Decommodification: A Letter From The Editor


Decommodification is one of the most important aspects of Burning Man culture. This concept allows for some of the other Ten Principles, like radical self-reliance, radical inclusion and gifting, to fully develop as ways of life at Burning Man and regional events. The official Burning Man website defines Decommodification clearly, “In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.” This participatory experience is, in essence, the heart and soul of Burning Man! Through decommodification this experience is not marred with a monetary system and all the hierarchy, advertising and commercialism that are such a central part to our everyday society. At Burning Man one is able to escape the rat race and stand on even ground with every other member of the event.

At Burn After Reading Magazine we adhere to the Ten Principles of Burning Man and decommodification is an integral part of our ethos as a magazine. Unfortunately, our magazine must exist in “the real world” which means that the monetary system does play a role in our ability to consistently bring the greater Burning Man community a new platform of expression through Burn After Reading.

Our system for avoiding commodification while still being a viable magazine is relatively simple. First and foremost our magazine is totally free. We may ask you to pay for shipping, it is a cost that we just can’t avoid, but we will never ask you to pay for subscription. Yet the funds for our entire infrastructure such as domain, hosting and printing, must come from somewhere! In order to keep our magazine up and running we sell advertising space to burner-owned-businesses, which will cover some of our costs and provides a place where businesses can reach a large burner audience. This approach deepens our community by keeping commercialism out of our magazine while still advocating for burners and their projects, businesses and passions. We will also be supplementing our printing costs with donations, grants and fundraisers. Printing costs for recycled paper (LEAVE NO TRACE!) in the quantity that would be appropriate for Burning Man (a few thousand minimum) are in the $10,000 range which means we’ve got a lot of work to do before our first print date of August 1st. Please be on the lookout for our IndieGoGo fundraiser and the little donation button on our site. If you want to relax under a gorgeous art installation in deep playa while reading a full page editorial spread about that very art installation, then please consider donating to help us print the first edition of Burn After Reading Magazine.

Transparency is also important to us at Burn After Reading Magazine.We would like to make this promise to you, our most amazing, brilliant and inspiring readers, that we will always be totally transparent as an organization, in other words, we’ll let you know what’s up. In the spirit of radical-inclusion we will always include you in our doings and create a strong dialogue between you, the reader and us, your trusty vehicle for getting your voice out there.

That being said, we need you to speak up! Tell us what you want to read, tell us how an article made you feel, get involved, leave comments, send us emails, tell your friends if you find an article especially mind-blowing! This magazine will only work if it is a communal effort! Burn After Reading Magazine is for you, my lovely burners!

3 Responses to “Decommodification: A Letter From The Editor”
  1. As this is my first burn, I wouldn’t mind seeing a list of do’s and dont’s, or stuff you’d wish you’d known before your first time.

  2. Tristen 'Dubz' Waters
    Tristen 'Dubz' Waters

    Hi Phynx! I will be going over many things like that in the Radical Self-Reliance column over the next months. If you have specific questions, please feel free to post them in that section. Or, anywhere that they are applicable, for that matter! I am obsessed with lists, so trust me, there will be many lists :)


  3. Decommodification, important to BM??? Lets see, if one is a burner, and owns a biz, they can advertise. The mag is free, but… c’mon. really? what a load of crap you are creating. it won’t last long but then again, this is america, land of the ignorant
    You guys should expand and sell mountain properties in wildfire deforestation. or swampland in florida.


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