top of page

PLATFORMS:

logo.IAMU.02.png

On paper, It’s All Made Up, or IAMU (both statements are existentially true) is a (generally) DC based Burning Man camp founded in 2011. We are now known for many things, such as creating and operating the DC Burning Man Intermodal Shipping Container program, or being one of the first camps in our region to utilize scaffolding for a wide variety of purposes (in Black Rock City, Miami, and even on the National Mall, twice). 

 

Because of our camp member mix, and the events we would hold (like ‘I’m Black and I’m on the Playa’ or Dia de Los Muertos commemoration) we were asked by the Burning Man organization in 2014 to create a video about diversity and equity in the culture, to help start a larger conversation about how to create a more inviting and inclusive future for underrepresented communities on Playa (what we Burners call the Black Rock desert). 

 

We built our own rapid deployment, modular, scalable, mobile green energy system starting in 2015. Since then we have also deployed, documented and shared our innovations in water use and gray water handling, for which a documentary was produced by none other than Terry Pratt

We were among the winners of the mysterious Necklace Factory Awards of Excellence, which we legitimately thought was a Playa urban myths until an amazingly outfitted, top hatted MC / circus ringleader type walked in and ceremoniously read us one of the most stunning pieces of language we had ever heard from the beautifully printed award poster. And gave us a legit as hell medal. Twice. In 2017 and 2019. If you ever need a good cry about what holy work it is to be a fierce, loving, existential creator, give those a whirl.

IAMU.Necklace.2017.210px.jpg
IAMU.Necklace.2019.210px.jpg

The ceremony these were delivered in was heart and mind blowing. And they came with a matching medal and patch.

We have also had a reputation for being the ‘hard work’ camp, and that’s fair. We have stubbed our toes and been left holding our own bags on more than one occasion. But we always got back up and cleared our heads. And we always made it a point to have a very light touch about anything we had tried, that we may do things differently, better, more nimbly, the next time. Despite all the challenges, the work, the everything, the net result is that more than a decade later, we have ended up being a crew and camp that punches well above its weight, and our work and creations are known by Burners the world over.

 

And we are happy for this. But that is all impact, symptom, of what we intended to be for ourselves more fundamentally from the beginning. We didn’t set out to do those things. We set out to create a home, a platform, connection for all of us to feel safe and supported in being the creators we were, whether we knew what that was or not. That is our originating WHY. And what follows is where we arrived. 

But let's back up a bit..

Why Burning Man?

Why Burning Man?

Why Burning Man?

We all come from somewhere, where we became set in our ways of what we think our lives are, especially the longer we have remained, or somehow stopped moving along the way. In modernity, there are great opportunities and fortunes to be made for those who can lock down and sell us the most tailored and efficient ways we can be set, in anything. It makes us feel like we are in control. But we rarely ask, what in us needs to control? Why do we need that? Many people have told me they have never asked themselves that question. Not the question about not wanting harm to happen to us or those we love. The question about how we never question how that need for control controls us.

 

To me, Burning Man is a context, an existential ecology and a very real place and time on Earth where I work that out trying to plan ahead, but more poignantly, in a live-action reality creation arc for two weeks with some incredible human beings. To me, Burning Man is a portal we all create together for which we do not receive reward for doing, other than the absurd, insanely challenging shit show it can very well be. We all do it, anyway, for free. It can actually be quite expensive in many ways we are not used to covering or paying for, sometimes even with vulnerability we may unexpectedly find ourselves putting forth. Like real love, these real things from ourselves can only really be given. Who wants that? Lots of people, who, despite all their own rough rides in life, know that’s what this all is. That’s actually all we got. So let’s bring all that together, for the hell of it. Like the world has a better plan.

 

Burning Man’s has a reputation of being one of the biggest and craziest parties on the planet. It is. The twist is that it requires each of us to be as real and actual as we can be in our creating and taking care of ourselves, and others, for a week or two. There are no vendors. There is no money. You are two hours from the nearest box store, in an environment that sometimes, literally, tries to kill you…

 

We are a long way from a Princess cruise here. Burning Man is a lot of choosing and shaking off what you are not. It is a lot of creating, with basically no guarantees. The back of the ticket itself includes a friendly reminder that if you die there, it’s on you. Now that is a clearing.

 

You want a lived meditation of the limits and possibilities of being a creator? Let’s go.

bottom of page