The Church of the Open Mind

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BRC 2018, Photo by David Sotnick <drilldo at cotom.org>
BRC 2018, Sunday Sunrise, Photo by Stephanie Mohan <stephanie at creativeportraiture.com>

The Church of the Open Mind (Mutant Vehicle)

Timeline

  • 2017 First Build: No permanent walls; LEDs mostly on driver-side and very rudimentary rainbow-cycle; Complete disassembly/re-assembly on-Playa. VIRGINS! Very small DJ booth not practical. Limited sound.
  • 2018 Second (Re-)Build: Permanent steel rear wall; Permanent roof/floor with LVL/Filch-plate spans; permanent steel uprights in front of cab for upper deck; 8' width for driving to/from Playa with P.I.T.A. moving walls from 8' to 12' wide by way of 2' extensions on each side. Better sound: Full-range speakers on railing poles and on outward-facing swing-out doors; Two subwoofers (15" and dual 18"). Real DJ booth with monitors and room for two DJs.
  • 2019 Permanent 8' walls: No more moving walls out to 12'. 2' flip-down extensions create 12' dance floor/chill space above. LVLs for 2' front extension remain in-place, slid back when not being used. Historical Vehicle CA plates to avoid $$$ road taxes (we don't haul anything but us).

History

For the past 10 years, our core members have been co-creating an unofficial camp on the outside street K of Burning Man. We are a small but dedicated group of couples and individuals who have become a pop-up family. In addition to our yearly camp photo performance art event, our campmates have participated in other art projects such as Alien Siege, The Trojan Horse and recently Sonic Runway.

In a dusty moment on the Playa in 2013, we started discussing the possibility of creating a Mutant Vehicle to bring to Burning Man. The idea remained shelved until early 2017 when our organic group of makers and do-ers decided this would be the year. We were moved to participate and share in a new way by creating and operating our Mutant Vehicle. Embracing many of the Ten Principles, our process was truly a community effort. There are always new ways to participate and engage at Burning Man, and this was truly a radical experience!

The Church of the Open Mind (COTOM) was created in 2017 with strong ties to that year’s theme of Radical Ritual. “A Church on wheels with a giant Mushroom growing out of the roof, signifying the decay of the old and the creation of new rituals.” Our intent this year is the same this year as it was last: To present to the Burning Man community a definitive Vehicle as a catalyst to transform traditional, historical rites to new self-created ceremonies and rituals.

We purchased our base vehicle in June, 2017, a 1993 Ford F700 V8 Diesel Flat-Bed. Our initial build site was in the front yard of our Fearless Leader, Captain Fantastic's San Geronimo home. Having never endeavored to build something quite on this scale, we pulled together our camp-mates, contractor-friends, family members and volunteers to build COTOM 2017. It nearly killed us, but we did it. Unfortunately we did't consider how long it would take us to re-build it on Playa that year. Due to our 12' width, we completely disassembled COTOM in August of 2017, drove everything up on the back of the Flat Bed (and some trailers/vans), and completely re-assembled COTOM on the Playa. This took nearly a week!

In 2018, we got smarter: We build a permanent box-truck-like shell, with Simpson Strong-Wall rear walls welded to the frame, LVLs with sandwiched filch-plates running the front-rear span, and a permanent 8' wide roof/dance floor. We started out building with the option to have an 8' wide version (walls at 8'), or a 12' wide "Playa" version. By having the permanent roof structure, we were able to have permanent wiring and controllers in the ceiling, we didn't have to touch all those freaking joist-hangers, and we had a box truck to put all the component pieces of our MV in.

Specs

  • Base Vehicle: 1993 Ford F700 V8 Diesel Flat Bed
  • Vehicle Length: 37'
  • Vehicle Width: 12' (upper deck)
  • Vehicle Height 35' (crow's nest)
  • MV Capacity: 50 Humanoids
  • Sound: 6200 Watts (SRM-450s and 15" sub + dual 18" subs)

Our MV technically has four levels: The bed of the vehicle (plywood floor) "lower level" accessed by the rear "porch" stairs from 12" above ground-level. From this level we have stairs leading up to the Dance Floor level. The Dance floor has an adjacent "sunken deck level" which is the 12' x 12' deck above the Cab, 12" lower than the dance floor (step down). The fourth "level" is the Crow's Nest, which is reached by ascending a steel ladder from the rear roof, which is accessed by way of 2 x 4 ties on the roof.

Build Photos

You can See our 2018 Build Photos Here

Owner

Drilldo