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"Burning Man at Google: a cultural infrastructure for new media production"

by Turner, Fred (2009)


Every August for more than a decade, thousands of information technologists and other knowledge workers have trekked out into a barren stretch of alkali desert and built a temporary city devoted to art, technology and communal living: Burning Man. Drawing on extensive archival research, participant observation and interviews, this article explores the ways in which Burning Man’s bohemian ethos supports new forms of production emerging in Silicon Valley and especially at Google. It shows how elements of the Burning Man world – including the building of a sociotechnical commons, participation in project-based artistic labor and the fusion of social and professional interaction – help to shape and legitimate the collaborative manufacturing processes driving the growth of Google and other firms.The article develops the notion that Burning Man serves as a key cultural infrastructure for the Bay Area’s new media industries.

Key Passage



Google, Peer Production, Unpaid Labour, Empirical Study, Sociology, Silicon Valley, Artistic Labour, New Media, Information Technology


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