This was written mostly about the BM movie "Gifting it"
The interview that most impressed all of us was the artist who did the swimmers, saying "no" to the gallery owner who wanted post BRC art in his gallery. There he was, burning the installation, saying - the coolest people in the world already saw it, in its proper environment, and "No! I am not trying to build a career as an artist. I only built it to bring myself up to par with the other people who had brought great art to the playa."
In marked contrast to BurnBabyBurn, this movie pretty much self-censors and shows basically 100% goodstuff, entirely omits the bad stuff (self-absorbed bimbos, the techno-takeover, drunk fratboys in motorhomes, etc.) and talks about community and how, as acommunity BRC "learns from experience" and how the fuck-ups it makes oneyear lead to adaptation and improvement the next. But through an organic,anarchic process.
The premise that it runs on a gift economy is fundamentally dishonest, IMHO. At BRC there is a HUGE multimilliondollar capital budget, and there is an entrenched bureaucracy that decides what infrastructure and what major exhibits get built, and what installation goes where - but it lacks many of the elements of a real economy so there is no "social Darwinism" at work weeding out stupid ideas, at least not in the sense that capitalists normally describe it.
Meaning that there is no penalty associated with the tragedy of the commons and pollution of the environment we saw accompanying the proliferation of large sound systems. Last year, in addition to the dozens of rave clubs, sited w/o real consideration of sound-bleed or impact into other activities, people were driving golf carts with sound systems towing generators behind them, sitting in their own soundfield like cigar-smokers in the club-car, totally oblivious to the racket of their generators and other downwind effects of their stinking, second-hand smoke.
In some ways you can see the germ of the techno thing in Gifting It - someone from BM-2000 or BM-2001 is waxing deliriously, happy memories of anart bus showing up and spinning techno for them at the precise magic moment they were ready for it and in "made" their trip. So they saw it as a gift. Hah!! Little did they imagine what was coming ...
At Oregon Contry Fair all forms of recorded sound are explicitly illegal and sound systems, portable or otherwise, require permits. BRC takes that approach to video cameras - which I find to be an interesting reversal - because the video camera takes information away and to some degree the voyeur behind the lens is projecting dark energy, and while there is no doubt that the presence of the lens forces a "closing" of many people's emotional openness - it certainly it does not create the level of wholesale intrusion into people's personal space caused by that rubber-tired armored military vehicle with the 19 KW sound system and super-bright video screens hung from the sides that was driving around the playa last year spinning vinyl. And the impact of the thousands of internet voyeurs peeping the porn sites that the videographers were feeding were largely producing "off campus" effects.
A Burningman-style disco chariot showed up at OCF around midnight on Saturday night, blasting Blondie and Michael Jackson and such stuff, and it attracted about a 100 people into a Mardis Gras parade along the river loop trail and created a lot of sound and light pollution (idiots with high-powered green lasers exploiting the 3' diameter discoball) until some clever folks gently walked in and ever so gingerly attached themselves to the discoball and then silently and before anyone understood what was happening disappeared it into the darkness, and then, while the charioteers were trying to find it, some other clever people gently removed the batteries or speakers from their sound system and disappeared them into the dark.
And a whole lot of Gifting-It'srun-time is devoted to "background info" - interviews w/ Larry Harvey, Danger Ranger, etc. that were not actually filmed at the site. Once again, as in BurnBabyBurn, the film-makers abdicate their roles as storytellers, and let their talking heads pontificate, but do not use the camera to demonstrate.
What my friends and I do at major "show and tell" events like BRC or WOMAD or OCF, or the backcountry on Maui, when we find something astounding, like the rope swing that was installed last year at 360 and Mainmastis we immediately corral a bunch of people and mount an expedition to go see the site.
These guys miss the point of the medium they are working in - which is to show us what they are talking about. Show us how the TunaGuys leverage a pair of small charcoal cookers and a
pound or two of fish into a vibrant party scene, day after day.
Only one artist really gets to talk, sort of the same problem as BBB - actually BBB does a better job on the artists, but at least this one shows some art.
But overall, my sense is that BBB presented a rather powerful negative advertisement for humanity in general and entirely missed most of what I find interesting at BRC.