Visitors to Burning Man are well-versed in the colossal Man and Temple sculptures destined for a fiery demise, but the dozens of pop-up installations can offer the festival's most pleasant surprises. One such installation is Yuli Levtov's (previously) Musical Periscope, ideal for the Burner looking to take it easy on the drugs, but still turn their brain upside-down. Levtov's installation will capture the already trippy sights of Black Rock City with a hallucinating computer and wrap them around a 30-foot pyramid.
The titular periscope juts from the top of the pyramid, capturing video of the temporary city and algorithmically turning what it sees into psychedelic visuals and music. "Stars in the sky twinkle like diamonds and become musical melodies, cyclists leave trails and pluck invisible strings, buildings start to breathe and create pulsating waves of sound," Levtov explains in his Kickstarter campaign. Anyone can grab control of the camera while benches stationed inside and out allow the other visitors to experience the altered state from any angle. A starry sky will be serene and conjure ambient music, while footage of the Man going up in flames will be more frenzied.
Below are examples of how the visuals and the sound will work:
“The idea was to enhance our perception of the world around us, and provide a space where people could come and be absorbed by an alternative reality," Levtov tells The Creators Project. The goal of creating an alternative reality fits in nicely with anarchist writer Hakim Bey's concept of the "temporary autonomous zone," which played a role in the conception of Burning Man. Levtov's inspiration for the Musical Periscope, however, was primarily visual. "I was very inspired by the sight of Burning Man at night, and saw it as an amazing source of visual information with which to generate augmented reality music, which is a field I’ve been working in for many years," he says.
Levtov is designing the Musical Periscope with the help of creative technologists at Reactify and the Frogma Art Collective. The Kickstarter has raised $2,800 of its $4,600 goal, with eight days left at time of posting. If their crowdfunding goal is met, Levtov and his collaborators hope to tour the installation through the UK to give non-burners a taste of the Playa.