Kaleidoscope - Burning Man 2019

Kaleidoscope - Burning Man 2019

From MT & the Kaleidoscope Crew

A six-story interactive art piece built for Black Rock City

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You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. Walt Disney

Adventure awaits you! Kaleidoscope stretches six stories up, inviting you to climb steep ladders and stairways. The windows are awash with colors that shift throughout the day.  Around each turn of the stairway are new glimpses of Black Rock City.  

 Photo by Jini Sachse

Kaleidoscope is intended to evoke visions of buildings in old industrial areas of cities and towns around the country, an ode to steelwork of the late 19th-century/early 20th-century industrial architecture. It conveys the emotional and nostalgic atmosphere of the well-used and well-worn places, aging industrial buildings in older, sometimes derelict areas of every city in America. Kaleidoscope is a tribute to these buildings, a reminder of days gone by. A shift not only of light but of time.

Kaleidoscope is also a playhouse of light and color. Since the tower has transparent walls wherever there aren't windows or doorways, climbers are able to see the world around them and the view from most places inside the structure. During the day, sunlight acts on the transparent colored walls like stained glass. At night, the tower is lit from within to glow well out on the playa and draw people like moths to a lamp.  

Photo by Jeff Basham

Kaleidoscope is built to be explored and climbed. Inside, there is a flying spiral staircase and handrail clinging to the inside of the wall going up to the roof. The staircase passes transparent exterior walls of color. Sunlight flows through the walls during the day to bathe the participant climbers in radiant light reminiscent of stained-glass walls. To get back down, there are fire escape balconies with ladders and stairs down one face of the tower. A slide at the bottom completes your exploration of the play structure that is Kaleidoscope.

Photo by Jeff Basham


How will Kaleidoscope get to the Playa?

This is one of the biggest costs for Kaleidoscope. The most optimal plan is to have Kaleidoscope trucked to the playa and back by a commercial carrier. Failing that, we will find a big heavy duty trailer and haul it there in multiple trips. 

How will it be assembled and raised?

Once on the playa, we will have the aid of a crane that can fly the structure into place. The modular and prefab design should make assembly of the structure relatively quick and easy. Hard hats required. 

How is it secured to the Playa? 

Kaleidoscope will be anchored to the ground with multiple screw-in ground anchors, interior cables, and turnbuckles at all 4 corners. This will mean that there are no exposed guy wires outside the structure. 

What are the Risks and Challenges? 

The biggest risks are monetary. This is a motivated crew that is working hard throughout the summer to have this project return to the Playa. Our only obstacle is funding - which is where you come in!

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