Black Rock Atlas


social science and experimental design at Burning Man 2018 in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab.

read the full story in Nautilus Magazine!
people talking behind row of poster tubes, also known as vessels





a row of poster tubes, also known as vessels, in the desert


Together, our team designed, constructed, and deployed 15 cultural probes, or “Vessels”, consisting of the following:


the five components of a vessel

  1. DISPOSABLE CAMERA
    participatory engagement
    qualitative data

  2. DURABLE CONTAINER
    portable & visible

  3. SCROLL
    informed consent
    project instructions
    Terminus information

  4. 12x Gifts
    participant feedback
    Burning Man gift culture
    visual presence

  5. GPS TRACKER
    quantitative data 
    support retrieval


a person holding the scroll that I designed



Building on Stanley Milgram’s Small World Experiment (sometimes known as Six Degrees of Seperation), each Vessel was intended to reach a final Terminus through a series of handoffs:



an animated gif showing a handoff of the vessel from one participant to another


hypothesis

The unique social systems of Burning Man, paired with the unconventional design of the Vessels, would encourage the participation that previous social search experiments have lacked - allowing for unprecedented insights into cooperation.


a diagram showing the process of recieving the vessel in a handoff, taking pictures, travelling through Black Rock City, and handing the vessel off again
project site

made in collaboration with
Ziv Epstein & Christian Almenar



process


intial costing, brainstorming engagement, re-labelling & assembling, travelling & implementing the experiment





~fin~