Quick mini-update: we went to Burning Man! We burned most of it! But we’re not done yet!


A museum of today, in the future

What is Awful’s Gas and Snack?

Awful’s Gas and Snack is an immersive art installation for Burning Man 2019 that showcases a positive vision of one possible future using a variety of narrative elements. We aim to radically expand people’s sense of possibility and provoke both a curiosity about how we might achieve such a future and a desire to make it happen.

Awful’s Gas and Snack is a gas station and mini-mart, set in the year 2120, well after gas stations are no longer needed. One of the last gas stations has been restored and serves as a museum about our time.

As people come near to Awful’s and begin to interact with its elements – appreciate the design, read the signs, press buttons on the gas pump, listen to the radio station, or ask the attendant for snacks – they gradually realize that it is set a century in the future. The props inside the mini-mart / museum provide participants many ways to explore the world of Awful’s and invite them to imagine themselves as a character in 2120 and to contribute to the project by writing and drawing in notebooks and other materials. An employee break room serves as a way to expose the direct reality of 2120 to today’s visitors.

Awful’s is currently being constructed in a fabrication space in Oakland, CA. It is constructed in a modular form (out of 100% reclaimed wood) so it can be dismantled, hauled to the Black Rock Desert, and reassembled to be shown to the public for the first time at Burning Man.


Concept art of snacks and sundries available at Awful’s Gas and Snack.

At Awful’s, we will give away junk-food-type snacks for consumption. These will give some indication of coming from the 22nd century, even as they are used to demonstrate the nature of that 20th- and early 21st-century landmark, the gas station mini-mart.

Re-programmed and re-decorated gas pump

Outside the mini-mart, Awful’s has an actual gas pump which we’re rebranding. We’re creatively re-programming the interface so that it can act in-world as a 2120 museum exhibit explaining gas culture to an audience that has never seen a gasoline-powered car.

trimmed gas pump
Gas pump painted with Awful’s branding.

Open houses

We’ve hosted a couple of open houses at the project while it’s under construction to give people a peak at how it’s put together behind the scenes, and to collect ideas about what kind of world Awful’s is part of and how our descendants got there.

open house
Visitors enjoying one of our “behind-the-scenes” open houses.

The open houses are over, but if you’re interested in checking out the end result, contact us to be part of the “play-testing” of the installation when we’re done. Otherwise if you want to see Awful’s before its debut, you’ll have to volunteer to help build it. 🙂


As of late June 2019, we’ve finished the rough frame of Awful’s Gas and Snack. Next up, we’ll be filling the installation with art and props that will provide glimpses into the larger world of Awful’s.

Concept art of the employee break room in Awful’s.

In the background, future community radio station KIUV will play news, music, DJ banter, and interviews. We’re gathering suggestions and participants for the audio production now and we’ll gladly take more volunteers.

We’re excited to finish construction of Awful’s Gas and Snack and show it on the playa! (We’ll do our best to get it out there in the greenest way possible.)