Has Burning Man Changed?
(a.k.a. "The Man Is Shorter This Year")
An (un)scientific measurement of the Black Rock experienceMy first year on the playa was 2001. My eyes were wide open and amazed with what I was seeing. And I also remember that in 2001 there were two main groups of attendees, those who thought Burning Man was the most amazing thing they had seen (including myself), and those who were complaining about how Burning Man wasn't as cool as it used to be. The people in the first group had generally only gone for a few years, and the people in the second group had been at Burning Man for multiple years. I came back in 2002 and saw the same occurrence. And again in 2003, 2004... As the years went by, I noticed that the people who were complaining about how Burning Man wasn't cool anymore were just the people who had been in the "Most Amazing Thing" group a few years before. This leads us to one of two conclusions. One possibility is that Burning Man was super fucking amazing 6000, and has generally decreased in amazement over the years to be now only pretty amazing.
Figure 1.1a: Your jadedness plotted over time
"In 2004, we witnessed an evolutionary jump in the development of the grand experiment that is the Burning Man project.Interestingly, I personally experienced 2004 as a huge *decrease* in art, possibly because of many changes that I was dealing with at the time, I even mentioned on my website photo album:
"There was less art this year"That's just one example of how subjective our experience of Burning Man is - I was sure art had decreased when clearly, but many measures, it had exploded. I will always remember 2001 (my virgin year) as an epic year, but in many ways it was actually relatively somewhat small. 2004 was also my fourth year, which is usually when I notice that Burners start talking about how Burning Man has changed. Coincidence? Probably not. So, my dear jaded Burners. Now what? To me it seems the choice is to either decide you have "graduated" from the transformative experience that is Burning Man and move on to something new (and we will miss you, have no doubt); or else you have to figure out a way to alter your relationship with Black Rock City - because the honeymoon is over and it's time to figure out a way to deal with the relationship longer term. For me personally I come back to Black Rock because it's home. The big art and amazing things are lovely, but for me it's because I want to be a part of this society. I want to watch it grow. I want to nurture it in my own way. I want to watch new people experience it. Because while my transformation from Burning Man may have tempered, my love for the city has not. See you at the Man, - David Ljung Madison
(a.k.a. "Mango Boy" of "Firetown / Lumerian Tribe / Big Red Bus Camp / U.S.D.A. / Tangoed up in Blues")
2006: Citizens | Projects | Map
2007: Citizens | Projects | Map