Wednesday, November 1, 2017

IIIIIIIIIIII ––––– Foreword and Farewell ––––– IIIIIIIIIIII

Foreword 2017

Most of the week, the heat was oppressive until the evening which gave us warm nights, superb for sleeping under the stars
The wind was barely there except for a Tuesday dust storm that brought kilos of dust on everyone
The kindness and smiles on all faces for most of the week
All the camp designers super excited to talk about minute details of their camps, priceless
A washboard "axle-killer" exodus road on Tuesday post-burn
Bikes as MOOP
One unstable burner changed the nature of burns to come
The Tree of Ténéré, The Temple, Incendia dome at night, Ilumina, Rabid Transit (with soundtrack), Abraxas Thursday morning, Solipmission (the black cube), The Glorious Gastronomic Galactic Griddle for random playa dinners, Sextant (Torrey), the fireworks for Man's burn, the tears of joy being able to live these precious moments.


After 21 burns and 10 years blogging it's time to call it quit.

This blog was created to be more reactive than my old pages
going back to 1996 and with the hope to inspire and grow
a community of like-minded participants building a functioning city
in an inhospitable environment while having fun, mostly.

Within the years I posted thousands of images of camps, structures,
along with hundreds of reliable links, which was an exhausting labor of love,
my ethereal gift to the community.

The Golden Rebar Award was created to highlight the innovative
or most surprising shelters that I considered as important
as the various art installations all along the playa.

My secret fantasy was to have an informal and zany ceremony were I could give away the physical Golden Rebar Awards.

Instead of that, I made a book.

2 years were spent on  Research / Writing / Editing / Design and Layout (which paid off with a 2017 Graphic Design Award) / Production and Problem Solving /
The result was a burner worthy book with a tactile cloth cover and blind embossing, packed with info, data, tips and, most of all, a very large visual spectrum of our vernacular architecture.

One year was spent on a worldwide promotional campaign with stellar results: features on CNN, Wired, Wallpaper (of all!!), Architectural Digest and more (not too bad for a Frenchman working alone from a tiny San Francisco bedroom)

From around the world 289 buyers daringly purchased this self-reliant project.

This dismal performance resulted in several drastic personal changes.

As for the commodification debate, the goal was with the profit,
to publish limited edition books of two talented playa photographers.

Instead of working on this exciting project, I am looking, now,
for international movers to cheaply and sheepishly
regroup and recoup overseas,
time to burn the page.

Unable to keep a sales structure and book cases in storage,
by respect for my daring 289 buyers, the remaining books (850)
will be terminated (Baker beach style) at the end of the year
without any Black Friday, French tickler Sunday or Tutu Tuesday.

In fact because I am doing  a "Whatever Day Promo" where I am
adding to every order a long gone book from my botanical past,
a very nice stocking stuffer!

The good news is: there will be one less photographer on the playa
and one less overwhelming blog to read.
my mood

Without further ado I am pleased to bring you, again, a visual overload
of the many faces of my / yours / our city with 300+ images

Due to the ever-changing nature of the city and its large area, it is impossible to capture all the interesting and new structures that were in the desert, I am sorry if I missed your dwelling, nothing works has planned: c'est la vie!

Golden Rebars: this page
Street Views: camps
Art Installations, beautiful burners, camp Déjà View: here

For the previous years, I let you find out how to get there.

Soundtrack loop: LCD, Chrissy, Sons, Mayan

For a slideshow experience with higher resolution
double-click any image

Welcome to Black Rock City 2017

Golden Rebar for keeping up 
with Buckminster Fuller

Black Lotus Society Camp with true geodesic sphere of 24' diameter 

Golden Rebar for Serene Scene

Serene is the least word you would associate Black Rock City with.
Weathered burners know this place, so I will not mention it in a vain attempt to keep it as is,
an oasis of silence
Octayurts in the Mindfield
Sometimes there is a fine line between an art installation and a camp

There goes the Neighborhood Golden Rebar

Suburbia Camp 2017 once again brought tongue-in-cheek and joie de vivre with its white picket fences, plywood mansions, mailboxes, astroturf and traffic lights

Golden Rebar for Zipping around the Box

David Braun, lead and designer of camp Naked Heart Camp,
tired of using year after year expensive bi-directional tape to slowly assemble hexayurts,
came up with an innovative way to accelerate the building process.
He connects the insulation panels with zippers pasted
with insignia cloth, an adhesive backed cloth used
for emergency sail repair, and sets up the yurt in 7mn
Although expensive at first, this investment can be recuperate
(hopefully) with several years of usage. 

Naked Heart Camp hexayurt zipped panels detail with Insignia cloth

Golden Rebar for Upping the Ante

James "Heavy Metal" Erd (kilt) and Torrey "Sarge" Smith with their penetrator at Sextant camp

When you have a 1200' long Zipline at the top of a 75-foot tower (with a bar for 10 intrepid burners) on top of a 27-foot dome facing giant 4 Million Volt twin Tesla Coils, you need some heavy-duty anchorage. 

In their non-stop journey for pushing the envelope of extreme fun 
while complying with the highest standard of security, 
James Erd and Torrey Smith are testing diverse screw anchors. 

So far, they are successfully using the PE-26 Penetrator that has a limited lifespan before failing in shear during multiple installations and removals.

They took matter into their own hands to manufacture an Earth anchor that has an unlimited lifespan and can be easily installed with handheld impact wrenches.
The Penetrator is a 1.75" x 36" 17-4 Stainless Steel screw 
machined by James in the Sextant shop at m0xy Oakland 
on a Monarch 61 lathe.
17-4 Stainless Steel is many times stronger than the 304 Stainless in a fork. It is used in Aircraft landing gear and Medical Devices.

Torrey, keep making engineering sexy!

Golden Rebar for Fighting Burner Warming

Once again lost in the city, looking for a camp a I never found, these two tents caught my eyes.
Similar to hundreds around, somehow I had to stop and look closely at the reflective fabric.

Serendipitously, Sean Davis, veteran burner / creator / designer of the tents came out one of them and started a conversation.
Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign he was able to manufacture his No Bake Tents with a double layer of heat reflection fabric topped by a vent to disperse rising warm air.

No Bake Tent Designer Sean Davis is a Tall burner and while that day the heat was oppressive, being inside the tent, in the afternoon, was instant relief.

Overdue Golden Rebar for Ball Connectors

For participants looking to build a more organic dome with wood sticks, Chris Jordan, Mike Paisley and David Brickwood designed the easy to assemble Hubs connectors
It's fascinating to see the development of an idea from prototype to fully founded product, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign

This is a fun way to build rapidly, small 2V and 3V domes without going through the tedious metalworking associated with dome making.

Clever packaging 

Dome made with Hubs connectors

In the spirit of bringing more info while doing research on the Hubs connectors, 
we found the Geohubs connectors for domes made with pvc tubing 

Disclaimer before torching this blog

As a photographer crisscrossing the city around the clock to document in earnest its colourful diversity, I meet participants coming from all walks of life enduring the same harsh environment of the desert in multiple fashions which is the essence of my work and makes it exciting.
My 14 faithful readers know that my goal is to give a vision of the city
as realistic as possible without restriction or prejudice
Also my friends and neighbours know the ultra-spartan living conditions in my camp, Déjà View, which is the opposite of the following camp
My purpose by featuring it is by no means to enable them let alone to make them the face of BRC

But when a camp brings a clearly defined good natured state of mind with the goal to build a sustainable and reusable structure that is aesthetic and effective, I must acknowledge it 

Coming from Mexico, using 6-years-old bamboo grown in Chiapas with a clever system of plates and connectors designed in CAD, laser cut and also manufactured in Mexico, these structure were tested for 100 mph winds.

The project was led and manufactured by Javier Diaque (
and designed in collaboration with Luisa Correa (Bambuterra),
Veronica Correa (Kaltia) and Xavier Hierro (Precoor)


Golden Rebar for Sustainable Design

 Camp 2017

The chill Space structure is called by designer Javier Diaque, "Bichos" (bug or insect in Spanish)

 The other Bichos for the dance Space

Camp geometry

Camp communal space structure

Inside the chill space, the hot air rises through the opening with the low frequency mandala keystone

The Nest, chill space, is a two layered structure with a shade cloth fabric on top of an inner structure made of bamboo panels, it works!

The custom-made bottom plate connector

Bamboo installation with pentagonal connector

Corner connectors for bamboo beams

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

–––––––––––––– Street Views 2017 ––––––––––––

For a slideshow experience with higher resolution
double-click on the images

Black Rock City 2017 Camps

There are so many camps at Black Rock City that it is sensible to make 
your camp visible from afar with some signage to attract participants 
and act as a landmark to find your way back deep into the night 
while bringing a strong identity to your camp

Celtic Chaos Camp 2017

Camp Fuck Yeah  where size matters

Camp Boring with its moveable sign

Camp Fuck 
Sometimes signage can be discret, even subtle

The Secret Gentlemen Club (G) Camp with flags and a white Zome created by Rob Bell

Mental Dental Camp provided everything for the buccal hygiene of the neighbours

Camp Wouwou 2017 with visible art and super friendly Swiss participants

Baker Beach's Man Camp sports a sign made of driftwood gathered on the birthplace of the event.  

Dusty Frogz Camp 2017 with la Tour Eiffel, was the place of a big French community with free flowing Pastis and existentialist conversations

Hotel California Camp built with the space cubes and nodes engineered by artist Gregg Fleishman and Scott Mahoney of Lost Hotel fame
This design is called Düxel by camp designer and lead Matthias Wagner

Canadian Corner Camp with flags

Camp Do More Now with Dive Bar which brought its own sub

7 Siren's Cove Camp with its crow's nest

BangTribe Camp 2017 with a self-explanatory sign

Swing City Camp 2017

InapproPirates Camp 2017

Distrikt with the Zonohedral Domes of Rob Bell in an a rarely seen empty moment 

Distrikt  2017 in full action in the evening 

Camp Zero Fucks 

Badlands Bordello Camp 
A facade makes it easy to identify the camp and anchor the neighbourhood 


Twisted Swan Celtic Pub Camp conceals its unappealing carports with a facade

Orgy Dome camp is very disappointing, it should be renamed The Orgy Carports

Playa Choir Dome is a real 5V dome

Playa Choir rehearsal

Incendia 5V Dome with 4V satellite domes was a fantastic place at night with flames on the top and inside the ceiling and around the DJ booth, the place to be at night.

Incendia Dome 2017 connectors

Celtic Chaos suspended dome is not OSHA 

Camp Fat Cramp or Whatever 2017

The use of parachute for cover is not for the faint of heart unless you come up 
with the right solution as presented in the following exemples

The Hammock Hangout Camp triple layer parachute 

The Soularium at Naked Heart Camp, an extremely well run camp, its manual should be an inspiration for any big size camp if not every camp

Inside The Soularium, the well taut parachute is supported by 8 reconverted irrigation pipes, the aerodynamic shape make every storm a breeze

Naked Heart Camp communal shade with irrigation pipes and ventilated dome 

Inside the ventilated Dome of Naked Heart Camp 

As in the default world a portal defines your space, makes it inviting 
and sets the tone of your theme camp, plus good fences make good neighbours

Dante's Infurno portal

Dante's Infurno camp 2017

Camp with trash fence looking toward the Selenite Range 

Camp Steep Tea Bar with portal 

Camp Corny 2017

Caravan of Light Camp 2017 with portal

Caravan of Light Camp with many Bell tents 

Mayan Warrior Camp with Alien Buffalo Tents

Tension tent with Shiftpods for Serendipitea Camp 

Chainsaw MargaritaGuys Camp 2017 with a Lotus Belle tent

Starstage Canopy

Eskimo pop-up ice fishing shelter, inspiration(?) and cheap option to the Shiftpod

Bill Moss Optimum 350 tent for Jellyfish Camp at Alternative Energy Zone Village
Every year I try to shoot this unique tent.

Campground tents with The Hammock Hangout camp 

Desert Living with stretch fabric and tennis balls

Anahasana Village Aluminet shade structure 2017

Anahasana Village Aluminet shade structure inside 2017

Camp What is Your Sign? Inside 2017

Camp What is Your Sign? 2017 
This lovely camp helped neighbours making new street signs 
to replace the signs that were stolen for souvenirs

Camp Things That Swing 2017 with their bucky domes

Camp Things That Swing inside

Camp Things That Swing 2017 inside a bucky dome with a new fabric

Inside a Caïdal Tent, it used to be in Maroc the tent for the dignitaries

Camp Ibiza with Caïdal tents and Camouflage net

Camp Serendipitea 2017 with camouflage for its communal space
It's worth noting the use of flags to keep the camp off the street corner thus leaving enough visibility at the intersection and also preventing people cutting corners to come too close to the camp 
A clever spatial organisation

Camp Serendipitea Lounge 2017 nice comfy shade

Camp Serendipitea D.J. booth with foliage 2017

We are craving for green, herb, grass, tree (see the enormous success of the Tree of Ténéré installation) so, anything that brings the soothing effect of nature in this arid environment even totally fake, is effective. More camps every year

Camp Serendipitea inside with trees 

Galactic Jungle camp with colourful Palm trees

The Kashbah Lounge with tension tents and palm trees at 2:00

Green Forest Mutant Vehicle 

Burner Buddies Camp front yard

Burner Buddies camp 2017 with RV's

Curb appeal of a Plug and Play Camp 2017

RV's 2017

Truck of Pathogen Trackers camp 2017

Pathogen Trackers Camp in dust storm 

D.I.Y. Teardrop camper 

T@B Teardrop camper with shade

Unicorn VW bus at VW Bus Camp 2017

Splittie VW bus at VW Bus Camp 

RV or art Installation?

Desert Truck 

Artic Fox Camper. This couple mailed postcards to the default world

Airstream at Trailer Park 

Burnstream Point Lighthouse mutant vehicle by Bruce Reuser at Airstream Camp 2017
The beam of the lighthouse, DCB-36 beacon, in service since 1933, is supposedly visible from 100 miles away, 

The Purple Gypsy trailer, a BRC staple for years 

Yellow Gypsy trailer, please bring more of them

747 Big Imagination has landed

747 Big Imagination custom made carpet

747 Big Imagination Frequently Higher Club

747 Big Imagination inside the hull that hosted several parties

Deep Jungle Love, the longest Monkey Hut in the world!

Inside the soothing Deep Jungle Love hut

Epic Camp 2017
Check out what they did with their containers to help the Santa Rosa fire victims

Epic Camp with Epic Spaces upcycled contenairs 2017

Containers as art along the Esplanade 

A container can make a nice bedroom with all the amenities
On the left check out the clothes organizer

I guess orange was the transition

Comfort and Joy Village 2017

Comfort and Joy Village flags 2017

Having Fun with Swings 

Skinny Kitty Teahouse and Lounge 2017 saddle shape

Ice Pyrates Camp 2017 giant inflatable structure

Inside Ice Pyrates Camp they were partying hard, so funny

P3 Oasis Camp  wood frame

Rest Structure 2017

Palette Palace Camp, made of...palettes, great upcycling

Palette Palace Camp inside 

Leopard Lounge and Spa Camp made of pop-up shelters 
with top vents to release wind pressure.
Being a recurrent camp associated with the VW Bus camp, 
they trust these shelters.

Pinkee's Truck Stop Camp Ynot, made of pink pop-up shelters
A bicycle pump was under the blow sign

Pop-up Shelters with pink flamingos garden
Any strong color brings life in a sterile environment 

Monkey Hut with a canopy made of a net and knotted pieces of colorful fabric

Monkey Hut inside

Monkey Hut colorful detail top

Camp Crooked in the Mindfield 2017

Camp at K@9:45
Is it the home of the Lost Tea Party by Alex Wright with Wreckage International?

Philly Phreak Show Camp

Pink Mammoth in construction 

Paradise Motel camp with the Airpusher mutant vehicle in the background

Standing Rock Camp at BRC 

Standing Rock Camp with Red Lightning Village 

Standing Rock Camp canopy 

Disorient Camp Orange canopy 

Star Star Camp 2017

Star Star Camp canopy 

The Hangry Bishop Camp 

Circle J Inconvenience Store camp packed with fake brands

Circle J Inconvenience store camp MOOP Station 

Pele's Fire Camp

Camp XTR-LAB designed by students of the Columbia University School of Architecture led by professor - architect Christoph Kumpusch

Camp XTR-LAB structure

P.V.C. pipes structure of the Embassy Camp 

The Embassy at Camp Reverbia

Kamp Kimono

Burning Love Project Camp

Snow White Camouflage 

Monkey Hut with a white tarp is a departure from the ubiquitous grey tarp

Nacho Campo with Delta Canopy held nightly Lucha Libre in a nearby ring

Superb Zome made of insulation panels 2017

Yurticorn at the Unicorner 2017

Yurtopia at Space Camp 2017

The several modules of the Yurtopia at Space Camp

Nearodesic Polyhedron Quad Dome, a large zero-waste structure
developed by Edmund Harriss on a query made by Vinay Gupta

Inside the Nearodesic Polyhedron Quad Dome

The Church of Insubordination an another variation with insulation panels

Red Rocket Camp 2017

The Wastlanders Camp with Atomic Café 

Reiki Camp with driftwood 

Platybus Camp at first I thought it was a Daft Punk rehearsal

Saga Camp 2017 an A-frrame with burlap

Tickled Mink camp with a Geometry Dome

A Van Brink / Lerner Geometry Dome with Flower Truck at Sunset 

The Hang-out Camp 2017

Hammock time

Cleu Camp in construction with Old Razorback Mountain

Beats Boutique Camp 

Heavy Equipment as art

PlayAlchemist Camp 2017 Pyramid in construction

PlayAlchemist Camp Pyramid inside construction

PlayAlchemist Camp Pyramid

The Outback Camp with Granite Range at Sunset 

Houphoria Camp 2017

Houphoria Camp at night

Destiny Lounge 3D Camp

Red Lightning Camp

Radiance 5V Dome designed by Light at Play led by Yona Appletree with 200 Light Guide Panels

Incendia 5V Dome the brainchild of Cory Glenn was the hottest place on Playa
at night with its fire-taming ceiling heaters

5V Dome in deconstruction

Celtic Chaos Camp at night

Rabid Transit by Duane Flatmo and crew
To get the full experience of the tremendous fire/light show that they put on check out its soundtrack

The Playground at night 2@D

PlayAlchimist Pyramid on Esplanade

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Bottom right of this column Click Older Posts to see more Participants, Installations, Mutants and my camp in page 2 of the 2017 edition