Burning Man Information Radio (BMIR)

In the late 1930’s John Frum arrived on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu. He was dressed in western finery and brought with him food, shelter and all manner of strange machinery never seen by the local population. He cleared land and prepared it for the landing of gleaming silver birds that came from the sky, bids that carried yet more bounty. Then one day he left. Followers of John Frum built symbolic landing strips to encourage airplanes to once again land and bring them “cargo”.

In a similar fashion, in late August of 2013 strange beings with monikers like Eyefleye, Kanizzle, LM, Grey, Winchester, Bobzilla and many others arrived in Black Rock City. Some of them arrived in gleaming silver birds from the sky; others came across the land on machines that carried them. They too were dressed in all manner of western finery. They carried much strange machinery. They assembled several buildings and erected a silver tower to which they connected their machinery. On the tower they placed the following symbols: BMIR.

In 2013 BMIR continued its long tradition of serving the citizens of Black Rock City by providing live 24/7 news, information and entertainment as well as a welcoming destination for participants. Once again graced by the art of Ken Griswa, BMIR was also pleased to serve as the location for the installation of “ManifeStation” created by Barry Kulmann and Asia Emener.

2013 also marked a noticeable improvement in BMIR’s signal strength and sound system. Ken Griswa, BMIR’s Artist-in-Residence collaborated with BMIR’s Chief Engineer, Mark Chang to fashion a custom-made mount for BMIR’s antenna. This gave BMIR approximately ten extra feet in antenna height which translated to improved coverage of the city. In addition, BMIR featured a new outdoor sound system which sent the sounds of BMIR out across the open playa crisply, clearly and free of distortion.

Always welcoming to citizens who want to participate, BMIR featured many new DJs as well as long-time returning personnel. New friends were made, old friendships were reaffirmed and made stronger.

After two weeks, the staff of BMIR packed and left Black Rock City taking their cargo with them. Will they return to BRC? If so when? If you scan the internet for BMIR.org, the sounds of BMIR can be heard echoing around the globe. And if you explored the art on the open playa, you may have come across an installation called “The Voice of the Man”. It consisted of a replica broadcast tower connected to a beauty salon dryer chair. When you sat in the chair and lowered the dome over your head, the glowing dome played the sounds made by the staff of BMIR. Perhaps, this symbolic art will encourage the return of BMIR to the Black Rock Desert in 2014. Stay tuned.

Submitted by,

Bob Sommer