The Dwelling at Burning Man 2019

What is the Dwelling?
The Dwelling is an outer playa art installation for Burning Man 2019. It is an alien spaceship that is stranded in the playa. From the outside, it looks like a 6 foot tall shiny metallic gem, half buried in the ground. Its metal surface changes color. From some angles, it blends with the playa. From others, it shimmers pink and green. At night, the gem’s edges glow in pulses of color.

As you step in, immediately in front of you there is a journal, written by someone calling herself “The Pilot.” Her journal, carved into metal sheets, tells the story of The Pilot and The Companion. It tells how they came here, and what they are seeking. The interior of the craft is her home, and she has filled it with objects she has gathered and made through all of her travels through the different layers of reality. Costumes she has worn, friends she has made, and an alien map of all of the places she has been decorate the walls. A control panel nestles in one corner.

You can come into her home and rest, try to make sense of the alien objects inside, or hope for her to return. Many things inside are not designed for us. Our hands do not fit on the controls, and our eyes cannot see all of the markings inside. What does she look like? Will she come back? Come visit and see.

The Dwelling is Taking Shape!

Thanks to help from all you great people and an incredible amount of work by Phil, Yariv, Jasmine, and a bunch of friends and colleagues chipping in, the Dwelling is starting to come to life.  The frame is built -- sturdy and buildable and ready to contain interesting things:

The fancy shiny panels for the outside arrived after much delay, drama, and some comedy-of-errors. What they look like is still a secret, but the wooden framing to support them is also ready to go:

The book  is also emerging, colorful and mysterious:

Phil has been getting to play with all kinds of fancy machines  during the building.  So we're making progress, but we're still not close to our goal for funding.  We set ourselves a June 15th deadline to decide what we'd be bringing to the desert this year, so if you haven't chipped in and you think you can, please join the team!

Help us Build the Dwelling!

What's it gonna take?
We estimate the Dwelling will cost about $18,000 to bring to life.  This is a labor of love, so the team is donating all of the art that will be found inside the structure.  In addition, we've already purchased most of the materials we need for our trial builds, about $7,000 of steel frame, tubing, and architectural cladding.  Our goal here on GoFundMe is to raise $10,500 to cover the rest of the construction, finishing, and transportation to the playa.  This is what we'll use the money for:

Material shipping: $1,300
Interior hardwood: $1,000
Tools, consumables, hardware: $2,790
Safety (PPE, exterior lighting): $500
Interior Lighting (LEDs, controllers, cabling): $700
15 ft. truck rental: $1,750
Build space rental: $2,500
Total: $10,540

We realize we might not make this goal, so if we are not on track and have raised less than $7,000 by June 15th then we will just create the exterior of the Dwelling for a lower cost. Either way, the Dwelling will come to the desert!

How can I help?
Obviously we would love donations to the campaign, and every little bit counts.  Those who can support the project with a larger donation will receive some gifts in thanks.  Any contribution of $50 or above will receive a little piece of the story that you can come to the Dwelling to claim (or ask us to send you):
$50 = The traveler's talismans, to wear
$100 = Strange plants that wait for life to find them
$200 = Crack open the layers that the Dwelling traveled to get here
$500 = There is a book, but not made of paper.  Take a page (8 available)
$1000 = One-of-a-kind art from the Dwelling.  Shed skins and crystal growths (8 available)
$2000 = Join the story (1 available)

We know not everyone can contribute money, but you can still help by spreading the word and following our progress!  Sign up to receive updates on this platform or at The Dwelling Mailing List .  Follow our page on Facebook: The Dwelling for updates as the Dwelling comes to life.  See more of our work and share more of the story at  Folks in the San Francisco Bay Area can sign up to help with builds, and if you are an artist interested in contributing to the Dwelling, contact us by June 1st to join in the fun!

Who are we?
I'm Sarah Cunningham, and I live in Washington DC, so I can't help directly with building the Dwelling.  Instead, I'm helping with fundraising and telling our story!  The captain of our band is Philip Levis, who'll be putting the funds to use and managing the project in San Francisco.    In our photos you'll see the smiling faces of a whole passel of friends helping out, like Yariv and Jasmine.  Some of us have been making art for Burning Man for over a decade.  You can see some of our previous projects here: Past Installations .  We're pretty nice people, and we'd love to meet you at the Dwelling in just a few months!

  • Amy Klee
    • $25 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $620 
    • 42 mos
  • Stephanie May
    • $500 
    • 42 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
See all

Fundraising team: The Movers (5)

Sarah Cunningham
Raised $425 from 6 donations
San Francisco, CA
Philip Levis
Yariv Keinan
Team member
Raised $1,120 from 2 donations
Jasmine Brackett
Team member
Raised $1,080 from 4 donations

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.