West-splanade?

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

West-splanade?

Postby diane o'thirst » Tue Oct 05, 2004 11:21 pm

We had a discussion on the Opera list today. Some of our members were complaining about the noise level on the Esplanade and the whine, rattle and stink emitted by the dozens of generators powering the sound systems — many of which exceeded the "200 decibels at 50 yards" limit — that surrounded us.

One guy suggested that the Rangers should be equipped with sound monitor devices and the authority to confiscate the speakers of camps that violated the rule. I rather thought that was a bad idea as the trigger word for many a flamefest is "should." And as we know, there is no "they," it is up to "us."

To be fair, the Esplanade facing the Playa is the pulseline of BRC and the price you pay for placement along it is that you sacrifice peace and quiet. For that, you need to go back to the Exodus Street, hereafter referred to as "Sedna" because it saves keystrokes.

Opera Camp has always been a centre for rituals, learning various singing arts, acting, acoustic performance and quieter, more mystical pursuits. I floated the suggestion that we move off the Esplanade and back onto Sedna, perhaps near Hushville and AEZ, and further, I suggested that we turn Sedna into a sort of "ambient Esplanade," just as visual and interactive, but where gas-powered generators, large sound systems and other noisemakers are heavily restricted or even banned. I further posited that if we get enough camps together, we may even be able to designate the area as a "no cruise" zone that the art cars would either detour around, or only allow art cars without a big sound system in order to preserve the neighbourhood's quietness.

There are pros and cons, of course. Pros: Quiet, larger camp spaces, easier logistics, everyone who comes into the city would see this "chill zone" and know they could come back if they wanted to catch an acoustic performance, get a massage, learn yoga, et alia. The cons would be we'd be the first to get hit with weather, lots of people would refuse to come because of the remoteness, et alia.

What thinkest ye?
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Postby geekster » Tue Oct 05, 2004 11:55 pm

hmmm. My problem is the mountains just beyond. Point all that high powered sound at them and it all comes echoing back. Could be kinda gross sounding if you are standing at the man.

How about a different approach that is almost a compromise to the old "rave camp" a couple of miles out. How about having Sound City out beyond the man ... maybe where the temple was in 04 ... with the speakers pointed out into deep playa space. Close enough to walk to, far enough to ease the noise, and nothing to echo the sound back with any intensity.

Just a slight modification of your good idea by moving it a little.
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Postby stuart » Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:46 pm

I think that is a really cool idea. I love the view of the city from the backside during the day. It's a great alternative. Would the power for your night time visual impact come from solar?
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Postby diane o'thirst » Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:58 pm

Geekster, I think you misunderstood me. The loud, party-oriented camps would stay on the Esplanade facing the Man, where they are now, and the quiet camps would move to the back street and set up an alternative, "quiet" Esplanade. Probably the loudest things would be the drum circles but we can maybe keep those towards the north end, where the sound doesn't deflect off the mountains.

The solar thing was a good idea, Stuart. Right now, this is all hypothetical, I'm still waiting to hear back from my campmates as to whether we'd even go for it. It's in the "I move that..." stage, no seconds yet.
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Re: West-splanade?

Postby playasnake » Wed Oct 06, 2004 3:01 pm

diane o'thirst wrote: many of which exceeded the "200 decibels at 50 yards" limit — that surrounded us.


might want to check that number... id be seriously surprised if anyone broke 100db at 50 yards. 200 db would blow your eardrums. literally. as in blood pouring out. a gunshot is around 140, and its a logarithmic scale.

Dont get me wrong, I like your promenade idea... (seemed like a good name for it)... just wanted you to have your numbers right....
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Postby Dustdevil » Wed Oct 06, 2004 3:30 pm

The 200db figure is WAY too high. I believe that my fire art project is hands down the loudest non-music item on the Playa. The turbine engine that powers the flame thrower makes 147db @ 50 yards. We supply ear protection for anyone close by when it is in operation. As the operator I wear ear plugs and noise cancelling headsets. 147db is beyond my pain threshold. I do like idea of music beyond the Man, even if that wasn't your intent.
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Postby diane o'thirst » Wed Oct 06, 2004 3:34 pm

Playasnake...Right — I'm a writer, not a mathematician...and I should know that because I really did have my ear blown out, though not at the desert event...

Stand corrected :)
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Postby Badger » Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:31 pm

Probably the loudest things would be the drum circles but we can maybe keep those towards the north end [of the South Pole], where the sound doesn't deflect off the [Trans-Antarctic] mountains.
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Postby Kiba » Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:43 pm

As far as moving from the Esplanade, I would say DO IT! As a musician/vocalist, I would be more interested in listening/participating if it were more remote where the music can be experienced. I brought my recorder this year, but ended up playing it at select places because well,... recorders aren't the most pronounced of instruments and was often drowned out by the beats and music of other camps, installments, and art cars. No disrespect to those with the three previous, but making music is a spiritual thing for me and having dueling DJs overpowering everything is somewhat disheartening and unmotivating.
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Postby heat » Fri Oct 08, 2004 5:08 pm

I love the idea. That way those of us with multi facted personalities can indulge and participate on all fronts.
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Re: West-splanade?

Postby MoisturePup » Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:12 pm

diane o'thirst wrote:
There are pros and cons, of course. Pros: Quiet, larger camp spaces, easier logistics, everyone who comes into the city would see this "chill zone" and know they could come back if they wanted to catch an acoustic performance, get a massage, learn yoga, et alia. The cons would be we'd be the first to get hit with weather, lots of people would refuse to come because of the remoteness, et alia.

What thinkest ye?


You know what... it may not be a bad idea to have some more theme camps on Sedna. Wouldn't that have the effect of pulling the suburbs back into the mix, making participation easier?
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Postby diane o'thirst » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:15 pm

Bumping this because the question of "Loud" and "Not As Loud" sections of the City has come up again.

It's been a couple years since there was active discussion of a "Quiet Promenade" along the back street of BRC and naturally, the event has changed. But I did a couple recon runs of Hope Street this year at several different timeframes: afternoon, mid-evening and late at night. It was *very* quiet back there, lots of smaller RV encampments and private camps, and at night rather dark. Kind of spooky when armed with only a dimmish solar spotlight and a headlamp.

My camp was placed about as In-The-Middle as you could get, 6:25 and Eager. We had some quiet camps around us and one camp that blasted funk, rap and disco but only during the day. Most of the noise fallout came from mutant vehicles cruising around the Playa and the dance camps up a few blocks on the Esplanade.

I'd like to hear from anybody who camped on the back street. Would a cluster of well-lit, but aurally quiet theme camps located on the back street — say, zendos, snuggle domes, massage camps or voice techniques/singing camps — be disruptive? Do you camp there to completely get away from noise and blinkenlights?
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:24 pm

This is a good idea, in my opinion, and should be done. It would provide a known location for truly quiet camps besides walk-in and hushville (both of which have rather severe entry hurdles currently). It would encourage acoustic artists (singers, guitars, etc) to bring their artform more often. I might even choose to camp there, although it would mean giving up the "casual neighborhood bar w/ mild sound system that is easy to chat with someone next to you" that I have enjoyed for so many years. People could tell their friends "we will be camped somewhere on the Promenade" without having to register for space, and they could still (likely) be found. Or you could agree on your Org placement app that you will have no generator and no amplified sound, and get placed there.

It does not resolve the enforcement issue, however. It might be easier to resolve since the rule could be "no amplified sound or generators, period" like Hushville has, but someone would still need to see that the rules are followed (like Hushville does). Then there is the probability that someone would abuse it (giant drums or swiss horns), but still technically meet the rules. And still use the "fuck you, this is Burningman, and I meet the guidelines to be here" arguement. Less likely,perhaps, but as the city grows....btw; who enforces walk-in camping rules now? If I drove my vehicle into walk-in camping, shouting "fuck you" to everyone who tried to stop me, who would make me leave?

It also does not resolve the issue of sound camps that want a quiet music option (background music that can be talked over) during reasonable hours, but still be able to sleep from midnight on. Or people who have no music at all, but want to use a generator for their light art.

Which brings us back to the SPL arguement. Maybe the Promenade (sedna) has a 70db max limit, the LSSC have no limit, and the rest of the city has the 90db limit. Then encourage self enforcement thru education and the widespread use of SPL meters, followed by bullhorns, sit-downs, or the like as appropriate by individuals that are motivated to do so. And if a situation starts to get really ugly, maybe then the Rangers or the Org would finally step in before someone gets seriously hurt.

And of course, there would be some people displaced (RV's say, who now camp there and use their generators).
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Postby skygod » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:36 am

It was pretty quiet at 2:30 and Hope. I do like to intersperse the maddening thumpa-thumpa with relative quiet occasionally. Traveling from one extreme to the other is nice, staying in one extreme is boring and unhealthy.
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Postby gaminwench » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:39 am

i like the 'sound camps' past the man idea alot...Our camp hosted yoga, singing classes, live music,etc. When placement was announced, we were concerned with our location-8:30 & Esp- the closest to the end (and sound camps) we'd ever been. Contacting our neighbors pre- playa, we found that we were the only 'sound dependent camp' on the block. End Result- we were a block from large sound(faced out to the playa), on the esplanade, and had the quietest year ever! Perhaps all of the 'acoustic' (i use this term loosely) camps could come together and create a 'zone' on the esplanade- a couple of blocks of LIVE stuff-no big DJ systems or whatever the parameters agreed on. It seems that the org does try to accomodate neighbor requests- we're usually very happy with our 'block'; they also LOVE it when camps cooperate for the better of the community- this year we got ALL of our neighbors (3oo folks) to share a bio-diesel genny-what aural bliss!!! let's keep thinking on this one!!!
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Postby gaminwench » Fri Sep 29, 2006 8:42 am

i like the 'sound camps' past the man idea alot...Our camp hosted yoga, singing classes, live music,etc. When placement was announced, we were concerned with our location-8:30 & Esp- the closest to the end (and sound camps) we'd ever been. Contacting our neighbors pre- playa, we found that we were the only 'sound dependent camp' on the block. End Result- we were a block from large sound(faced out to the playa), on the esplanade, and had the quietest year ever! Perhaps all of the 'acoustic' (i use this term loosely) camps could come together and create a 'zone' on the esplanade- a couple of blocks of LIVE stuff-no big DJ systems or whatever the parameters agreed on. It seems that the org does try to accomodate neighbor requests- we're usually very happy with our 'block'; they also LOVE it when camps cooperate for the better of the community- this year we got ALL of our neighbors (3oo folks) to share a bio-diesel genny-what aural bliss!!! let's keep thinking on this one!!!
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Re: West-splanade?

Postby Cabanasprings » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:04 am

MoisturePup wrote:
diane o'thirst wrote:
There are pros and cons, of course. Pros: Quiet, larger camp spaces, easier logistics, everyone who comes into the city would see this "chill zone" and know they could come back if they wanted to catch an acoustic performance, get a massage, learn yoga, et alia. The cons would be we'd be the first to get hit with weather, lots of people would refuse to come because of the remoteness, et alia.

What thinkest ye?


You know what... it may not be a bad idea to have some more theme camps on Sedna. Wouldn't that have the effect of pulling the suburbs back into the mix, making participation easier?


"Making participation easier"! That is is without a doubt the stupidest remark I have ever heard.

First off - you can't "pull the burbs back into the mix" because they never were in the mix. That is why they are call the "burbs." duh.

Second - WTF - "making participation easier." For who? For you? We camp in the burbs and our participation is very fucking easy. So leave it alone. I love camping in the burbs and listening to all you fucking lunatics going crazy all night. I honestly love it. But I don't want to camp right next to it. Our camp is right on the street and we invite passers-by to join us for frisbee and drinks, to smoke and to share our food and water. We create art that we share. We go to bars at night bearing mixers and cool wit.

Finally, Are you really promoting annexation? If you thought about what you said for a moment, you would realize that if you put theme camps in the burbs, the burbs would migrate to another location. Sort of a Burningman urban sprawl. Moving the theme camps out as they have in the last two years has deminished my experience enough.

Anyway - bad idea.
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:25 am

gaminwench wrote:...When placement was announced, we were concerned with our location-8:30 & Esp- the closest to the end (and sound camps) we'd ever been. Contacting our neighbors pre- playa, we found that we were the only 'sound dependent camp' on the block. End Result- we were a block from large sound(faced out to the playa), on the esplanade, and had the quietest year ever!


We were practically neghbors, then! Was your camp the one at around 8:31? Mine was "The Playground" at 8:28 (with Blunderland being the dance dome / bar). I was worried that we might be too loud, sounds like maybe my efforts payed off somewhat).
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Postby gaminwench » Fri Sep 29, 2006 6:44 pm

we were 8:30-8:43-DOTA & OBOP with Monkey Puzzle on the backside; we teamed with Camp I Am to share genny and water and ended up with all our across-the-street neighbors on Anxious hooked up, too...I heard *alot* that folks really enjoyed the 8-9 section of the esplanade"cause it was quieter and more artsy"YEA! We hosted bands on top of a bigbox trailer fri/sat- it wasn't LOUD, just good! I danced in your dome one night and thoroughly enjoyed it, thanx for a great time!!!
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Postby SED » Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:22 pm

Everything, everywhere should be a lot louder.
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Postby skygod » Sun Oct 01, 2006 3:30 pm

SED wrote:Everything, everywhere should be a lot louder.

If Everything is Loud, then nothing is.
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Postby SED » Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:50 pm

Well of course, I didn't say loud, I said louder. But you're right, so porblem solved.
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Postby skygod » Mon Oct 02, 2006 5:46 pm

Hmmm. It would be best if I could walk from a really quiet area to a really noisy area. Then back , when I'm numb.
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It failed before

Postby bradtem » Sat Oct 07, 2006 12:44 pm

For a couple of years, they tried a "south (2) is quiet, north (10) is loud" rule.

They gave up because nobody followed it. Not even the placers. We were a quiet camp, placed at 3 or so, next to space lounge, a loud rave camp.

Now the placers could probably learn to follow the rule, but with so many people not following the 300 watt rule they have today, will we do much better? It would be great if it could work, but it's been tried and abandoned already.
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Postby skygod » Sat Oct 07, 2006 2:43 pm

Noise is like fire. I don't care if it's 1000 watts as long as it's in the right place. That kind of organization is unlikely with this many people, but it does happen sometimes.
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