Flashing Plastic Crap
These plastic 'hangtags', were distributed at Burning Man 1998. These images are printed on what are essentially blank (white) credit cards. A notch punched at the top edge supports a clip, allowing the cards to be hung securely from clothing or desensitized skin.

The small dot in each image (click to enlarge) indicates the location of a hole which will be punched in the card, through which is inserted a red SuperBright LED. The LED is part of a small, self-contained battery unit which is glued to the back of the card. These units are light, water resistant, and invisible from the front of the card. A simple squeeze activates the LED, which blinks blindingly at the observer, allowing peer photolocation in the chambers of the desert night.

The flat lithium batteries support an estimated 200 hours of use, and are replaceable.

The card on the far right was specially distributed to members of the FLESH LAB camp. Designed to look sporty with lab coats, these cards allow access to proprietary Flesh Lab technology, information, brainstates and behavior patterns that could prove hazardous to uncertified personnel. Some space is available for the affixation of a small I.D. photo, as well as the name of the technician to whom the card has been issued.

115 each of the Burning Man designs were made, and 75 Flesh Lab cards, plus 5 or so prototypes each. There are no extras left; they cannot be bought. If you received one at the Black Rock City Arts Festival, it was because you or your art touched my life in some way, an acknowledgement of your effort, at the very least, and quite often of sublime achievement. A few people got 'em from just being in the right place at the right time. Thank you all for being part of my world for this brief, blinking moment.

Here's a story we received from a happy recipient of a blinkie card:

Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 22:45:57 -0400
From: "Terrence Schoop" (dr_c_forester@hotmail.com)
Subject: Another happy flashing badge recipient

Hey, thanks for the badge-

I was hanging out at the central cafe on Monday waiting for the traffic to die down when somebody handed it to me. My roomate and I had our cars in the line to leave Monday morning for about an hour without much movement. (Although she was fortunate enough to have a guy with a puppet perform some opera for her, kinda interesting to watch that happening in my rear view mirror).

Anyway we broke rank and headed for the cafe. Pretty soon the cafe ran out of coffee so I tore into my carefully packed car and we set up "Cafe Gridlock" with the Peets coffee I had left over. Needless to say we became instant heros! Typically people would approach us asking sadly "is it true they're out of coffee?" We turned a lot of frowns into smiles that day, which was cool 'cause we were both first-timers. It was nice to get the badge. As the sun retired on my trip back to Alameda, the intensity of the flashing started to distract me (and certainly the other drivers checking out the red electrical storm inside my car. Add to this the natural buzz you can get from driving long distances and, well stopping to grab a bite at Jack in the Box in Sacramento was a very unearthly experience. We must of looked pretty strange to the civilian population.

I wanted to save the battery in the badge to wear it to Decompression '98 so I popped it out and couldn't remember which way to reinstall it. About a week ago I bought a home computer and today I remembered to check out the web address on the badge. Now I know how to turn the light on and off and will probably be sporting my badge at the Cyberfest Halloween party at the Oakland Coluseum on the 31st. Thanks again,

-Terry Schoop (aka "Dr. Clayton Forester")