How to Take the Fyre Out of “Influencers” on Playa

Let’s say before Euterpe came to Burning Man she decided to do a little research. So she goes to Instagram and looks at the popular photos tagged #burningman. A picture of the event emerges. It’s dominated by a shimmering herd of sparkleponies living their best lives. There’s some art and pyrotechnics that poke through the pastiche, but mostly it looks like a dusty runway for skinny white women. Euterpe might think all she needs is a fur bikini and (shudder) a headdress, and she’d be a “Burner.”

 

She’d be wrong. What you don’t see among the most common online imagery of Black Rock City — even the artful stuff — is everything below the surface: the unsexy work (or sexiest, depending on your worldview) of building, welding, sewing, packing, driving, hammering, connecting, zipping, lifting, sawing, painting, and maybe even hot-glueing a unicorn horn or two.

You don’t see the values that govern our culture. You don’t see all the different kinds of people and bodies that make up our community. 

You don’t see the big picture.

We get that this photogenic ogre is of our own making. As a society, we feed the beast with pictures. We signal to the beast which ones are “best” with our views and likes. The beast, being fairly simple-minded, just gives us more of what we said we wanted.

A new caste gets chiseled from these clicks, too: the social-media “influencer.” These are folks with decent-sized audiences who commodify their posts. While there are rules around disclosure, selling your opinions is not exactly a trust-building exercise. We’ve come to a point now where “influencer” is a dirty word. The Fyre Festival debacle tarnished whatever influencer cred folks were holding onto.

There is a movement to bring more transparency and authenticity to online content, and there should be. But being a Burning Man influencer should mean something else entirely, and we need your help to reclaim the narrative around what it means to be a Burner. It’s a big responsibility: these days Instagram may well be the first place that people encounter #burninglife.

We think about this when we curate our own Instagram account. We know pretty pictures from the event will get us likes and comments, but more and more we are trying to showcase the less-glamorous side of the playa, pictures that are not so perfect, and of course the tremendously vibrant, less-seen examples of Burning Man culture manifesting all around the world.

Please join us! Let’s radically shift our mindset and practices as an online community and show virgins like Euterpe what a Burning Man leader can look like online. Here are some ideas. We’d love to hear yours in the comments.

Be an Intention — not Attention — seeker. Black Rock City offers so much eye candy that’s fun to share with the world. It’s been done before. To death. Instead, try to create posts that speak to one of the 10 Principles or to an aspect of our culture that doesn’t get enough exposure, but should — like smaller-scale art, cool things your camp has designed, or acts of generosity. Let’s make each of the 10 Principle hashtags as popular as #burningman itself.

Get real. Sharing pretty pictures is nice and all, but also sooooo obvious. Take photos of people behind the scenes of your making. Show us something we’ve never seen before (keep it clean). Bring us inside your studio, tell us about your inner journey, or talk about why Burning Man can be challenging. There are so many facets that can be shared. Send us a direct message or email ‘em to instagram@burningman.org if you want to be considered for our account.

Vote differently. These platforms run on engagement like views, likes, and comments. In order to change what’s surfaced, we need to change what we’re interacting with. So perhaps next time you see an image of a beautiful female form on Instagram, admire it in your brain, but save your ‘likes’ for the stuff that matters. We’ve heard more and more people say that they won’t go to the playa because they’re “not young or cute enough” or they “don’t have the right outfits.” That’s sad. It’s not who we are.

Tag, you’re it — but stop tagging brands. Spread the love to members of our community doing interesting things. Share their posts, tag them in yours, tell them you appreciate their work. At the same time, stop tagging brands or trying to direct attention to commercial efforts. Burning Man should not be a backdrop for selling anything.

Put the phone away and forget this whole thing. Yeah, we probably should have started with this one. Black Rock City provides a weeklong opportunity to be fully present, to plug into your humanity, to connect with others in real-time, to live the Immediacy principle.


Top photo by Gail Reyes

About the author: Mia Quagliarello

Mia Quagliarello

Mia Quagliarello is a San Francisco-based 'Burning mom.' By day, she does curation, community and social media work at a startup; by night she's either working on Burning Man stuff, going out to see live music, or snuggling up with her two kids.

69 Comments on “How to Take the Fyre Out of “Influencers” on Playa

  • Anonymous Small Burner says:

    How about the official Burning Man photographers stop focusing on only the big pieces of spectacle at Burning Man and starting highlighting the smaller beautiful things? It’s not just sparkleponies that get the attention, but also big art and big expensive pieces, which shout over all the other pieces of art at Burning Man.

    From Instagram, you’d think that the available art only had massive LEDs, fire, was over 30 feet tall and cost tens of thousands of dollars. But not true.

    Where is the art, and the Burner (theme) camps that the average person/group/Burners can afford? How many Burning Man Instagram/Twitter and JackRabbit Speaks photos feature big spectacle art? Virtually none. What does this tell the Burner community as to the value of art?

    The same focus on big and expensive exists in other areas, too. Are all art cars at the size of the Mayan Warrior? Or are some smaller and just as beautiful and creative? There are a tremendous number of placed theme camps. What about stories of those camps in the suburbs, or not in primer Burner real estate? The Org creates its own commodification by pimping the big and ignoring others.

    I appreciate the emphasis on blaming “the other,” but Burning Man is just as much to blame for the emphasis on big, splashy and sparkly, which attracts the sparkleponies and not the do-ers and the interactive community.

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    • Eponymous Medium Burner says:

      It has been my experience that the burbs mostly want to be left alone. But then, I don’t walk around with a camera. I asked one camp I was sharing pickles with (Dill vs. spicy bread-and-butter; what… sometimes I walk around with a pickle jar!) if I could come back to the very understated and nearly impossible to notice from ground level 12′ platform+couch. I wish I had one in my camp every year, it was amazing and he oriented it so the sun at sunrise rose exactly over Razorback.

      He said no, they didn’t like the attention and they didn’t want people climbing their stuff that early.

      And I’ll be fair; one memorable encounter I’ve had like that != ‘all suburb burners hate cameras and climbers!’ or whatever. I agree with you that the small stories and hidden parts of the city are a lot more interesting than the exhausting shitshow and spectacle of the Esplanade, etc. My pickle walkabouts are much more rewarding when I’m not dodging ‘influencers’ on stolen bikes. :P

      … how many ‘official burning man photographers’ do you think there are? honest question.

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      • Anonymous Small Burner says:

        Reply comments are either being edited/moderated or they are caught in a spam folder, but they are not being posted.

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      • Have to agree with Eponymous, here. We are a long running camp out in the ‘Burbs and have been serving hot dogs and gin & tonics everyday during Burn Week for the last several years. The LAST thing we want are photographers snapping pictures (which really, let’s face it, aren’t that interesting, anyway). And, besides, we already have an award-winning National Geographic photographer IN our camp (Danee Hazama – look him up) to document our yearly shenanigans as most of us turn our phones off the second we pass through the gate.

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      • Waynebo says:

        Not sure that those in the burbs that want to be left alone embrace inclusion and sense of community.

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    • Lucia says:

      Hear hear to the fact that burning man itself needs to model what it touts. Jackrabbit speaks used to show blogs and pieces and photos from anyone and everyone, not just people who write for the blog or big news outlets or the huge art pieces and soundcars.

      Those are great but they’re part of the picture of burning man just like what’s being asked of the photo takers, so model and show the culture!! Write some pieces about fun things that are going on in other camps and art work other than the obvious!

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    • LiminalRising says:

      I agree.

      Ever since THE BIG ART GRANTS started happening, there have been fewer and fewer individual pieces of art at the Burn. I used to love discovering small art on the playa, or in the suburbs.

      I believe that ART GRANTS also have started to create a class of Burning Man elite. I know two friends who have successfully gotten art grants 2 years in a row. But before they got the first one… they basically complained… “well, if we don’t get an art grant – we’re not going to build anything.”

      This focus on the big and splashy infers that individual art must be of a certain calibre to be appreciated – similar to the comments in the OPs article about people not wanting to come to Burning Man because they “are not cute enough” or “don’t have the right outfits.”

      Just like the proliferation of Plug and Play, Buring Man has enabled this trend and should take responsibility for what they have created.

      I love that the article urges us to get individually involved – and has a curated instagram account that we can submit pictures to. That is specific and actionable. I believe we also need to be accountable for ourselves.

      But, it takes two.

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  • Spirit Bunny says:

    Are they burning wrong? I don’t think it’s anyone’s place to tell women how to do whatever they want to do on the playa. These women are excellent marketing for Burning Man since they are part of the spectacle. Even though they spend most of their week dry-humping the playa, these and strong and independent women.

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    • Kilted Freedom says:

      “ARE they Burning Wrong?” No, but the images that they are conveying, are Atypical of what 99% of the Burn community/event is, Heavy set/Skinny, non-Mainstream Looks, bs it female presenting or Male presenting. When people see these they are all but Automatically going to think ” this is what the event is all about” when, it’s actually, tiring, sweaty, ugly, Dusty,Crusty (fill in the unattractive descriptors) and when they get there, they freak out when they see ANYTHINGBbut what they saw online, then tell people the ugly experience story they had, instead of the transformative story of meeting a new chosen family, or how the event changed their lives, for the better, but have a hard time explaining how, because they are explaining it to another Burgin, & the ONLY way to understand, is GO, EXPERIENCE the event, not through online methods.

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      • Tinker says:

        >They’re not doing it wrong, but they’re doing it wrong.

        They should be frumpy school teachers on spirt quests, or cat ladies looking to transform their boring lives through arts & crafts… Or dyke tatted-up warpigs working for DPW.

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    • john j prokop says:

      “These women are Excellent marketing” ?? Not in my opinion. More like False Advertising. FYI, it’s not about whether or not one is white or cute or wears costumes. That’s fine. It’s about then photographing themselves at Burningman as if it’s a photoshoot set, and then using those photos for personal marketing purposes that I find so disheartening and misleading. Do I have BM photos also? You bet. But they are all of sunrises and art cars and surreal panoramas and fire and dust and sculpture and the simple rapture of being there. Not a single one of me, or anyone else, in a “costume”.

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    • Radio Goo Goo says:

      ” These women are excellent marketing for Burning Man since they are part of the spectacle.”

      You actually believe that do you?

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    • Timbob says:

      Why the hell does an event that easily sells out need any marketing whatsoever?

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    • April says:

      “…marketing Burning Man” + “part of the spectacle”

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    • Rebecca Waggoner says:

      Burning Man does not need marketing

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  • I’m fit, I’m white and my costumes are my way of expression ar Burning man, My way of being a participant not a spectator (i also volunteer for the burns perimeters help build my camp and I teach yoga twice a week). I make my costumes through the year, buy stuff here and there bt do a lot myself too. . And I won’t stop posting pictures of my white fit body in my costumes because that’s the way I burn and express myself, I will add the ashtag #participantnotspectator (i won’t tag a brand that’s for sure!) Oh and should I mention I’m over 45? I’ve heard a story about the plane having a private party with Heidi Klum one day. May be that’s more the problem than random creative women loving to express themselves through creative outfits?

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    • Azriel says:

      Thank you. This generalizing was getting to me.

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    • Absinthia says:

      Wait, did you just Not All White Women this article???

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    • Nikolaus heger says:

      I only read your comment later – mine is further down

      I think the problem is pretty simple. The article is goo but there is no excuse to separate out people by color of skin and body shape.

      It’s ridiculous

      What I hate is this casual racism. Somebody hates on “skinny white women” and all their friends nod their heads and everyone agrees that skinny white women are a problem.

      New flash: The KkK works the same way they just replace white with black. So how is this any different.

      You can either be a racist or not. Being a “good” racist who only hates on the people that deserve this hate – that doesn’t exist. It’s not a thing. By their own definition the KkK are good racists too.

      I have zero tolerance for casual racism. I’m not sorry for it either.

      We move into a world of unity and love and we won’t get there hating on people. Especially their appearance. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      I don’t think you need to justify yourself at all. Be who you were born to be.

      I would be ok if there was judgement on sparkle ponies. You can always choose to not be a sparkle pony. But it you’re white and skinny what are you supposed to o? Eat a bunch of junk food?

      End the casual racism. Thanks.

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      • Starsh!t says:

        The kkk that actively exerts political pressure to displace, deport, and oppress people of color cuz their ultimate motive is a white ethnostate? Pretty sure that’s different than some burners giving rich whitegirls snark for commodifying our culture for their personal brand

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    • omar says:

      “Costumes” …..Pre-2007 there was no mention of such a thing, They were left to Halloween. What was wrong with playa wear? Seems pretty general.

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  • J says:

    I DIY outfits for the burn and get pretty excited about expressing my sartorial side that I normally can’t in my office job. One year I ran into a friend who is a photographer by trade. He was in the middle of a photo gifting session, so I jumped in for a few frames. Does being gifted professionally shot photos (that I did eventually post to Instagram where I tagged his IG to give credit) automatically make me a sparklepony? If someone came across a photo of me they might make snap judgments about who I am, without knowing that I am one of the leads of a long-running theme camp in good standing, engaged in the burner community in my area year-round, and have volunteered with Census twice. Also, where would one draw the line between crediting the artist and promoting that person’s service in this example?

    While I’m not a fan of sparkleponies and those who commodify the experience by hawking brands and products with their posted media as much as any other burner, I’d like to caution the org from fostering a NIMBY attitude and creating divisions where there may be none. Just like anything else on the internet, dig a little deeper and try not to make knee jerk reactions to the things you see. If anything, it could be a good opportunity to educate the individuals on how to “do it right.”

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  • BobC says:

    Be careful with how you push the messages about phone usage on the playa. Some of us use them as real-time medical devices. This is 2019…smart phones aren’t just about connecting with others anymore.

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    • Chris Schaie says:

      Me too… but there us a huge difference between checking my blood sugar by glancing down at my device and holding it up all the time in front of my face and creating a barrier to the experience.

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  • Trilo says:

    Very well said. A version of this should be included in the Survival Guide or First-Timer’s Guide.

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  • LadyBee says:

    Thanks so much for writing this article, Mia. I think we, as a community, have to educate new burners from the bottom up; for a great example of what we can do, see the marvellous Weird Out Wednesday shenanigans from Burn.Life: https://www.burn.life/blog/weirdout-wednesday-keeping-burning-man-weird .

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    • Absinthia says:

      Ladybee,

      Weird Out Wednesday actually saddens me. If we pick one day, what about the rest?

      Let’s just keep Burning Man weird!

      Cheers my friend,
      Absinthia

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  • Metakim says:

    I love how the comments are so many costumed white women feeling called out haha! This is not about y’all, hun. I am (arguably) one too, and MakIng this all about your playa-given right to look hot is DEFINITELY doing this wrong. Representation matters and I yes I do have to tell my old and less-white artist friends, I know when you google it you aren’t going to see people who look like you, but don’t worry, they are there – 40% of burning man is over 35. Untold percentages of burners are fat. You get there and for the first time in your life you will feel like none of that matters. Please remember that, hotties! It’s not about you

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  • Absinthia says:

    Mia,
    Did you know there is an actual Burning Moms? Harriet Trezevant and I founded it many years ago (our kids are now in high school) as a way to find community when our babies were born. Warren Trezevant even created a fantastic logo!
    I’m not very active in the group anymore but I believe you can find the Burning Moms on Facebook.
    Cheers,
    Absinthia

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  • Some Seeing Eye says:

    Thank you for this discussion. What is the problem we are trying to solve?

    1. Too many Instagram photos hashtagged with the Burning Man trademark?
    2. Seeing people with cameras or mobile phone cameras using them on the playa and being offended?
    3. Using cameras distracting from immediacy of people using those cameras on the playa?

    For 1, you are never going to drive that number to zero. Is it really worth fighting? And you know the placed camps which are not putting enough energy into acculturation, that is where to address brand exploitation of the event.

    For 2 and 3, walking around the playa, start a conversation with someone using their camera and ask if they want you to use their device to take an image of them. Most people would welcome a not directed conversation, no need to chastise, in fact don’t chastise them

    A generation has become addicted to using their phones this way and I would suggest working with that rather than denying it. The Org also has a lot of influence over the participant network, make it easy to implement captive portals.

    I think your Journal thread suggesting we photograph and video the unglamorous wind storms, rain, endless queues, packing, dusty unpacking, nasty portos, and exhaustion is a great idea.

    Another suggestion – encourage people to upload and post after the event.

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  • pangopup says:

    I typically post two (!) of my own burn photos, every day. 99% of the time, if there’s a hot chick involved (and there usually isn’t, as an intentional composition), it’s my wife wearing one of her stunning hand-made creations. But here’s a question I have that I’m still conflicted about: I ride a *branded thing* around the playa that’s very decorated, to the point of being a legit mini-mutant vehicle, and I push photos of that thing out (with #) as a way to tell other riders (100’s, all the sudden) to get creative and stop bringing them out naked. Maybe I should just stop? People offer me $$$ for my *branded thing* skins and I just tell them to go make one themselves. And, many have….more every year.

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  • Nikolaus Heger says:

    I agree and this is well written but I have to admit when I read about “white women” my hairs stood straight up.

    Since when has RACISM become ok????? Since when????

    It’s not OK

    Replace this with black women or brown women or yellow women and see how that sentence reads!!

    I know why you wrote it – it’s that whole idea of privilege and you might even believe that reverse, or more accurately, alternate racism is fine for whatever reason.

    No it’s not fine. What you say against one color of skis matters. It’s not OK. Hating on the majority is just as in-ok as hating on a minority. It’s still hate. You’re still a hater.

    The way this reads if I am a skinny white woman – which I didn’t choose I was just born that way – I have to feel bad about it. Why? I don’t know. Just born wrong I guess.

    When will we learn that all humans are humans? That we no longer judge people by their color of skin? When??

    I’m not joking by the way. Remove that thick layer of pseudo goodness from your mind and see what you’re actually doing. You’re doing the exact thing you’re saying you’re against. It’s perverse.

    You are furthering the separation agenda. Support the unity agenda instead.

    Thank you

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  • Magorn says:

    Here’s the problem she’s trying to fight: when the Burning Man exhibit opened in DC across the street from where I worked, I was rounding up a group of co-workers, who I thought would like it to go to it as a lunch hour excursion. One of them who knew what it was said “YOU went to Burning Man?” (I’m in my late 40’s) and then said “Oh, you must have been before it became all Bougie” (and honestly it will have been 19 years this year, because all my energy/time/money go to the regional I helped start, and other local burn). The insta-culture is making Burning Man indistinguishable from Coachella and the like in the popular imagination. Watch the documentaries about that Fyre Festival abomination. The organizers all name-check Burning Man as their aspiration for what their festival was going to be, even though it violated pretty much ALL of the ten principles

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  • Buttercup says:

    And what about all the douchey dudes and bros? I mean I get it, I find the constant modeling annoying AF. If I see one more chic on a “shoot” with fabric wings or a bedazzled captain’s hat in front of some art I’m trying to enjoy, I might spew. But this article, like one before about our culture by Marian, really hates on ladies. And Jesus, that shit is exhausting. Because you know who is behind the cameras? Dudes in bedazzled captain’s hats. This will be my 15th Burn in a row. I LOVE burning man. It gladdens my heart every year and honestly I think it is mostly an event for nerds, myself included. Nerds that like to build, work hard, and share shit with each other. This is the majority in my experience – and people are most excellent to one another. The soc-meds are super annoying basically across the board. I am taking a nice fast from it all because it doesn’t represent people in general very well. And it bums me out. It would make you think almost everyone is a vacuous asshole. But hey – if we could talk about improving things sans misogyny, that would be great.

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  • It’s call “Radical Inclusion”, too bad you still don’t get it!

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  • Nick Curran says:

    #spiritofgifting
    I propose a change to 1 of the 10 principles, namely Decommodification.

    As above, so below.

    I see a parallel between what Burning Man is experiencing in relation to their permitting process with the BLM (see May 20, 2019 journal post “BLM Threatens Future of Burning Man With Draft Environmental Impact Statement” and what BMP (Burning Man Project) is doing through their Ticketing Terms & Conditions and push to control how ticket holders express themselves. Clearly “Commercial Use” is at times allowed (from the T&C page)… “Any party interested in making any commercial use of their documentation of the Event or in distributing footage beyond Personal Use must, however, enter into a separate written agreement with BMP [Burning Man Project]. Visit http://www.burningman.org/network/about-us/press-media/ or contact press@burningman.org for more information on how to apply for this permission. All such projects require BMP’s review and approval prior to any distribution.” Why does this feel somewhat duplicitous? Do we ever get to own and define what we are as burners or are we always under the auspices of control of BMP?

    If the event cannot sustain itself in the face of peoples’ expressions via social media, then it might be time to let it die so it can transform and become something different or even nothing at all. If you attend, you’re an enabler…and that cuts both ways. Who is to say that there is any truly established norm for what Burning Man is all about. The principles are not sacrosanct as some would have you believe. From the Philosophical 10 Principles BMP Page: “Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 [remember the event began in the 1980s] as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception.” I appreciate that this opinion piece includes suggestions on what to do: “Please join us! Let’s radically shift our mindset and practices as an online community and show virgins like Euterpe what a Burning Man leader can look like online. Here are some ideas. We’d love to hear yours in the comments.” I believe this is a more critical discussion than merely what is happening to the image and culture of Burning Man. The world is looking to embrace us, yet we are leaning back with shaming and admonishments of “You’re doing it wrong.” Let us put our best PlayaFoot (TM) forward. Be open. Be kind. Be tolerant. Be creative. Be industrious. Be archetypal. Be transformative. Be cynical. Be humanistic. Be existential. Be neurotic-klish. Be focused on what you want, not on what you don’t want. And herein lies the rub with “Decommodification.” We’ve defined one of the 10 principles in terms of what we don’t want. In rereading this principle, “In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience,” I’m left seeing the pure, distilled expression as SPIRIT: “ENABLE FULL EXPRESSION of your gifts in social environments that foster participatory experience.” So how would you go about changing one of the principles, anyway? #thingschange

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  • charlotte free says:

    the “skinny white” part was very tasteless and unnecessary

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  • Showbox says:

    Dont you think that the “skinny white” part was very tasteless and unnecessary

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  • Real Burner 101 says:

    I don’t get why you can’t just do what the rest of the exclusive clubs here in Europe do: tape over the camera on everyone’s cellphone upon entry. Encourage use of real cameras that require editing and laptops. BOOM. 80% of your problem will go away. People who remove the tape will be making a concerted effort to be a dick. That will change behavior.

    Now – where’s my check?

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  • Em the Angry Femme says:

    How about we frame this in a way that doesn’t immediately vilify women or shame them for doing what they want to do at an event -about radical self-expression-?

    “So perhaps next time you see an image of a beautiful female form on Instagram, admire it in your brain, but save your ‘likes’ for the stuff that matters.”

    I don’t think the author intended for this to sound as sexist as it does, but it’s hella sexist. Women are routinely commodifed at the burn whether they are willingly participating in that commodification of their bodies or not. We are told to just feel free to express ourselves how we want, dress how we want, wear as little or as much as we want. And yet when we do it’s: “Oh but not like that. And… maybe tone it down?”

    And don’t be TOO pretty because we all know that femininity and self-reliance can’t possibly go hand in hand. If you’re all done up it’s clearly because you’re a frail sparkle pony and not at all because you know what you’re doing.

    How about we stop focusing so much on the easy targets of Women Who Are Pretty (don’t they get enough shit in literally every single aspect of day to day life? Aren’t we Burners supposed to be above that kind of ingrained socially conditioned trash thinking?) and start focusing on stuff a little harder to work through:

    How many camps have I seen asking for money so that they can go on a spending spree to bring festival food (poutine! French pastries! All the beer!) to the Playa as a “gift”? How many camps have asked for funding for their over the top interactivity that they knew out the gate they wouldn’t be able to cover the expenses for out of pocket? Why don’t we focus on how those people are collectively setting an unrealistic example of what Burning Man is all about? That you don’t actually NEED to spend thousands of dollars on a week of “radical decommodification.”

    Can we try starting there, instead of with picking on women for once?

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    • Em the Angry Femme says:

      P.S.: If “Instagram Influencers” are truly the key to getting Burning Man back on track, here’s an easy solution for you: Cut all outside services. No more RV pumping. No more water deliveries. If camps can’t figure out how to get what they need out there on their own? They need to fix their own camp plans accordingly. I would say that by continuing to provide these sorts of services, the Org itself is the biggest supporter of the Influencer set on the playa.

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  • maladroit says:

    This article reminds me a lot of the tone-deaf “don’t buy coffee and your finances will be OK” advice floating around. Or perhaps “buy propellant-free sprays to generate less pollution” when large industry causes 99.9% of it.

    The common thread in both cases is that the advice on what WE should do to fix the problem is coming from the people who actually have the power to fix the problem, and we could only be responsible for a tiny sliver of the problem anyway.

    BMORG is allowing camps to provide paid accommodations. BMORG is allowing these camps to purchase supplies on-playa to make it easier to run their business of providing a Burning Man Experience to their customers. BMORG is giving these camps early access and turning a blind eye to paid employees doing setup work on the playa.

    We said the existence of these camps, the paid removal of natural obstacles, would actively corrode, distort, and homogenize BRC culture. This did happen.

    The current situation shames people based on appearances. How about decommodifying BMORG, so that if someone happens to look fresh AF on the playa, we know they probably managed to do that while building and participating and didn’t just fly in for a photoshoot?

    You created the situation you’re complaining about. And now you’re telling us to fix it.

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  • Bubba says:

    Easy way to minimize this, get rid of cell phone coverage. It used to be non existent, then spotty and now you can pretty much live blog from almost anywhere. No ability to post will increase immediacy and if you really need to communicate get two way radios and visit AEZ for internet.

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  • Conte Jour says:

    Bodyshaming is not burning man with your expression of “skinny white..”..
    I am a photographer on burning man and I am attracted mostly by a smiling face..and a smiling art and to sometimes small and sometimes big things.. all depends on my mood which I do not control during the burn but let it flow. After 2-3 months I will have a look what was the result and then I start to send the pictures to these who provide me their email address..
    Thats it..
    For that I bring my pro equipm to the burn and risk this as every other artist.

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  • Oshawn says:

    I’ve always come out for the art. Burning man is one of the few places that large scale/medium/small scale art can happen. And anyone can bring a pice of art. Be it a hammock a sculpture, or whatever.. When the art stops, that’s it for me.

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  • The solution the whole PnP, “Instagram Model/Influencer/Whatever,” commodification thing is pretty obvious, but also pretty radical. I suspect that it’s time is not now, but will come.

    And that is to make The Event (i.e., TTITD) by invitation and participation only – participation as in defined staff or volunteer position, or similar role in a theme camp that makes recognized contributions to the community. No Main Sale tix. DGS only.

    This would radical transform the event, but obviously raises questions about some of the other 10 P’s – like Radical Inclusion, for example. Well, Larry didn’t come down from the mountain with those Principles, and just like anything else, The Event has to learn and evolve. I suspect that if The Event is to survive, that will be the direction it moves in. Keep a burnin’ everybody – see you on the playa!

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  • BTW – Please don’t bad-mouth the sparkle ponies. Sparkle ponies are amusing and decorative, and have been a part of the culture for a long time. They have a role to play, just like everybody else. Sparkle ponies and “skinny white women” in general are of course not the problem. The parasitic nature of commodification is the problem. That process is what has the potential to draw out the spirit and magic of The Event, and transforms it into commercial entertainment, just like any other thing you buy tickets to.

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  • Nina says:

    I’m wondering: I noticed that a lot of burners are blaming the sparkle pony’s for having a negative impact on the burner culture. How does this relate to the principle ‘radical inclusion’? Even though I fully agree with the content of this article, this stereotyping of a group of people somehow makes me feel uncomfortable. I would love to hear your views on this!

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  • Letsgetdusty says:

    It seems that it all comes back to education and awareness. If you live the principals and actually believe in them, no one will care what you’re “wearing” or “posting”. It’s insignificant.

    It’s about being a community and creating an amazing loving experience for everyone on the playa. Personally that’s what I’d like to see energy focused on, rather than trying to “fix” it by posing “real” photos on instagram.

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  • ie hoss chuck says:

    Recently discovered 11th principle soon to be revealed in undiscoed secrete location. Check your sources for more infotainment and dubstep proof details.

    Many comprehend that IPO’s are only for unicorns. Sparkle ponies are drawn to unicorns. And donkeys will never jump a fence.

    May we all dream, allow, and transcend our earth bound particulars. Or at least suspend them in the air with a silk rigging, adorn them with a laser light show, and somewhat complimentary dodecatonic septet.

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  • vex 3 says:

    The information and images of her show that she is quite famous and beautiful. Very reliable information.

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  • Wink says:

    Great article. I am working on my transportation boxes which also serve as pedestals for the Goddess Statue. I will post some pictures of this unsexy event.

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  • Eagle Eye says:

    Dear Mia,

    Brava.
    BRAVA!
    BRAVISIMA!!!

    Hugs,
    Eagle Eye

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  • Rich says:

    Education and awareness from the camp leaders and to all those who attend. Orientation for all new members who show up this year is extremely important.

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