It’s hard enough to build Awful’s Gas and Snack; why are we then disassembling it, transporting it hundreds of miles, and re-assembling it under what might be extremely difficult conditions in the middle of a desert in hot August?
We feel that Burning Man provides ideal conditions to exhibit an immersive installation like Awful’s. We have requested placement by the trash fence, far from other projects. This ensures that Awful’s is seen in isolation from a distance, and approached on its own terms, with a background that gives a sense of limitlessness.
As people come near to Awful’s and begin to interact with its elements – read the signs, appreciate the design, press the 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.
The austere and even disorienting conditions of the playa help the visitors suspend their disbelief and participate fully in the world we have created. The (usual) lack of cell phones and electronic devices ensures that the spell is not too easily broken.
In addition, Burning Man attendees are particularly open to new, challenging, and potentially transformative experiences. Our aim is to radically expand people’s sense of possibility, to showcase a positive vision of one possible future, and to provoke a curiosity about how we might achieve such a future and a desire to make it happen.
In short, we are fabricating self-fulfilling prophecy and we can’t think of a better environment to cast actual magick than Burning Man.