It’s Not About Rules, It’s About People – “Too Offensive for Burning Man?” part 3

So okay, quick recap:

In part one we examined the question of whether there even is a kind of “offensive” art that might need to be responded to by Burning Man organizers (there is) and what that might be (art or actions that make someone’s participation in an authentic community impossible, or at least utterly unreasonable), and came up with a term for it: “acidic art.” Denying that this is possible isn’t helpful: people really can be that corrosive to the communities around them, which – come one – we all know is true if we give it a moment’s thought. At the same time, trying to be “art police” is an easy step to destroying what we love – we don’t want to take that mantle on.

In part two we looked at the most common reaction to such problems: an attempt to put one Principle above another, either saying “Radical Self-Expression is more important than Radical Inclusion, so we can’t hold artists accountable” or “Radical Inclusion is more important than Radical Self-Expression, so we can’t let artists get too offensive.” Neither, we realized, is a good idea: both end up doing much more harm to Burning Man culture than good. We want both as much Radical Self-Expression AND as much Radical Inclusion as we can possibly get: attempts to decide “which is more important” sacrifice both.

 


This is the third in a four-part series on how best to handle art that disrupts communities.  The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Burning Man Project. Once published, the whole series can be found here.


 

Instead, the best approach is to use Radical Inclusion, Radical Self-Expression, and the other 10 Principles as tools with which to solve the situation.

So what does that look like?

Put bluntly: it looks situational, specific, and contingent, rather than abstract, generalizable, and universal.

When you talk about this as abstractions, you end up creating rubrics and hierarchies that take agency away from the people actually dealing with the situation:  saying “well, these are the lines where, if somebody crosses it, you ban them” is telling people not to participate in thinking this through themselves, to not be civically responsible or engage in Communal Effort or acts of self-expression to try solving the problem that’s right in front of them.  Saying “here’s a three point system, and if all three points are triggered, then you eject somebody” tells people “you don’t have to do anything, there’s a system to take care of it.”  At which point you’re telling them to be spectators. (It also encourages artists to game the system, rather than to actually think about the impact their work is having.)

We run into trouble, in other words, when we try to solve the issue of acidic art by trying to create standards and practices that will work for all people in every situation, instead of dealing with the specific people in the specific situation we have in front of us, and figuring out what works best right here and now.

So you start by focusing on the people. What are they actually doing? What are they actually telling you?

Would you put up with this shit?

Let’s start with the people saying they’re offended. People being what they are, there will be times when this is just ridiculous or silly, or at least not actionable.  Somebody’s offended – so what?  But those aren’t the times we’re considering. Again, someone simply being offended or angry about an art piece is par for the course – in fact, it might very well be a sign of success. If art is offensive as opposed to acidic, we’re not worried about it, and might even celebrate it.

But there is a clear difference between “I am offended or angry” and “you can’t reasonably expect me to stay here under these conditions.” Between “This is outrageous” and “this makes my own good faith participation impossible.” And that’s a difference that needs to be examined closely any time it comes up.

Some of those times will be obvious – someone who follows complete strangers around saying “I’m going to kill you and your family in your sleep” and brandishing a knife doesn’t get much of a pass when he says “But it’s my art project! Of COURSE I’m not really going to hurt them! I’m playing with social expectations!” I mean, hey, maybe that’s true, and there’s even a conversation to be had there, but it’s obvious why someone would respond “you can’t reasonably expect me to stay here when there’s a stranger with a knife threatening to kill me and my family in their sleep. Even if he says its art.”

Obvious to anybody.

It’s the cases which are not obvious to anybody – which potentially fall into our blind spots – which need closer examination. Where we need to be especially careful, and especially good listeners.

And that is the first thing that we are called to do when someone comes to us saying some version of “you can’t reasonably expect me to stay here under these conditions.” To listen. To have the conversation, and to make sure they are heard. Even if you don’t understand what they’re talking about. Especially if you don’t.

Fairly often (at least in what I’ve encountered and in encounters that have been related to me) the issue is precisely that we lack a shared context. This has come up in particular regarding racially sensitive issues. Burners, as an overwhelmingly Caucasian populace, have a tendency to see racially charged symbols as symbols to explore, rather than as warning signs that “you and yours are not welcome here.” And, of course, racially charged symbols can indeed be symbols to explore – but it is absolutely not unreasonable for people who belong to historically targeted populations to think that perhaps they are targets where these symbols appear.

I mean, that’s the point. That’s literally what those symbols were for. To warn people that if you stay here, you will get hurt. To dehumanize specific people so as to justify their treatment as non-people. That’s what they did. It is not at all unreasonable for members of targeted populations to, you know, feel targeted by symbols meant to target them. And it is understandable if assurances that “no no, we’re using these symbols for art, we’re exploring them” fall on deaf ears, especially if nobody has even tried having that conversation, but just assumed everybody gets it.

I don’t see a circumstance arising in which there’s ever a blanket ban on the use of charged and history laden symbols – sometimes those are the ones that most need artistic exploration – but the assumption that “everybody gets it,” that everybody sees whatever’s happening as an exploratory or playful experiment in art, is the first thing you have to let go. Having the conversation about why someone feels that this art piece, or action, is so targeting them that they can’t reasonably be expected to stay here, is both Radical Inclusion and a request for Radical Self-Expression. Shutting them down by saying “yeah, don’t be offended, it’s Burning Man,” is limiting their own self-expression. It’s telling them not to feel what they really feel.

Whatever the reason the situation is charged, often times the very act of having the conversation, and really being open to that perspective, will be a significant step in solving the problem: truly seeing and hearing someone can go a long way towards repairing the damage that acidic art can cause. On the other hand, people are much more likely to exacerbate that damage if they feel no one is bothering to listen to them. Because of course they will.

So that’s where you start. The next step is to have a conversation with the artist.

What Is The Artist Trying to Do?

I can’t stress this enough: you want to really listen to the person making the complaint, no matter what the artist says, and you want to really listen to the artist, no matter what the person making the complaint says. You may have to end up doing something that one (or both) of them won’t like, but you want to treat them both like valued members of our community, because that’s what we want both of them to be. Maybe they’ll make that impossible, but you can’t proceed from that assumption.

Which brings us to one of the absolutely critical questions in all this: what does the artist actually want? What are they genuinely trying to do?

An awful lot of artists – most, I’d say – are in fact keenly interested in the way people are responding to their work, don’t want anyone to feel so threatened that they have to leave, and are quite willing to talk about the impact it’s having and what can be done.

And in cases where the artist is genuinely trying to make a specific statement or raise certain issues, it’s usually quite possible to work with both people to figure out how the artist can pursue that goal in a way that feels honest without threatening to fundamentally dissolve those bonds of community.

“What is the artist trying to do?” is a question that can provide so many answers to the question “what do we do if this person’s work is making people feel that they can’t be here?”

But it only comes out of dialogue and discussion – not just with you but, ideally, with the people who are raising the issue. The less of an intermediary you have to be to a reasonable discussion, the better.

It gets a bit more complicated when the artist doesn’t know what they’re trying to do – just that they have a vision, and it’s something they need to work through. But still, generally speaking they are trying to share that vision, so they are interested in how people respond to it, and able to be engaged. They too might have blind spots, but generally they’re trying to do something in good faith. Dissolving community isn’t part of their vision. A conversation can happen.

It’s in those infrequent but still all too real occasions when an “artist’s” actual purpose is to simply be as nasty as possible – when their goal really is to hurt people, with no concern for what happens next – that you know this just isn’t going to work. And honestly, it’s usually pretty easy to tell when this is the case. Because such artists cannot usually describe what they’re trying to do in a meaningful way, they are utterly uninterested in finding new ways for people to engage with their work rather than be turned away by it, and instead of participating in a real discussion about the impact the work is having, they try to argue the technical legalities of whether they can do something and consider that the end of the conversation. People who are that much more interested in whether they can do something than in the impact they are having by doing it, are rarely arguing in good faith.

Such art is not a gift, it’s not Communal Effort, it’s not civically responsible, it’s not participatory in a way that is meaningful to the other participants, it ignores the Immediacy of how people are actually responding to it to focus on how you want it to be interpreted … on down the line.

But if everyone is in fact acting in good faith, if they can connect and talk through their concerns and their blind spots and what they really want, then much of the time not only can the issue be worked out, but our community be made stronger by this process.

It’s when that doesn’t work, it’s when you go through this process and genuinely work to increase everyone’s sense of inclusion and self-expression, and no one can come to a mutually agreeable solution, that you have to make the tough calls.

Which is what we’ll discuss in the next post.

 

Cover Image:  Paisle Abbey gargoyle, by Wikimedia User Colin

About the author: Caveat Magister

Caveat Magister

A member of Burning Man Project's Philosophical Center, Caveat served as the Volunteer Coordinator for Media Mecca from 2008 - 2013, and the lead writer/researcher for Burning Man's education program from 2016 - 2018. Caveat is the author of the The Scene That Became Cities: what Burning Man philosophy can teach us about building better communities. He has also written several books which have nothing to do with Burning Man. He has finally got his email address caveat (at) burningman (dot) org working again. He tweets, occasionally, as @BenjaminWachs

33 Comments on “It’s Not About Rules, It’s About People – “Too Offensive for Burning Man?” part 3

  • Susan Miller says:

    I’m in favor of banning offensive art. I bring my children out there, and quite frankly, even many of the people are offensive. A ‘man’ came into our camp who had 75 piercings where his testicles used to be and his penis was dripping in front of my children. And then there’s a lot of hard core pornography out there that is not suitable for any children to see. These types of things need to be banned immediately.

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    • Christine says:

      You want to ban someone’s body? And you proceed that request with a jab at their gender? I’m not sure if I’m comfortable being at th be same event as you.

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    • Tish says:

      If you find things at the burn too offensive for your children, perhaps you should not be bringing them to such a radically self expressive event.

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    • John David says:

      I bring my kids too . . . have for a long time . . . now they are adults. I am not offended or opposed to any crude pornography they have ever been exposed to. It actually gave them a more refined sense of what is weird, ugly, wrong, etc. As to “pedophile camp” . . . I’m all for them doing their thing as long as they understand that I am going to do my thing as a father if they proposition my children . . . which would be to cut their dicks off and burn them at the temple. But if your kids are going to be damaged by seeing humanity at its salted seedy worst, then by all means, insulate them and keep them the fuck out of the desert. This is not the place for generically normal people.

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    • Popeye says:

      Susan: As a parent you have the right to limit what your children see and do BUT you do not have the right to limit what others do or how they act. You chose to bring your children to a place where expressions that you disagree with abound. You are the agressor here.

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    • wizard says:

      Susan — This is a tough one for me, because piercings seriously freak me out. All types including ear piercings. But I recognize that that is MY response, and it shouldn’t be used as a justification to impinge on others’ actions or body modifications. Bringing up exposure to children possibly broadens the discussion into other topics that are both positive and negative, and I don’t feel like I’m an expert on that. It comes down to a balancing act between differing opinions and beliefs. Is it reasonable for a camp to have rules, such as “no nudity in our spaces”? I think so. But “no nudity anywhere, or if you have a piercing”? No.

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    • *farts in your general direction says:

      this comment and its responses perfectly encapsulate the problem: the inability of a substantial swath of burners to recognize when the message is not serious.

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    • RITA says:

      Nudity is not obscene or offensive. I agree with everyone else that BRC is probably not the place for Susan and her family. There are reasons why you will see the word “radical” often associated with the City.
      Offensive to me are the things that are destructive and propagate hate. I include in that things that depict rape, incest, symbols of hate like swastikas.

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    • The Hustler says:

      OK, how are you defining “offensive?”

      And, where is this hardcore pornography? I’ve seen all sorts of weird shit on the playa and even more weird shit I missed in people’s pictures from Burning Man (does anyone ever get the idea that they may have gone to a different Burning Man than someone else?).

      Children have been part of Burning Man since the beginning, and it wouldn’t be the same without them.

      I think if you defined, exactly, what you mean by “pornography” and “offensive,” and how the Borg should ban certain things, it would greatly clear this up.

      Perhaps your original comment was sarcasm.

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    • S. Bird says:

      If it’s a question of banning things that are R or X rated from the Playa for the sake of someone’s kids’ delicate sensibilities, then it’s the kids that should be banned, not the adult behavior. Or just keep your kids in kidsville, and leave the prudery at home.

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    • Nate says:

      This is obviously a trolling comment. Part 3 is about handling situations that may have crossed the line. The examples given in part 3 are in a different league from criticism above ^

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    • Pooh says:

      I’m pretty sure Susan is trolling here. I can’t imagine any Burner would really hold the opinions she expressed here.

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    • Crissa says:

      Who looks closely at another person’s genitals to denote if it’s ‘dripping’? O-o

      And if they do, why wouldn’t they offer a tissue? If someone’s nose was running, it’s polite offer one, right?

      What was offensive in that moment? A moment that you have to explain that autonomic processes means that penises and vaginas naturally have discharge and that it’s polite to clean it up because otherwise it’s a vector for disease? Children should know these things.

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    • Swipe Left says:

      If that doesn’t work for you, don’t bring your kid.

      I’m fine with it, and my kid is an occasional participant.

      You don’t get to change multiple, general facets of our city to suit the way you want to raise your child, especially since those changes include some heavy body shaming.

      The way you get to deal with this is by changing your participation, and your child’s. Leave them at home.

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    • Bob says:

      I’m in favor of banning shitty parents that haul their rotten kids to the desert.

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  • My comment on post #2 still applies to this post (and probably will to post 4) but let me add a note on what you say here, particularly in your title.

    First of all, understand that this problem is far from new. And it’s not even unique to Burning Man. Societies have grappled with this before, and come up with solutions after decades of thinking and practice.

    One of the principles free societies established strongly is the opposite of the one in your title. Your title promotes the rule of people, rather than the rule of law. And we’ve learned, painfully, that that is a big mistake. This does not mean than people don’t interpret and enforce the rules, but they do that as governed by the rule of law too. History again teaches that your path is the wrong one.

    Now let me confuse you further. The idea that Burning Man should have parallels to the concept of the “safe space” seen in other areas, a place where you can be feel safe because the expressions that make you want to leave are blocked — this idea makes me want to be at Burning Man less. That Burning Man can have safe spaces is no problem. That the open playa is one disturbs me. Imagine I and many others declared that it is such a disturbing idea that we no longer feel welcome on the playa if it is enforced, that we won’t come, won’t bring our art?

    Now the reality is that this is not true, because of course the people who say that tend to be able to roll with anything, those who don’t need to be kept safe from expressions that make us uncomfortable. Even though I am of Jewish descent (I hold no religion) I would not stop you from having Swastika camp as long as it’s just expression and you don’t put the Nazi ideas into practice.

    But what if I did? How would the rights of those distressed by the ideas you espouse be recognized?

    Once again, the answer is to distinguish action from communication. Harassment is action. Wielding a knife is action. Making sexual propositions to children is action. Deal with in appropriate action. Leave the rest to be radically expressed.

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    • Caveat Magister says:

      Brad –

      Great! If you don’t feel threatened, that’s fantastic! But if you really did, I would want to listen, and understand why, and then talk to the people you feel are threatening you, and get a better understanding of what’s happening.

      Does that infringe on anyone’s rights?

      And if it turns out that, after having those conversations, you feel less threatened, or they realized that they were inadvertently making you feel that way, and the situation resolves because everyone understands each other better, does that infringe on anyone’s rights?

      And if it turned out that, in fact, you were right to feel threatened, then we’d be in a position to act on it before they hurt you; while if it turned out that you were in fact just over reacting, we’d be in a better position to understand why and talk you through it.

      I don’t actually believe Burning Man is a safe space. At all. And I’ve said so publicly, and on video (such as at the 2016 Global Leadership Conference, and at the recent Burning Progeny symposium). But I do like to listen to people when they tell me things. It seems like it makes things better.

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  • K says:

    “But it only comes out of dialogue and discussion – not just with you but, ideally, with the people who are raising the issue. The less of an intermediary you have to be to a reasonable discussion, the better.”

    So you feel that when someone feels unsafe because art portrays a message that they aren’t welcome (and that this is a reasonable reaction), they should be approaching the artist to discuss it. To apply this to the issue of racism, this is requiring labor of people of color to educate others (which is rude to start with) when they are in a situation where they have reasonable expectation that they will be unwelcome at best, and physically unsafe at worst. I take issue with this. As much as “let’s all talk it out” helps people to understand both sides better, this is a very white-centered privileged approach to take.

    I think it is on those of us who are intermediaries, or allies, who are able to speak from relative safety and without fear, to discuss with the artist and find out their intentions. (It’s possible at time it was just misguided or not thought through well.) I think it is on those of us who are leaders of events to seek out the voices being pushed out, when there is no immediate perceived threat, and ask to hear their story and support them. And promise to stand by them.

    Numerous people have left the community with no looking back because they have witnessed or heard about “art” that is racist in nature. Forget about getting them to talk to the artist, how do we gain back their trust??? Or does the community even want to? These are the questions that matter to me.

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    • Caveat Magister says:

      Hi K –

      I absolutely agree that we don’t want to try and push people into conversations with people who they feel are actively threatening them. Indeed, the piece is written from the premise that organizes and community members are going to be engaging like that.

      However I also don’t want us to try to put ourselves in the position of trying to speak for people, especially people who often feel voiceless. That easily leads to paternalism. Wherever possible, we want people to be able to engage and speak for themselves – it’s a good idea on its own, and it’s in line with the 10 Principles. So I stand by, and advocate for, the statement that “The less of an intermediary you have to be to a reasonable discussion, the better.”

      I similarly think that the best way to “gain back their trust” is not to try to convince anyone of anything, but to be transparent about who we are and what we do. To try to be our best selves even when no one’s looking, be open to new perspectives, and let people make their own informed decisions about whether they trust us. I don’t think we should be trying to convince anyone of anything, especially if we aren’t in fact good at handling these issues.

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      • Crissa says:

        Not just paternalism: It’s not possible to know everything. Privilege in this case is defined as not having to care but it also is correlated by not knowing.

        So we need to have people step up and tell us when we need to have this conversation – and especially when they don’t feel safe discussing it with the artist (or can’t find the artist).

        And we need to listen.

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  • Some Seeing Eye says:

    I think you are on the right track with specific vs abstract.

    But the great weakness of art in BRC is artist anonymity in most cases and few opportunities for a conversation around an artwork.

    That artist anonymity and lack of a place for conversation between the artist and the participants is also a strength.

    It encourages experiments and first time artists. The only barrier to entry is the effort to make and remove the work from a wilderness environment. There is no social barrier or curatorial judgment. That is a great thing. Art on the playa is open source.

    One curator I met was responsible for the permanent collection of hundreds of works for a regional bank. Any employee could question a work and that work was moved to a special gallery for everyone to comment on and discuss the work. It was a safe form of participation and open discussion which was not part of the regular bank culture.

    So we hope to hear ideas on how more conversation, participant to participant, participant to artist and artist to artist can be activated around the art works. That is more powerful than art spectatorship.

    Most people are aware art inspired by identity and injustice is on the rise, Gen Y and Gen Z are not holding back addressing this head on.

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  • Laura says:

    “People who are that much more interested in whether they can do something than in the impact they are having by doing it, are rarely arguing in good faith.”

    This is a spectacularly good quote and a perfectly succinct way of defining people who are being controversial or trolling for entertainment and the sake of being provocative VS. people who are doing it maliciously, with the hopes to hurt people.

    I’m glad this is the line Burning Man is taking – this entire essay series is beautifully well reasoned and thought out.

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  • BobC says:

    Many attendees mistakenly think that when they are at Burning Man that they are not subject to the local, state and federal laws, that it is some kind of society free zone. You read these all of the time in the posted complaints about LEA and drug busts and how privileged Burners are unfairly being persecuted or profiled just because they are Burners, which by the way happens to people of color every day. Meanwhile many are often caught with drugs and paraphernalia which in many cases have been deemed currently illegal by the society at large, and the selfish disregard for law doesn’t make one a victim. Burning Man does not exist in a vacuum but as part of a surrounding context of a larger society and Burners have a responsibility to recognize and respect that context and laws, even on the playa.

    Similarly, art does not exist without historical and societal context, and in fact, is at the core of what makes it good art. To be able to evoke an emotional reaction or encourage viewers to think, there has to be a context in which to be challenged. However, imagery which has a historical context of intolerance, oppression and/or genocide to specific groups with the larger society, can’t be ignored nor should viewers be expected to bear the burden of ignoring historical meaning just because an artist is selfishly putting on display their own privilege of having not been affected by that imagery in the same way. Artists have a responsibility to the larger historical context in which their art will be understood whether they like it or not and making art just for the sake of shock value or in complete disregard for others they supposedly share a community with, is just boring and unoriginal.

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  • Wylie Fox says:

    Of all my years at Burning Man, there is only one piece of art that ever truly shocked me… a life sized paper mache figure of a man with a hard on being sucked by what was obviously a child paper mache figure with other paper mache children in line. It still disgusts me to my Core. I’m glad we are talking about this kind of thing as a community now, because I’m not sure where that line is or should be either. Would it be that wrong for me to sneak into their camp and burn that s*** down, or destroy it in some kind of way? Where is that line?

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  • dave anderson says:

    Been going to BM for 20 years, and what happens there always suprises me with shock and awe, beauty, creativity, everything is subjective, you cant try to put burningman in a black and white world when its grey, so much of this”feelings” stuff going on ..really? everyone owns their feelings so deal with it, ive seen some pretty bad people over the decades entitled, angry along with the f ur burn people and great people that are my friends from all over the world, that is burning man though why should i expect anything different with 70k people? unrealized expecations leads to trouble.. Last year heading in and hearing all the “consent” “me To” instructions realizing that PC has really arrived on the playa…, and burningman should stop catering to the few in all context…

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  • Pia Agostini says:

    This is not what BM is about,
    Honesty I find all this debating out of “context “. BM is all, is you ..and the energy around you, creating and reacting to your experiences.
    At BM there is no “Art Types” , that is sadly thedefault world’s reality, at BM all is Creativity, Freedom from judgment, just be. BM is not a family vacation either, the children of BM have to be free to experience! protecting or controlling their mind misses the point ( I have 3) BM ,and all societies for this matter ,should not tolerate any “Art Expression “ or “Life Manifestation” causing stress, aggression, negativity, and danger, in all their forms.
    Only time will tell, I am greatfull that in this life I had the chance to live it… )’(

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  • Joshua Carroll says:

    On topics of inclusion… who compiles the WWW?

    Our camp (including the indigenous burner in our camp) was pretty upset about the “slave auction” and “cowboys and Indians” events that were included in the printed WWW this past year – especially when events on topics of inclusion, healthy masculinity etc from our camp, which were submitted on time, were omitted.

    A friend who is a black burner let me know that the “slave auction” event has been included the prior several years in the WWW and the camp was on the esplanade this past year.

    Another friend who is black and has been interested in burning man but never participated, heard about this and basically said “wow that is some fuckshit, no WAY am I ever going to burning man, it would not be safe for me”.

    Would love to understand how the printed WWW selection process is done and how these sorts of responses or harm are considered in that process. If it’s a capacity thing around reviewing the submissions I’m sure we could find some folks to help with that!

    Feels very relevant in light of this series.

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  • Well, now you can decide many more things which type of the connections you want to keep and what are the techniques work with all of the mechanism which you in the computer.

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  • “Fall off the cliff with us,” Marian said,”we need you to change the world with us. Together we can”. Probably the single most alarming thing i have ever witnessed the 1st GLC once “Regional Summit” was dropped. GLC. GLOBAL Leadership Conference. Not the country. Not the southwest. The world. People who ACTUALLY believe the can change the WORLD. I believe faith like that led to some Inquisitions, and other lovely world changes. Haven’t gone in 2 years after 7 straight. Doesn’t matter if i go. The Burn is coming to me now. I would have preferred it if she said “lets change our hearts.” Then Larry threw his hat into the audience and it went around as people tried it on. It even came to me once. Yep. Hang onto your asses folks. Its beyond them. Hell, its beyond everyone. What was that box no on one was supposed to open? Oh. Yeah. Pandora’s Box. Hey Caveat! Did Megs show you my prologue i emailed her? Might as well have fun before we are all washed beneath it all. Ttyl!

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  • cuntessa says:

    Great discussion.
    I’m thinking about the phrase, “take offense” in relationship to art and my response; it’s so personal. I think back on a time on the playa where I “took offense” to someone’s art because I felt they were being selfish. My group camped in quiet camp. I know quiet is relative but there were some basic guardrails communicated about what to expect and thus how to respect others. A small group of folks set up a “sound installation” right next to our camp. Yep in quiet camp. The art was a box geared up with a siren inside it that spun around a tall pole. This art sucked. It was very disruptive to holding normal conversation and gave us headaches. We tried negotiating with them but they told us to “fuck off, this is burning man.” This was their intention – to bother and upset people. We escalated to the rangers who did their best to negotiate with these folks but basically told us to live with it. We tried again to negotiate and received the same response as before. Not planned as a group intervention, one of our party cut the sound art’s power lines. The rangers gave us a warning if we proceeded to escalate with violence we would be removed. Other neighbors equally offended by the shitty art, demonstrated against it by yelling over the art when they started the machine up again. The rangers (what a crap job this was for them) interceded once more – this time suggesting that maybe the artists had been very successful in their intention and now that they were having a rather nasty impact on others, need to consider moving their camp elsewhere. They did. We felt bad for those new neighbors.

    So, I’m thinking….maybe three times and you’re out. If a variety of different parties think you’re being an offensive, selfish asshole, chances are, you are.

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  • The rain side has a rainbow
    Find someone I really love

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