Burning Man 2012 Recap #5.

Artcars! These things really blew my mind. It’s rare that one gets to sit in one’s tent and have this slowly roll on by, squeaking.


Every evening, Cricket and I would walk down to one of the main areas to see the lights and the artcars. If you remember correctly, the main reason I went in the first place was to (hopefully) see the snail artcar.

There were a ton of them and they varied in size, from modified golf carts to full-length city buses. Once again, there were several popular choice themes. Ocean flora and fauna was big, as well as dragons/reptiles and boats/ships. I’ll go through the ones I saw during the daylight hours first.

One particular artcar I was excited to see at Burning Man was the big dinosaur I saw at the entrance of Maker’s Faire. Here’s the blog entry on that.

There was the chameleon tiki bar on wheels:

The anglerfish:

The beetle with all the detritus on top:

As well as the Wonder Why toaster, the manface-mobile, the N’Awlins mask, and the hubcap-encrusted vehicle. (All these names are what I call them. I don’t know what the artists who made the artcars call them.)

But wait! There’s more! The geometric dinosaur, the golden dragon, and the blorpfish with a RV-controlled mini-blorpfish hanging off the front (awww).

The first morning we were there, the artcars were taking people on a tour of all that Playa art. Cricket and I arrived too late to get on to one of the vehicles, but while we were standing there the bestest thing shimmied out from behind one of the larger vehicles.


LOOK AT THEM. They’re so beautiful!

I never saw the twin serpents at night, but apparently they light up in a variety of ways and the black one shoots fire. Swoon.

The first night we were there, we didn’t know any rules or anything. Luckily, our neighbors who had been to three previous Burning Mans informed us the next day that if you walk up to a stopped artcar and there looks like there is room, you can ask the driver for a ride and more often than not they will say yes. You don’t get to tell the driver where you’re going, but it’s super-cool nonetheless. I rode on two artcars. The first one was this gorgeous Viking ship that played Indian sitar music.

Almost all the artcars play music they feel is appropriate for their vehicle. In this video I took of a traffic jam, you can hear bits of everyone’s tunes.


The second time I rode on an artcar, I hopped on and it allowed me a much higher vantage point from which to see. As we slowly wound past some of the camps, we passed a camp called Empire of Dirt where the twin serpents were parked, and… what? What is that behind the OMG BBQ WTF

MY SNAIL CAR. THERE’S MY SNAIL CAR. And it’s made by the same people who made the twin dragons! How fantastic! As soon as the vehicle we were on came to a halt (due to a giant speaker falling down, but whatever) I leapt off and ran back to where my beloved was sitting basking in the sun. And then promptly freaked out.

See how my hands are balled up in fists? It’s because I want to touch SO BAD but you should not touch but I want to touch NNNGGG. The door was open so I could look inside. It’s quite spacious. They’ve built some kind of couch into the back part. The poor people who built all this stuff were sitting there trying to eat lunch and I ran up to them to tell them that I love them and I came to see the snail and I’m so happy now hooray snail! They were very nice to me. They also had a lovely trilobite.

If I had to decide who are the winners of Burning Man, I would have to say the metal-smiths and welders. They made some really extraordinary things, and because those things are made of metal they could shoot fire without their beautiful creations charring or melting.

Okay, night-time. I’ve already talked about the awesomeness, with the lights and the music and the whatnot. Now imagine cars with blinky hoo-hah all over them slowly meandering around the sculptures.

There was the mushroom-mobile and the nautilus.

A video of the mushroom-mobile and the nautilus.


A spaceship (that played Mariah Carey’s “Hero” which is an interesting choice), a horse-n-carriage, a fish, and Hell in a Handbasket.

How about some video footage of a lionfish covered with the same LED strips I used on my jelly-brella? How about if it’s playing “Proud Mary”? How about that?


Here’s my beautiful chariot, the Viking ship, at night.

In addition… the Flintstone car, two unicorns going at it under a rainbow, a sea-dragon, a cricket and two giant fake Volkswagens. I took the same basic picture twice because I loved how their colors kept changing.

Here’s a dragon covered in old CDs blowing fire. You can hear Cricket in the background go “Wooooo!”


I never actually saw this lotus-thing move, but I saw it parked in various places, so I’m going to assume it was a car, or at least mobile in some way. And there’s a jazz band playing in the background.


Probably the most impressive of all the art cars was the cruise ship, solely based on its size. It was ENORMOUS. The base was a city bus, one of those crazy-long ones with the accordions in the middle. On top of that was a ship with multiple decks. That shot fire. And had a giant green laser that you could see anywhere on the playa.

This is a nice overall video I found. It really shows the cruise ship bus off well.


Here are a bunch of other videos I found on YouTube that show various artcars in action.



Tomorrow I’ll talk about the temple, the various burnings I saw, and any other bits and pieces of the desert I have left.

2 Responses to “Burning Man 2012 Recap #5.”

  1. Kyrsten says:

    Hi there!
    I read your blog and saw that we were in it again — that you were the excited woman who ran up to us in camp. You were so sweet and gushing; I think we were trying to repair one of the Serpent’s lanterns when you came by. I wish we had known it was you! I could have showed you how the Snail and Serpents worked. Thanks for all the art car love — the art cars are our passion too. And I am so glad that our Snail is the reason someone decided to come to Burning Man.
    Send me your physical address and I’ll send you a little Snail something in the mail.
    Take care,
    The Golden Mean
    The Serpent Twins
    The Electrobite

  2. Rothbeastie says:

    YAYYY how delightful! Actually, you guys were sitting quietly eating lunch like normal people and I didn’t want to make you get up or do anything. I just did, like, ten laps around the snail and considered selling my apartment and moving in there (it’s surprisingly spacious). Thank you for being so nice, I was geeking out terribly. Thank you for making such amazing pieces, please convey to your team how talented they are. I will send my address to your email above.

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