2020 Burning Man Proposal: Playabrary

Proposed structure to house 36 flat-screen monitors displaying only data and imagery related to the Playa.

OK, the design has evolved a bit since the LOI, here are a few studies of where we think that it will go:

This is based on some of the work of Horst Berger, check out his book ‘Light Structures Structures of Light’ for some really interesting work. Also, Frei Otto and his work using minimal surfaces of soap bubbles to┬áinform his architecture. The internal, circular deck afford views both of the data ‘arena’ inside, and of the outer world through the view under 6 arches. The tensioned overhead cloth membrane provides shade for the upper deck, and also, 6 separate, ground-based areas for participants to gather out of the sun, hang out and meet new strangers.


Anyways, for this project, we wanted it to have a reason for being in the place that it is, more than just being ‘das blinken lights fur das hippies’. This piece is intended to display video that is from, about and sourced from the Playa: think weather data; participant arrival times and rates; particulate matter distribution in the lower air column; cloud cover; etc.; etc. We have data from Remote Automated Weather Stations around the Black Rock Desert, and have been in comms with the BLM and BMan’s Census Bureau to get other data. As well, we have had samples of the Playa examined with Mass Spectrometry and other analysis techniques and are looking forward to displaying them. This gives participants a chance to look at other dimensions of the Playa that they might not otherwise think about, a good way to implement the Multiverse aspect of this year’s theme. Think about this project as kind of Library of Congress of the Playa wherein all that we can find out about it is available for display. A piece of Civic Comprehension Infrastructure.