In an effort to combat Burning Man stereotypes, a team of Bay Area artists have brought to the Playa a 35’ tall mobile gramophone that doubles as a sound system and cabaret stage. The La Victrola art float is a larger-than-life crank turntable that, on select days, will roam the grounds of Black Rock City, “playing crackly old 78s” from its 3,500 lb horn speaker. When it gets dark, the float stops and turns into a gas-lit stage rigged with pyrotechnics and seating for live musical performances.
The float consists of a box base and a giant horn mounted on its back railing. The base of the float is painted black and gold in the style of Art Nouveau. The float is ornamented with patterns and fixtures that recall the bygone era of vaudeville and speakeasies. The top of the speaker base is a flat platform that operates as the stage for the performers. Underneath La Victrola’s decked-out facade sits what looks like your run-of-the-mill moving van, giving the float complete mobility.
The installation's professionally-engineered steel frame was put together by over 30 volunteers at American Steel Studios in Oakland. The skeleton of La Victrola is composed of multiple different steel pieces that have been bolted together. This makes it easier for the crew to take apart and resemble individual sections, which goes a long way when it comes time to transport the piece. In a short video feature with Fox KTVU, one the project’s head engineers, Sean Cusack, says the single horn piece can be dissembled into 24 separate pieces that can individually be carried by two or three people.