BRC webcast and remote participation

The reopening of Black Rock City after several years away from the dust is only days away. If you’re like me, you’re quietly (or not so quietly) freaking out about how you’re going to get home this year. Of the 80,000 lucky souls who are able to join us in person, your main concerns are no longer about tickets but probably about how you will complete your art, mutant vehicle, or camp.

Unfortunately for too many veterans and virgins, the trip to the playa will not happen this year. You were unlucky in the queue, or the playa didn’t deliver this time (it never does, by the way), or your best-laid plans got stuck in a other pungent perch. For too many, the economy, health issues or the realities of international travel will keep you from participating in person this year.

Matthew Reyes aka Motorbike Matt manages the webcast, 2017 (Photo by Robert Bruce Anderson)

I’m here to tell you not to despair – the Burning Man Webcast team is here for you. This year the Burning Man Webcast returns to the desert to continue the tradition of sharing sights, sounds and stories from a camera mounted on a tower above Black Rock City.

(Pictures by Motorbikematt)

What is the Burning Man webcast?

For those of you who have been on the playa, you might be wondering, “Wait, there’s a Black Rock City livestream?” While I applaud you for completely unplugging while participating in Burning Man, the answer is yes, there has been a webcast from the playa since 1996. This year I will end a decade by personally offering the playa webcast. It all started for me in 2013 when I developed the camera system that streamed Man Burn live from the Mars Rover Art Car.

How Webcasting Ensures Consent and Respects Privacy

Over the years, some Burners have expressed concerns about the cameras broadcasting from the playa. There have been internal conversations about whether, in the spirit of immediacy, we should even have webcasting.

After thoughtful reviews and after listening to years of participant feedback, it’s clear that respectfully sharing a slice of the playa with the world serves an overall positive purpose. It is my job to ensure that the Webcast stream operates under two strict guidelines: ensuring consent and respecting the privacy of all participants inside and outside of Black Rock City. We take these guidelines seriously and express them both in how we use cameras and communicate with people online and in the city.

For example, while we zoom in to share artwork in our line of sight, we will NEVER zoom in on city streets where people live. During brighter days, we lower the video resolution to reduce the risk of accidentally capturing attendees’ identities. In the same spirit of Immediacy and out of respect for privacy, the livestream is neither recorded nor rebroadcast. With civic responsibility and community effort in mind, we work with Online Burners to identify and issue takedown notices against instances where our webcast video is recorded and reposted in violation of our copyrights. and/or terms of use of a platform.

In short, we are taking an active stance to protect the experience of Black Rock City attendees while providing a clear opportunity for radical inclusion in the event. However, we are not here to provide you with a video tour that you can enjoy comfortably from your air-conditioned couch. We exist to inspire you, help you transcend everything that has taken you away from the playa, and allow you to transform into what we like to call a “remote participant”. Remember there are no spectators at Burning Man!

What does it mean to cultivate community as a remote participant?

With these safeguards and intentions in mind, we encourage derivative works and other creative ways to expand your connection to the global Burning Man community. One of the easiest approaches you can take to join us is to share your personal Burning Man webcast experience via instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok. Just use the hashtag #BMwebcast and you’ll be sure to catch our attention!

(Illustration by Jonathan Rondeau)

Thanks to the wild imagination of remote attendees over the past decade, we’ve seen online communities form around the webcast that can help expand your ability to participate. For example, the “largest camp not on Playa”, called Camp Envy, has Facebook and Soft groups we actively monitor and respond to during Burn Week. You can find us at Burning Man virgins and veterans group for your requests! If Facebook isn’t your thing, consider signing in with the Burners Discord Server or of course, the one from Burning Man ePlaya forums.

Through these communities and more, we’ve evolved the official live webcast from a limited Black Rock City video stream to a more interactive shared experience. The webcast team not only shares our personal insights, but we answer online questions and take (reasonable) requests to connect you with art, family and other Burners living in town. We organize interviews with interesting citizens and leaders of the regional network. When we can, we’ll work with willing dusty attendees to zoom in on them safely so they can come home on camera! Each year, we set aside a fun time to carve out a “consent zone” and gather a group of dusty attendees to wave, dance, and otherwise interact with remote attendees in front of the camera in what we affectionately call the “Playa Video Postcard.”

Along with the pleasure, we also provide the sincere and the serious. One of the most honored and touching (and sometimes emotionally challenging) services we provide has been to allow remote participants to deliver their own messages to the Temple. Every year, we receive countless direct messages or tagged posts on social media from participants seeking catharsis and release through these messages. Thanks to the pandemic and the canceled two years of Burns, the messages have already started to arrive.

If you would like the webcast team to deliver your message to the Temple, tag your favorite social media post with #TempleMSG Where E-mail the team directly to [email protected] until noon on Sunday before Temple Burn. Anonymous messages can also be sent directly to @motorbikematt on most social networks.

What if I’m going to be at the BRC and want to stream live from Burning Man?

Now some of you reading this have your travel plans in place and might be interested in creating your own live video stream from the playa. No matter the overwhelming challenges, distraction and expense of How? ‘Or’ What you would be able to do it, you should consider the most important question of Why?

Black Rock City is a place where deeply personal, emotional and life-changing experiences unfold minute by minute. These experiences are often amplified by the fleeting, fleeting moments in which they unfold. These are also experiences that many people have come to believe are not broadcast to the world. Some attendees resonate with and are comfortable at Burning Man because of the implied anonymity the playa offers. Cameras aimed at participants’ faces and bodies before they are able to provide clear and informed consent can destroy trust and their ability to speak freely. Given the growing problems around influencers with cameras flooding Black Rock City, an anonymous webcam would be an unwanted presence for many Burners. We ensure that everyone has the ability to provide feedback directly to the Burning Man Project or express their concerns to me directly.

With that in mind, it’s important to remind everyone that Black Rock City is a private event held on public land. Burning Man Project has very clear and established rules that are intended to prevent privacy breaches, keep our culture non-commercial, and reduce unnecessary distraction from the principles of immediacy and participation. When you purchase an admission ticket to Black Rock City, you are not only accepting our Terms and conditions, but you are also expected to help protect everyone’s ability to express themselves radically. Read it Media Rights and Responsibilities Page for more details.

“In Black Rock City, you don’t have to get paid to be a pro. “Professional Use Media” is used to describe just about any media project intended for public distribution. »
The Media Mecca Rights and Responsibilities Page

So if you wish to bring a video camera, please be aware that Burning Man Project will not allow live video streaming or any other real-time uplinking of visual media from the playa – leave your webcams at home. Instead, think about how the 10 Principles will help you express yourself more fully, get the most out of your real-world experience in Black Rock City, and enjoy your time after two years away from home. Be present there, it’s a week that passes quickly. Focus on the dust and leave the webcast to us.

And if you can’t attend at all this year, know that wherever you are in the world, you can watch the live webcast. here.


Cover image: Volunteers dust the webcam at the top of the tower (Photo by Robert Bruce Anderson)

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