Ok, so I’m sure by now you’ve been hearing a lot of chatter about BORG2, the Burning Man splinter group started by Chicken John and Jim Mason. Well here’s a first-hand impression of BORG2 from Rachel Weidinger which was forwarded to us by TheNetworkGirl (both Rachel and TheNetworkGirl are BORG2 Art Council 2005 candidates):

Local Nerd Discovers New, Strangely Idealistic Tribe, “BORG2”

Rachel Weidinger, a nerd originally of Columbus, Ohio, recently stumbled upon a group of people who call themselves BORG2. (And by stumbled, we mean saw the announcement for a gathering of BORG2 on The Squid List.) This tribe of idealists, an ethnic group long thought to be extinct, is attempting to change an arts funding system they believe to be broken with the only primitive tools they have: idealism, kindness, the world wide web, transparency, beer and enthusiasm. They describe the broken system as failing to incite spectacular art by having a sub-ideal curatorial process, and massively under-funding the effort. BORG2 isn’t going for SFMOMA’s throat, or the City of San Francisco’s Public Art programs. Nope. They’re going after the organizers of that fantastic, if fleeting, city in the desert — Burning Man. And their massive plans to transform arts funding are a bet with the head honcho of Burning Man, Larry Harvey. BORG2 wins, and he’ll seriously consider big changes in arts funding.

In the grand tradition of ethnographers, Ms. Weidinger finds herself on the slippery slope of Participant Observer and is now running for a seat on the nine-member Art Council. The Art Council is rather like any small town civic arts council — that is if someone threw open the doors and allowed city agencies to compete to serve constituents better. It’s an _alternate_ arts council for Burning Man with plans to speedily raise $250,000 and disperse grants to artists for artwork for Burning Man 2005 through a democratic voting process. With direct grants to individual artists in the U.S. on the decline, BORG2’s plan is downright radical.

Whether you’re a burner or not, BORG2 invites you to participate. (Not surprising from an ethnographic stance, as many members are 30+, and the tribe’s reproductive rates are dropping steadily.) You’re invited to review the candidate’s statements, peruse the FAQ, and attend the live election results party at The Odeon Bar on Wednesday, 1/18/05. Participants and Participant Observers alike are welcomed.