DPW: our Department of Public Works, the crew that heads up early to build the infrastructure of our town, and stays long after the event to break it all down.
Besides the year-round behind the scenes planning, logistics and spreadsheeting (as well providing the backbone of our events like Decompression and Streetopia), once DPW hits our event site we have the following on our to do lists:
Out there, this team works with the plans and requests received from the Operations team. Timelines might literally get washed off black boards and some crewmembers might lose track of what day it is but logistics are real and deadlines have to be met.
This crew lay out the city grid, with GPS points and over 20km of white ribbon, they make the first marks in the dust by marking roads, suburbs and blocks.
Once the grid is in place they also plant all the signage in their correct places.
Split between a Metal shop and a Carpentry crew – these guys and girls build all the lamp posts, toilets, shade structures, shelves, floors, bike racks, black boards, gas cages and everything else that needs to go up.
What gets built must be moved into position and installed throughout our city. This crew unpacks and moves everything from our storage space on-site, puts it in its correct place (hopefully first time) and puts it up.
The legends in the kitchen are there to feed the crew. Some get up early and others work late to make sure the hard working crew get all the nutrition they need to survive in the desert. During the event they feed Medics, Fire fighters, Ops Team, rangers and other volunteers on shift.
The two rigging crews know the ropes with all the tents, shade, masts, fences and scaff towers needed for all operational infrastructure.
The power rangers make sure the VOC (venue operations centre), Gate, Off-Centre Camp, Medics, Airport and site office have electricity, lights, cold beers and radio comms.
Making sure our cars keep running and tools keep working despite the desert conditions is a sure challenge.
Waste and Sanitation. It’s no small job taking care of all the toilets, recycling and plumbing i.e dealing with all the wastewater and MOOP generated by the VOC.
Leave No Trace for the entire site also falls under this detail and in the post-event period we spend up to two weeks walking in lines picking up every stompie, matchstick, sequin and feather dropped by participants.
A season with DPW is a unique and special experience. We are always looking for keen, hard working people with time and skills to contribute to our crew and community.
So you think you have the gumption and the gusto to join the hardest working crew in the Southern Hemisphere? Want to strain and sweat in the lovely Tankwa sunshine for weeks and weeks, building a massive city of participation and invention?
Other Departments of Public Works (and their equivalents) elsewhere across the globe: