Tue 28 Jan 2020 10:57PM

Let's make sure there is ART at KiezBurn this year

BL Benjamin Langholz Public Seen by 181

Hi I'm Benjamin. I've been to 18 burns around the world including Burning Man, Kiez Burn, AfrikaBurn, Borderland, Nowhere, Midburn, and Burning Japan. I've created grant-funded artworks at Burning Man 2017,2019, AfrikaBurn 2018,2019 and Midburn 2017. You can see my work here

KiezBurn is an amazing event, but I feel it's lacking art. When I say this I don't mean it's lacking in artistic gestures or creative endeavors, in this area we are overflowing. But the kind of art that to me, and I believe many others is one of the things that defines a burn. Large scale, interactive, installation artwork. The kind of thing that blows your mind, inspires you and makes you say wow out loud.

For an artist, this kind of artwork is expensive, takes months of planning, and is an incredible gift. Sadly I do not believe the Dreams Platform is an effective way to create opportunities for this kind of art to arrive at our event.

I am proposing and volunteering to organize an Art Department for KiezBurn 2020. I want to publicize an open call for installation art to have concepts submitted and reviewed within the next month. Then myself along with whoever else is willing to volunteer will select 3-5 artworks that we feel will bring the feeling of burner art to KiezBurn, and are likely to be executable. I would then propose that some of the funds leftover from last year, let's say €15,000 (someone who has an eye on the money could give a better idea here) and distribute it to these artworks in order to secure meaningful funding for them early on to at least get them started towards being able to create their vision. The art department would then continue to support and keep an eye on the projects up until the end of KiezBurn when they are uninstalled and taken offsite.

To be clear I am not proposing at this moment to do away with the Dreams Platform. In fact, I would encourage the artworks selected by the Art Department to seek additional funding through the Dreams Platform once it's available. I propose that this Art Department and art funding happen well before, with separate funds, and entirely independently from the Dreams Platform.


walto Thu 12 Mar 2020 1:39PM

I do not consent to this dismissal and would request that we escalate this to an in-person discussion.

Hey @Benjamin Langholz, sure. There are 2 processes for how to deal with disagreements/conflict (see the advice process thread).

  • conflict escalation process: this is ideal when it concerns a 1:1 conflict/disagreement. I am happy to go through this with you. We are already in touch through FB messenger. Let's continue there?

  • Open call for a meeting for consent: ideal when there is a disagreement/conflict between multiple people. This seems more fitting for this proposal. In my eyes, in practice, we already went through this once when you came to the dreams meetup and we explored some form of consensus. However, again happy to do this (albeit better through hangouts/online given corona).

How would you like to proceed?

To be clear: the advice process clearly stipulates (point 6): "Event realizers that are (strongly) affected by your decision must consent to go through with the PROPOSAL.". As is clear: several Dream realizers do not consent at the moment with the proposal as it currently stands, effectively blocking this proposal from being put into action.


Saskia Thu 12 Mar 2020 11:02AM

Hei Benjamin,

I wish to reply to you on behalf of the dream team. Some members have already made their individual statements.
This is also a post answering to @Alexxx who wishes to see how dreams are affected.
Please be aware that this statement is a compiled collection of individual dream team members points.

Bottomline: The dream team as a whole would not block the art department but it would also not be happy with the art department happening in its' current proposed form.
The dream team as a whole cannot foresee the consequences for dreams other than that they won't be positive. Individual dream team members do not consent to the idea of the art department and would leave the dream team most likely. Some dream team members are yet unsure about that. One possible consequence of the art department happening is the dream team imploding with a variety of possible consequences for the dream project.

We would adivce for the art department to planned for 2021. Either in conjunction with dreams or replacing dreams entirely. Either in conjunction with Alex' proposal for a changed approach or in conjunction with other ticket proposals. There are also dream team members who would support the fleshing out of such an art department in fall 2020 so the time-aspects of bringing big art can be addressed in 2021.

  • How dreams are affected

    • Depending on the amount of money that is going from dreams to arts and from dreams to infrastructure this year, the result might be crippling for dreams platform.

    • It takes away worth of the tokens and hence taking away decision power from the individual Kiez Burner in order to give it into the hands of the proposer of the art department and his two chosen assistants

    • While this doesn't make the dreams platform obsolete necessarily, it diminishes the contribution of dreams and the value of the dreams project in total. Some dream realizers do not consent to this (subsequently dropping out) and some dream realizers are simply 'not happy' with this idea, but would not block it

  • Direct and tangible consequences for dreams and dream team if the art department goes forward

    • Realizers will drop out

      • Depending on the number of realizers who drop out this might render the dream team too small to function currently

    • If dreams are still running: We will remove the bias towards big arts and installations and move it towards the other categories as arts and installations already get a guaranteed bigger chunk

      • Currently, big arts and installations get prioritized exposition @ dreams and leftover tokens will go to installations and arts happening on 'Deep Playa / Dreamland' space. That will go away.

      • The 'additional chunk of money' to support ART & installations can either come from the art department (benefitting 1-3 art projects max) or from the changes made to the dreams process (benefitting all dreams registering as 'ART & installations)

    • We will have to rework our manual in order to avoid double funding. Double funding was a huge point of complaining last year for infrastructure. Double funding via both routes (and getting a double advantage) was to be avoided this year as an explicit goal of the dreams process

    • We will have to inform dreamers about the changes and deal with the responses

  • Individual Philosophical / Principle-based arguments (and maybe also opinions and be taken as such...)

    • Art department can do all the things or none of the things. Realizer of art department doesn't get to choose to only spend time with his eyeball and leave the rest for the dream-team (accountability / responsibility)

    • The dream team can fulfill the tasks of the art department but the art department is not willing to take on tasks of the dream team. There is accountability the one way around but not vice versa.
      If the dream team steps down, everybody can enjoy their one - three big art piece and nothing else funded by Kiez Burn.

    • Going back to a centralized art department without having explored the option of changing the dreams process makes progress in this regards almost impossible and feels like giving up after a year of not even trying to make it better. Dreams do not get a shot at growing and getting better

    • The dreams department was making several suggestions on how to combine art department and Dreams Platform (f.e. making the art department a dream itself. Making the art department a self-fund / crowdfund thing with PR and communication help by the dream team/ etc. etc.) Until now these advices/proposals have been rejected. The argument was that the proposer of the art department is not interested in the process & actually sees it as a hindrance for ARTISTS doing capital ART, and doesn't want to partake in anything that stands in the way of doing art.


Paul aka Khromo Thu 12 Mar 2020 10:59AM

My ultimate goal is to ensure that there is art at Kezburn I joined the dreams platform because of this, and to pull the balance of funding away from Kieze decorations and parties to actual art. To ensure a full and vibrant art playa/platform/hill.

So as that plan goes there WILL be art of Kiezburn this year. Goal achieved. Now to see if it works.

I initially supported the idea of an art department - I think the big art idea has merit - but I think it failed to materialise because there was no timely decision made. This is one of Kiezburn's failings: we talk too much aboout ideas that go nowhere becaue we take too long to come to a consensus. I also think a lot of stalling and "filibustering" goes on in some cases, but that's just me :)

On the con side, I wonder: does Kiezburn have the scale to support such big art projects? We are only 1000 people after all.

I disagree with the "behind closed doors" argument - there's no reason why it should be behind closed doors JUST because it was in the past. Using dreams means that it's open to all. All we need now are some big ideas now that the community can vote on. And that won't be disguised as some "arty" dancefloor or sex-tent in the back end of someone's Kiez.


Benjamin Langholz Thu 12 Mar 2020 9:46AM

Here is my very clear statement in one sentence: I do not consent to this dismissal and would request that we escalate this to an in person discussion.

To attempt a longer winded explanation:

While your answer is more verbose it has only made things less clear to me. I would request and challenge you to summarize what you are trying to say in one sentence.

I can understand from your post that in your mind the ART Department will not be going forward. What I do not understand is the why.

If I assume you are saying essentially the ART department will not be going forward. This message was particularly surprising as it is opposite to what I was being told during the leads meeting from several other board and event coordination team members.

One thing has been made clear over the past month (wow this has thread is over a month old!) I do not natively speak the language of KiezBurn organization. This post makes me feel my desire to contribute to KiezBurn is being dismissed for in some way not following “the process” (Although as far as I understood the process was on hold until just a few days ago? And as far as I can understand it I was) or being natively fluent in this language.

To be quite honest you may have won. Because of this strange and drawn out situation at this point I do not think I will continue to desire to contribute to KiezBurn as I am feeling less and less that my energy and contribution is desired by the KiezBurn org and specifically yourself Waldo. I will likely still choose to attend but in a consumption only basis.


Benjamin Langholz Wed 11 Mar 2020 11:56PM

I'd actually prefer the short-form version as I am still unclear what you are actually saying. Just that you are saying more.


walto Wed 11 Mar 2020 11:20AM

Okay, going to write it out longform :)

The Problem that was addressed in this proposal was that bigger art needs more guidance, earlier timing & funding. The Dreams Team already had these problems in focus and wanted to address these, which we hope & believe to have done in the Dreams Platform 2020.


  • we explored a consensus between the Dream Team and Benjamin how an art department could fit into how Dreams works. I regret that this was not successful, despite a great willingness from the side of the Dream Team to come to a consensus and incorporate the art committee idea. @Alexxx below the screenshot of where it is linked:

  • Since everyone agreed that we should have a Dreams Platform again (including Benjamin), we set out to launch this platform.

  • The advice process was closed and we are set to launch today.

Separate Art from Dreams

The key issue seems to be that Benjamin sees this proposal only succeeding if this is separate from the Dreams Platform. Besides the several principled objections to the format and decision-making process of the suggested art department, it also is hard to conceive a Dreams Platform to be successful in parallel to an art grant committee that does not operate through Dreams:

  • Dreams being funded on top of what they are allocated on Dreams, goes against the whole philosophy of Dreams. It was also a major learning of last year that we should not have external funding pop-up on Dreams after granters gave their tokens (see infrastructure projects last year). Granters should have full transparency on the actual funding needs of a project and this should not be tampered with.
    ==> As one of the Dream Realizers I do not consent to "double funding"

  • Alternatively, artists/dreamers have to choose between an art department or the Dreams platform when they want to submit an art application. Although do-able, this increases the insecurity for Dreamers and further complicates the process.
    ==> I do not "not consent" to this, but would heavily advise against this system. It will also require a large degree of alignment between said art department and the Dreams team (no double funding)

Going forward

I see four options:

  1. Either an art grant committee or a Dreams Platform, responsible for all Dreams/art/... (there is no point in Dreams without art)

  2. An art committee that decides on fund allocation after Dream voting ends (see Borderland, principled objections remain regarding format & decision-making process of this art committee)

  3. After launch of the Dreams platform, and before voting, an art committee decides on fund allocation to certain artworks. However, as stated by Benjamin before, he does not deem the Dreams platform to be working for his proposal. Principled objections remain regarding format & decision-making process of this art committee.

  4. We organize a big fun party with the Dream/Art grant money instead!


Alex Kaos Wed 11 Mar 2020 10:11AM

I am also unsure of the implications of this post. You have not come to consensus within the Dreams Team with this art committe? Does that mean that you (as individuals or Team) are not consenting to the proposal?

I also see no reference in the Dreams advice process thread you linked to this proposal. Nor do understand how the Dreams Platform is influenced in any way, other than receiving less money as proposed. Operationally everything can remain the same, just eh numbers change.

Finally, if the above statement is true. Who are the affected parties of this proposal that can remove consent? The Dreams Team wouldn't have to do more/less work in response to this proposal that I can see, so they may be effected, but not affected.

Please correct me if I am missing something here.


CJ Yetman Wed 11 Mar 2020 8:42AM

It's also a bit unclear to me what you're saying here @waldo. Are you announcing that this proposal has failed based on what happened in another proposal?


Benjamin Langholz Wed 11 Mar 2020 1:25AM

I don’t exactly understand what you’re saying here aside from the focusing of Dreams on art and performance. Can you please clarify?


Saskia Sun 8 Mar 2020 9:57AM

Hey, @Jeff Spirlock - you might be interested to hear that dreams this year will exclude Kieze / Camp funding & infrastructure funding and also tweak the bias towards art & installation. :)

Load More