EVENT (r)EVOLUTION

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

EVENT (r)EVOLUTION

Postby ecliptic » Thu Oct 02, 2003 2:49 pm

I wanted to start this thread in the 2004 file, but of the three listed, I didn’t find it appropriate in any of them. I’ve seen post after post of criticism of Burning Man. Mostly due to run-ins with yahoos, frat boys, and sleeze bags. All the recommendations I’ve seen for correcting the situation, is generally along the line of closing the gates early, or restricting ticket sales during the event. Well I wanted to start some radical thinking on how to really start change for the better, and try to keep most people happy in the process. This is what I’ve come up with. Before anyone starts to tear me or my idea apart, please try to genuinely look at how this may affect the event. What I’m proposing is a change to layout of Black Rock City itself. I’ll do my best to explain. Perhaps the most common reason given for the problems surfacing at BRC is the size that it’s grown to. The layout I’ve come up with I think addresses this problem. Instead of creating one massive city, I think it should be broken up into several individual communities within BRC. The outline I’ve drawn up should give a good idea. Let’s say we create five individual camps (cities) in a circular design. Each city would have it’s own esplanade, either on the inner ring, or on the outer ring. The secondary rings and back, would contain the camping areas. People could choose which city they want to camp in based on what they relate to the most. The outer cities could contain the sound camps, possibly have one city dedicated to the more overtly sexual camps, and the others could be decided later, or just variously art themed cities. The two bottom cities, near center camp city, could contain Hushville, or Kidsville. These are just ideas, but you get where I’m coming from. I believe that splitting BRC up like this would bring back the closer-knit community spirit that seems to fade the larger the event grows. Residents of each city would be more than welcome to travel to the other cities. Creating smaller communities would also allow us to better identify where the problems lie. A lot of criticism is directed towards certain camps, or the people that choose to affiliate themselves with those camps. Smaller communities within BRC would allow people to choose where, and with whom, they want to reside and remain all inclusive. The current configuration of BRC is one massive strip of camps and campers, and can be difficult to get to know your neighbors based on lifestyle and other factors. Not to mention it adds to the difficulty of watching over your belongings and camp in general. I only ask that this be taken into consideration. I really just wanted to open discussion on genuine ways to make everyone’s experience more enjoyable. I’m sure there will be criticism of this idea as well, but I haven’t heard many ideas to improve Burning Man that didn’t involve restricting admittance. This is just a rough image of what I have in mind. Well, what do you think?

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Last edited by ecliptic on Tue Oct 07, 2003 11:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby consumer » Thu Oct 02, 2003 3:12 pm

Tolerance, acceptance and embracing is a big part of brc to me.
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cool idea mang.

Postby shitmouse » Thu Oct 02, 2003 3:42 pm

i think it's a good idea to at least ponder.
as a designer i think that idea has some good points to it.
the one thing that came instantly to me about the layout was, will this layout of cities create an "us vs. them" stance? people do that naturally anyway, and i could see a small snag, but then again we are talking about a very unique city(s), and in the big picture it's a very organic city as well, and people don't normally tend to stick to certain parts of the city.

the added cities would be fun with respects to navigation after the burn. i think a lot of people use the man as a guide to where their camps are on the playa-time layout. -(3,6,9,12) and after the burn, your orientation can get foobled if your not on your game or didn't pay enough attention to landmarks. throwing several cities in would be a blast in that respect.

trafficc could pose some probs, and if people are exiting the event on a sunday car-induced dust storm, it could be dangerous to navigate the playa out to the exit. but i still think it's a cool idea.

if each city could harbour a theme of it's own in regards to burningman's general theme, that would be very cool as well. so they all could work together.

thanks for your cool thoughts and posting them here. hopefully some good suggestions and comments will arise.
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Postby III » Fri Oct 03, 2003 11:09 am

it's a great idea. it's been repeatedly proposed since at least '97, or so (and usually referred to as "the donut plan"). i've stopped holding my breath.
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Postby consumer » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:27 pm

Enclosed circles are something that will never happen at BRC.
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Postby ecliptic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:44 pm

consumer wrote:Enclosed circles are something that will never happen at BRC.


Please explain why you feel this way, keeping the cliches to a minimum.
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Postby Kinetic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:45 pm

consumer wrote:Enclosed circles are something that will never happen at BRC.


Considering the chaos and unpredictablity that is BRC, I'm curious why you feel this way!
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Postby TheJudge » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:46 pm

Good job on making a suggestion rather than just bitching about the problem.

Logistics for infrastructure would be difficult and I agree that it would definitely create an "us vs them" mentality, no matter how hard you tried not to.

I think that our current approach to villages helps to solve a lot of the problems you addressed, but I'm also not opposed to change.

Have you run it by the Borg?
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Postby ecliptic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:55 pm

TheJudge wrote:
Have you run it by the Borg?


Well I was hoping that this would be a good forum for them to see it in. I hear rumors that they do read these boards. I think that there's going to be an "us vs. them" mentality no matter what the configuration of the city. I think it already exists. At least this plan makes it so that you wouldn't necessarily be camped right next to "them". Smaller communities within BRC would also make it easier to know your neighbors. I don't think it's any different than say regional groups now.
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Postby III » Fri Oct 03, 2003 1:44 pm

there already are enclosed circles at brc: just look at center camp.

the reason that the city is open at the far end is so that larry and his visitors see an open expanse of desert behind the man when they wake up every morning. that could be preserved with the above plan, so i don't think that's an issue.

the only large obstacle i see is that travel between the donuts would demand large scale motorized transport. but, that's solveable by adding a dmv requirement that alo art cars must seat at least 8 people, and only allow travel on a path between the donuts.

(oh, and it would screw up esplanade and theme camp planning, which would wreak havoc with the currently carefully established control structure.)
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Postby consumer » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:10 pm

Center Camp is not enclosed... there's a large "key hole".

from a Larry lecture:

"We've told people: okay, you've got your tight little world of your mates and your friends, and you're bonded together - that's like a lot of sub-cultures in our world - but we've said don't close the circle. You cannot close the circle. You've got to leave it open so you can bridge out to a larger world, so that you can credit the world outside your circle with as much reality as you see in those around you. And, indeed, so that you can feel that the great world has the same reality, the same sense of inner reality that you feel in yourself. And the shape of our city is like that. It's planned as a huge semicircle and the Man is at the geographic center and the streets come out like this [gestures in an arc], and one time they said "Larry why don't you just close that circle," and I said, "Good God, we'd go psychotic. Don't close the circle!"

I don't think his word is the gospel, but he does control the design of the city.
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Postby consumer » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:15 pm

One of the problems with this suggested re-design is that it doesn't bring us any closer to finding out "who are the litterbugs?" "who is stealing?"

If there's a massive party going on in "sex town" that attracts 50% of the people from "rave town" - how do you account for who left the trash? And while 50% of "rave town" is empty, wouldn't it be easier for the evildoers of "hushville" to come over and steal things?

I like the idea of all of us being bunched up together and having to figure out how to get along one by one.
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Postby III » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:17 pm

well, not *completely* enlcosed. you gotta drive in and out. so there are roadways. and the keyway never struck me as much more than a wide road.

but, then, how about the outposts? do those count as closed?
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Postby consumer » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:22 pm

III wrote:but, then, how about the outposts? do those count as closed?


In my opinion, no - they are wide open on one end and fairly open on the opposite end where the road meets.

Currently, its impossible to travel on any single street and not end up onto empty playa. I know that there's "Karmic Loop" around center camp, but that dumps into the "keyhole".
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Postby III » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:26 pm

>In my opinion, no

then, to bring this back on track again, this isn't really a decent objection to the donuts, since they can be made at least as open as the plazas are.

i find the "keep everyone in one big group" thing more convincing, though i'm not sure the current model really does that either.
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Postby ecliptic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:44 pm

Also, if you look closely, the circles are not completely closed. There would be roads in the north, south, east, and west cutting through the circles. As far as esplanade planning goes, each would have their own. I was trying to decide weather it would be better to have them on the inside ring or the outside. I think the outside is probably the better choice. It would make the cities more inviting & appealing from a distance, and they would provide protection to the campers within the circle.
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Postby Ivy » Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:17 pm

Honestly, I'm not trying to sound critical, and I love the fact that you are actively proposing ideas--I think an alternate city structure is interesting and I'd sure love to see all sorts of ideas regarding this.

My inital, gut impression on reading your idea, though, is segregation. Eash little group ("sex," "rave," kids," whatever) is in it's own little circle.

Now, granted, there is Jiffy Lube and Kidsville and what-all and they are "enclosed' in the fact that theya re their own camps/villages, but one thing I love about the current layout is that these things end up next to each other. Your neighbors are random. It is both a positive thing (meet new people you like) and a negative thing( being camped next to a rave camp?). But it's the juxtaposition that I think is cool. It shaes people up to a certain extent, exposes them to things they might not otherwise come in contact with, and helps to push boundaries (if that's some sort of core value that appeals to you...)

Just my first impression.
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Postby stuart » Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:39 pm

1st, cool thread. And props to you for your input.

I find the idea of a different kind of city layout rather exciting. Not for any practical purpose but just for the newness of it.

I thought the reason they took the 'ravecamp' and incorporated it was because lotso people were getting hurt travelling from one thing to another way far away and people in vehicles being motivated to exceed the speed limit to get from A to B. Your proposal would create that risk again. But I certainly don't give a shit.

One thing that scares me a little is the polarization. How do I know which burg I want to be in? We had loud music but were under the 150 watt limit. I mean, I don't want to be camped next to sol system. I also don't want to be in a 'sexually themed city', but I don't mind the neighbors gettin it on. How would you know where to go?
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Postby BurningGirl » Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:43 pm

I agree with Ivy on the boundary pushing...and I feel that the segregation part would inevitably end up with people either feeling like visitors or tourists...I think that BM is ALL of our homes. Besides...if you are uncomfortable witnessing the Radical Self Expression of others whatever that may be!!! then why did you come to Burning Man?? Go to Vegas or something. (by the way, that's a collective YOU...not trying to be personal here).

This is a very productive thread though. I tend to think that some kind of limit on ticket sales would be the answer.
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Postby ecliptic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 3:44 pm

No, I don't think you sound critical at all. I wanted to post this hear to start dicussion on making the event better. Maybe it won't be my idea, but talking about it is the first step to change. I think I was inspired to do this by the "Why I'm not going back to Burning Man" thread. Instead of just bitching about the way things are, I wanted to start some real discussion on how to improve it. This is my idea. And from what Trey says, apparently this isn't the first time it's been suggested.

I thought about the segregation factor, but segregation is going to happen no matter what the configuration. People just tend to stick to what's familiar. Pushing boundries is a major part of what Burning Man is about, and I don't think this changes that. I think it's just a way to make the event evolve while adressing the concerns people have. Most of those concerns seem to relate to the size that the event has grown to. Having smaller communities within the city would make the perception of the event to be smaller, closer knit. The individual communities wouldn't necessarily have to be based on camp type either. You could base them on region, like the regional groups we have now. I personally think it would be a blast to navigate different cities. I don't think people would segregate themselves any more than they are now either. I think it could almost be a tribal community.

Anyway, now that the dicussion is open, hopefully others will post their ideas.
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Postby III » Fri Oct 03, 2003 4:44 pm

i'm not sure how seriously it's been pushed before, but i'm pretty sure rod's considered it and dumped it on the waste heap.

i suspect that, rather than using real categories that people are expected to adhere to, you'd probably end up naming the donuts something theme related, kind of in the same fashion the concentric streets are named now.

there's a lot less baggage associated with "cobalt" than there is with "rave"
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Postby III » Fri Oct 03, 2003 4:54 pm

>others will post their ideas

hooee. awright, though this is gonna be even less popular than yours is.

keep one city. keep it kind of the same shape it is now, a big 2/3 arc.

get rid of center camp as it is now.

get rid of theme camp placement, and art placement.

make the inner road half as far across as it is now (bout 1000 feet from the man).

prohibit art placement inside that circle. instead, allow people to set it up around the outside of the city.

put services (medical, ranger hq, media mecca, playainfo etc) all in one spot in the middle of the city (i.e. not near the inner *or* outer circles.)

let people camp on a first come, first served basis regardless of whether they have theme camps or not. if they need to reserve space for a large group (say, more than 50 people), restrict them to the interior of the city.
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Postby Todd in Seattle » Fri Oct 03, 2003 5:12 pm

Hooray for ECLIPTIC! I LOVE this thread. One of the reasons (hell, the main reason) I came to BurningMan was to get out of my (boring) routine and comfort zone. But now, after four straight years, I have to say I'm uncomfortably comfortable again. I know (almost) exactly what to expect. I'm surprised the BORG is so afraid to make even the smallest change. I'm sure they don't want to goof and alienate everyone, but a little experimentation would be a good thing, IMHO.
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Postby TheJudge » Fri Oct 03, 2003 5:15 pm

Hey, while we're at it, lets get rid of the theme. Why do we have to pigeon-hole someone's art to fit into some pre-determined category?

I say keep center camp, but get rid of the coffee/tea/latte/chai/matte/ whateverthefuck sales. If you NEED caffiene to get started in the mornings, then bring the water and the beans your own damn self. While you are at it, share some of it with you neighbors and promote community rather than commercialism.

Make the city bigger and move it back out onto the playa - OK, I realize that this one is impossible because of the liability and BLM requirements, but it sure would be nice to be out in the middle of nowhere and really feel like you are out in the middle of nowhere.

Personally, I like the design of the city. The layout works well and its also quite beautiful. But if some other design comes up, let the citizens vote on it.
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Postby precipitate » Fri Oct 03, 2003 5:19 pm

> I'm sure they don't want to goof and alienate everyone, but a little
> experimentation would be a good thing, IMHO.

You say that now, but look at what a huge fiasco changing the clock
system to degrees was. People just rebelled. Or got lost. And complained
and complained.

I think the LLC has an if it ain't broke, don't fix it attitude. Which is great
for them, because they don't consider the city broke. I, on the other
hand, think that this push towards more control, more tourist attractions
(Esplanade) and corporate-funded art is not necessarily positive.

I doubt I'm going to make Larry see eye-to-eye with me on that. And
after all, it's his company and his vision making this thing happen. I don't
agree with him, but I also recognize that this isn't a democracy.

But I love seeing discussion on these kinds of issues. I think it'd be really
helpful to define alternate ways of looking at the community that
develops at Burning Man, and discover ways to foster the good and
reduce the bad.
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Postby ecliptic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 5:58 pm

So I guess Larry is our Dictator in a sense. That's a can of worms I don't think I want to open.
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Postby Ivy » Fri Oct 03, 2003 6:39 pm

I believe I've eben heard the Ord refer to him as the "benevolent dictator."

I like Try's idea about, if the donut example was implemented, randomly distributing people/camps/etc amongst the donuts. That would allow for the randomness that I think is achieved now in the city deasign that I didn't see in your original donut idea. Becuase I dunno about anyone else, but I sure don't wanna camp with a donut full of (other) people from LA!

P, good point about the clock. I didn't even think of that. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

On a completely different and totally personally opinionated note, I find the current layout (maps, aerial, etc.) more aesthecially pleasing.
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Postby Kinetic » Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:34 pm

I like Trey's idea...I proposed another idea kinda similar last week...here's the quick version:
http://tinyurl.com/po4c

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.

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.


A couple of additions to the above. I'm for keeping Camp Artica and coffee/tea sales at Center Camp. Without center camp I doubt I would have tried Chai Tea and fell in love with it. (Now if I could only find that kind of Chai around here!) I like Ivy's comments about the juxtaposition of the various camps, that's part of what makes BM what it is, imho.

Whatever changes are made people are going to bitch about so in one respect I like having the "benevolent dictator" being able to come in and decree: "It is so", and voila, it's done. I could go on but I'll shut up and see what other ideas are proposed. At least I'm seeing ideas and not just bitching, that's a plus.
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Postby Todd in Seattle » Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:37 pm

precipitate wrote:> I'm sure they don't want to goof and alienate everyone, but a little experimentation would be a good thing, IMHO.

You say that now, but look at what a huge fiasco changing the clock
system to degrees was. People just rebelled. Or got lost. And complained
and complained.


I'll say it now and then. I'm not at all expecting every change to be for the good. Sometimes change is worthwhile for no other reason that it is a change. Surprise me, disapoint me, just don't bore me to death.

And yeah, kick the caffeine drinkers out of center (STARBUCKS) camp; they should do it like Camp Arctica. Hell, they could use the exactly the same design as Arctica, just add a little round handle on the side and it would look like an upside down coffee mug. It has always seemed very strange to me to use the most prominent structure in center camp for commerce. It gives the impression that the entire event is built around the selling of coffee.
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Postby stu » Fri Oct 03, 2003 7:55 pm

> It gives the impression that the entire event is built around the selling of coffee.

And, as someone from Seattle, your objection is?
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