probably stayed relatively stable over the years, though I admit I have nothing to back this up. I think that the reason why it seems there is more of a yahoo element is since all of the 'major' structures are located on the esplanade, you get the largest concentration of people there at all times. This also results in increased concentration of moop in posibly the most visual area of the playa. If we could disperse the theme camps throughout the city, this would reduce the likelihood of any large concentration of people in one general area of the city, promote more exploration and interaction with others, and 'hopefully' decrease the likelihood of negative interactions with jerk-off spectators....they won't all be on the esplanade, hoping to see sex acts or running into people with their bikes. Well, thats just my two cents.
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Postby lurker » Tue Oct 07, 2003 11:15 am

If you adopted the randomization idea, while keeping the basic shape of BRC, the center would generate itself--plus, if you kept essential services centralized you'd have a 'city center' type hub. Randomizing the big camps and 'attraction' style art and performance areas would keep the center mostly utilitarian.

The big camps and pieces usually get there early, so an additional behavior would manifest itself. Besides structured villages, you'd get people moving into areas near things they enjoyed--which would accomplish the creation of homogenous communities, like the donut idea, while keeping a street system that people are used to.

The problem that LA has with it's 'decentralization' is that it's fissioned into several smaller cities but it's still trying to act like it's all one piece. BRC can 'villagize' easily--and it's size cuts down on the hassle of decentralization
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