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September 21, 2004

Free phone booth at Burning Man


Connected to Nothing and Everyone

Burning Man deliberately takes place in a harsh, remote location. Each year, 30,000+ people gather and build a city of art on the flat playa of the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, then dismantle it a week later--to the point that after cleanup, you can't even tell it was there. It's an environment devoted to being appreciated, commerce-free--about art and technology and shared experience.

The Black Rock Desert is where the rocket cars broke the sound barrier. It's a perfectly flat dry lakebed, the location miles from the nearest village of Gerlach, and about 90 miles from Reno, the nearest significant city. In other words, it's about the last place you would expect to find a phone booth, which is why I had to build one. Ideally I wanted a traditional "superman" style booth, and those can be found, but cost a fortune to ship, so we went with a more modern pedestal style phone. The goal was to have the phone just sitting there, mounted on the desert floor, connected to nothing, yet working, just where it shouldn't.

Posted by jo at September 21, 2004 02:20 PM


September 11, 2003
Second Life's Virtual Burning Man

All the freeform creativity and dreamy partying --just without the sunburns, or long lines at the portapotty. In an online tribute to the legendary Burning Man arts festival held every Labor Day weekend in the Black Rock desert, Second Life opened up two new simulators (about 32 acres of virtual land), and let the residents go wild.

Running concurrently with the real-world event, residents immediately converged on Burning Life, held in the Mauve and Chartreuse simulators, throwing up fantastic sculptures and structures. Pyramids of giant monkeys! The statue of a torch-bearing goddess! An electronica-themed nightclub for raving into the wee hours! Elf-bearing dirigibles, pagan art shrines, kinetic horse sculptures, solar system mobiles, and of course, the bonfire incineration of the Burning Life effigy itself. Everything seemed possible, and usually was -- right up until September 2nd, that is, when the simulator territories were returned to normal use. Posted by sfisher at http://interactive.usc.edu/archives/cat_immersive_environments.html

Posted by: Jo at September 29, 2004 06:00 PM