Mutant Vehicle Name
Mutant Short Vehicle Description
A rolling ballroom ceiling with amplified xylophones and gongs for everyone to play
Mutant Vehicle URL
Previously on the Playa?
Years at Burning Man
Previous Mutant Vehicle Names
Full day/night DMV permit in 2011 as “Janus” – the double-headed player piano
Prior Mutant Vehicle
Prior Mutant Vehicle Information
ARTery placed XyloVan as a playa installation in 2010. We earned full DMV privileges in 2011. In 2012, the vehicle remained unmutated, parked in camp at Swing City, but fully interactive.
Other Mutant Vehicles Created?
About the Vehicles Mutation
Xylovan (a successful and much-loved veteran of the playa and Los Angeles regional events for the past 4 years) is fitted with amplified 8-foot-long xylphones and an array of other instruments and gongs that invite people to play music with each other. For 2014, we are transforming it into “The Light Fandango” – a roving ballroom ceiling – by shrouding it entirely in backlit, translucent, billowing fabric suspended from a round armature and hung with brightly-lit brass-tone chandeliers. People will be able to climb atop the ceiling (the vehicle’s roof) and ride 10 at a time aboard a rooftop observation deck fitted with a variety of gongs and percussion instruments to play while in motion or they can jam with those and the ground-level xylophones and other instruments when it is stopped.
The vehicle’s translucent fabric shell will be radically illuminated from within by THREE 360-degree arrays of controllable RGB LED strips (at the crown, midpoint and base of the skin) and by RGB arrays casting light on the playa beneath the vehicle. Additionally we will mount 8-10 yard-sale chandeliers around the crown of the vehicle, lit with the brightest white LEDs available, to cast light on the outside of the vehicle, and on the people and playa below. The effect will be a traveling pool of light piloted by a thousand pinpoints of white light all the way around the vehicle. Think the Duke of New York’s cadillac – only much, much, MUCH brighter and friendlier.
Mutant Vehicle Intent
XyloVan has given thousands of people at Burning Man and beyond an extraordinary experience exploring the music within themselves. On-playa, people constantly mob the van when it’s stopped and flag us down and beg us to stop when we’re moving so they have a chance to play the instruments. We want to extend this, through this mutation design – so that we can bring this experience to people all over the playa, as well as transporting people who want to join the roving party and jump into the spontaneous jams that pop up whenever we stop. We created this specific design with Caravansary in mind – to bring the experience of a nomadic, interactive, moveable musical feast to every single person we can reach on-playa. To see in greater detail what we have planned, please take a look at our Indiegogo video (about 5 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLGhKN_0_f0
Vehicle License Number
State of license
30′ 6″ (with mutation deployed)
22′ 0″ (with mutation deployed)
12′ 0″ (with mutation deployed)
Ford ClubWagon XLT (Econoline 350)
Art Tour Contact Info
Number of Trailers
The base vehicle accommodates up to 8 passengers. The rooftop deck – reached by means of a well-lit, bolted-on ladder – carries 10 to 12 more, and is surrounded by a sturdy, 4’6″ steel guardrail with vertical bars that prevent someone from falling to the ground below.
Sound System Wattage
How big is your system?
Normal car stereo or Average living room (under 90 db at 30 ft)
Sound System Description
Pressure-zone microphones gather sound from the three large xylophones on the vehicle’s flanks, feeding it to a digital-delay mixer, which in turn sends the signal to a 200W Kickr amp. The amp feeds a living-room-grade (small) subwoofer and four bookshelf speakers, which point out over open playa so as to avoid feeding back to the mikes below.
Sound Impact Remediation
The mixer is mounted right next to the driver’s seat so volume can be controlled instantly by the driver. We always turn volume down when approaching the temple or quiet areas of the playa, when driving in streets after midnight or before 9 a.m., and we and remain constantly sensitive to people’s requests to moderate the volume. The feedback problem tends to force us to keep the volume at living-room levels anyway.
The armature is fully bolted to the guardrail, which is bolted to the rooftop cargo rack, which is in turn bolted to the vehicle itself. We have had large men lunge at the rail repeatedly trying to break it, and it holds up perfectly. The chandeliers will be hung above 7 feet, and safety-cabled as well as clipped to hardware fittings in the armature. All wiring and cables are run through conduits well out of the way of passengers. We limit the rooftop to 10 people (or 12 when stationary) and keep an overall vehicle-population balance within limits of the vehicle’s originally designed capacity as a 15-passenger van. Our operating procedures (described below) prohibit people who are too inebriated from boarding.
In accordance with DMV rules, the driver is always sober and well-rested before getting behind the wheel – and remains so for the duration of any run. The driver always travels with a crewmate who:
- Stands outside the vehicle to guide it when necessary (backing up, navigating tight spots)
- Remains vigilant for hazards on playa (obstacles, darkwads, flame installations, etc.)
- Helps conduct people to and from the rooftop deck
- Evaluates the ability (age, agility, sobriety) of rooftop passengers before they board and screens out those who might get hurt boarding or debarking
- Knows where the first aid kit and fire extinguisher are and how to use them
The vehicle takes on and offloads passengers only when completely stopped. Passengers may climb in through the passenger door or the rear doors (although that opening is sometimes stacked with bikes inside). Passengers may board the rooftop deck only by means of the rear ladder, and only when cleared by either the crewmate or by another rooftop passenger who agrees to be the “designated grownup” – to aid the driver in politely refusing admittance to anyone who might be too high, drunk, young, old or simply infirm to safely climb up and down the ladder.
2-4 people 15 hours
- Assemble roof-deck guardrail (2 people, 1.5 hrs)
- Assemble crown armature (2 people, 2 hrs)
- Attach front-wheel shape armatures (30 mins, 2 people or 60 mins 1 person)
- Attach fabric to crown armature and various attachment points on the vehicle (2 people, 2 hours)
- Install and connect light bars (2 people, 1 hour)
- Deploy xylophones, microphones, resonators and speakers (2 people, 1 hour)
- Install safety lights, walkaround and final check (2 people, 1/2 hour)
Number of EA passes
Stock 7.5-L V8 gas engine – recently rebuilt, so about as green as a big gas engine can be. We will be burning approx 6-10 gals.
Does your Mutant Vehicle have a steam boiler of any type?
Data Listed Publicly?