Thursday, September 6, 2012

BM: Art Cars

With the size of the temporary city, basic transportation required a bicycle.  The rule for vehicles was that once you picked your spot to set up camp in the city, your vehicle does not move again until you are leaving. 

The exception to this are art cars.  These are mobile pieces of art, as the name implies, and range in size from this two person scooter-based project:

To this double city bus, (one of those two busses connected by a flexible section deals,) with a full size ship built on top, with a lower and upper deck, blasting music, and an open (free) bar.  The purpose of the art cars ranged form creative personal transport to this massive moving party.  These mobile parties are in constant motion, and you are free to hop on and off them as they cruise through the wide open desert sections of the playa, or up and down the city streets.  Some of these projects are massive financial and time commitments, and these are undertaken by private citizens, with no opportunity for profit or recuperating of costs.  They are gifts to the community.  How some of them were brought down the two lane road to this section of the desert boggles me.  I imagine the larger ones are constructed on site, a different headache all together.

This was the sister to another car I hitched a ride out to the perimeter fence on for the sunrise one morning.  I especially liked the suckers running down the tentacles, aka toilet plungers.

A flying carpet.

The undercarriage of the flying carpet.  From the smallest to the largest art car, these things needed to be strong enough to a) hold all the people that randomly hopped on them and b) powerful enough to cruise around the desert, on relatively flat hard pack that was often thickly layered with dust and sand dunes. 

Star Wars inspired:

Not sure what this is meant to be, other than a ton of sheet metal work.

This one had a Montana theme, complete with large animal pelts.


I wanted to find out what was powering this one, but was quickly distracted by other things.


Brain.  Two seater, the driver and passenger are just visible by the reflections in their goggles.

Speed racer?

A little single seater solar car, the panels providing a nice shade structure.

I never got close to these two for better pictures, but the shuttle in the front, and the gold dragon in the back would pass in the distance every now and again.


Not all the artistic vehicles were battery of combustion engine powered.  This fellow added moose antlers as handle bars to his tricycle.

These ladies had a double seater with full size car wheels.  This is one of the few pictures I snapped where clothes were less than fully covering.  I will address the nudity somewhere else, suffice to say it was rampant, and having a possessive wife, I tried to capture none of it in pictures.

A whole collection of cool tricycles, and one four person peddler in the background that had a ships wheel for steering.

A moving tropical island, with hammock seats hanging over the desert as it cruised around.

This one looked amazing at night.  Many of these were amazing when their lights/flames came on at night.  The nighttime pictures show only those things though, without the incredible details of the craftsmanship.

Mad Max on steroids.

I never saw this one, as I'm sure I didn't see hundreds of others, but seeing it arrive and being assembled  reinforced my impression of the degree of effort it took to build and get these things to the event.

Super VW Beetle.  Incidentally, there was a whole section of camps clustered together in a VW bus village.

Tank, docked at the dock, next to the sunken ship.  More on that later.

Rastafarian party bus.

Giant bunny.


Nicholas and I were jumping on a trampoline, and as I bounced up and he fell down, this was what I saw coming at me.

Another picture taken as I was jumping on the trampoline, there's a three mast ship coming down the next street.

This was amazing, a victorian mobile-home.

Worth a second picture, as it cruised by in a light dust storm.

The octopus.  A staple of the BM scene, this thing is impressive during the day, but amazing at night, when it blows balls of fire out of each of it's articulating arms, and straight out the top of its head.

A cute party bus...

with an incredible light show.  This went cruising by our camp site as we were starting to set up the first night.

Another Mad Max themed vehicle, this thing had a flame thrower on the top that shot out huge arms of fire.  

Again, this is just a sampling.  I saw only a fraction of the total number of creative vehicles, and took pictures of only some of the ones I saw.  

If anything like a theme comes out of these disparate topics, it will likely be the scale of the event, the amount of effort put in by so many people, for a single week of collective time in the desert.

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