Atom Cult Camp 2014 -- Steampunk Style



Atom Cult theme camp was successfully created last year as our interpretation of the Cargo Cult theme (check out the last year photos @ . This year, it will continue to build on this year’s theme: Caravansary. Modern science made it possible to establish outposts of humanity in the most inhospitable terrains and provide us with all possible creature comforts. And these outposts, like our whole existence, are solely dependent on the energy resources. Hence our perpetual quest for the new efficient forms of energy. Our camp will symbolize the humankind's primitive yet cultish attitude towards the ultimate energy of them all - the nuclear one.


Enter the Atom Cult - the most radiant camp at BM. Imagine a nuclear-powered human outpost in the middle of the harsh desert: a child of the Industrial Revolution of the past and the Science of modern times. The camp's centerpiece - the Cooling Tower - is a most visible part of any nuclear power plant. Only this time, it's made out of steel (as opposed to the last year’s bamboo), just as the original water towers of 19th century that proved this shape as a viable architectural form. With its 24' height, multiple climbing routes and crowned by an observation deck (safety net included), the tower will surely become a local landmark. People can climb up to the deck starting with a few routes on the inside of the tower that are protected by a ground-level trampoline, and continue on to the top deck via a rope tunnel on the tower's exterior surface. The ship bell awaits those who can conquer their fears.

More fun awaits inside the tower: visitors can take part in bouldering at negative angles, practice slacklining 3 feet above the trampoline or just relax in the hammocks in tower's sparse shade.

Tours of the tower will be open from noon to midnight daily.

Next to the tower is a "reactor" in the shape of a classic dome. A chill-out place, unlike the innards of a real nuclear reactor, it will also serve as a scene for our DJ/live music entertainment and include sunscreen giveaway stand. Off to the side, evaporation pool doubles as the plant's cooling pond, decorated with UV lights and tinted with fluorescent paint. Add fake barb wire all around the camp, Geiger counter background soundtrack, cheerful hosts in gas masks, and you have a geek paradise in the desert.

This year, we are expanding our culinary offerings. As a true Caravansary, we will offer tired and hungry travelers not only liquid-nitrogen-made FISSION ICE CREAM, but delicious FUSION PANCAKES. The making of ice cream is a fascinating show in itself: out of a cloud of smoke (cold vapors) comes the creamiest dessert in the desert. In waffle cones, no less! The pancakes will be served with different flavors and toppings, in line with what one could find in a caravansary along the Silk Road: Chinese, Indian, Persian, Russian, even Uzbek. With eclectic music, the ice cream/pancakes party will be held from noon till 3PM every day. That’s how it looked last year: Our food department will also participate in catering of 3 playa weddings on the Flying Iron art car that we are currently building along with other camps.

For a midnight snack and to complement night time tower vistas, we will also serve Glow in the Dark Jello (upgraded to shots for the adults).

Another cool service for the public will include fluorescent (daytime) and glow-in-the-dark (nighttime) body painting.


Atom Cult Camp is firmly built on Ten Principles of Burning Man and will wow the newcomers with our Nuclear Power Plant concept and fluorescent art.

We will nourish them with our day and night food gifts: super cool ice cream and glow in the dark jello.

And in the spirit of radical inclusion everyone will be taken on a journey of self discovery, starting from a completely safe ground level trampoline contained within a tower, through a rope tunnel on the outside of the structure, to fascinating views of BRC from the observation deck high' above the ground.

Our Reactor Lounge will provide shade and relaxing music for those overwhelmed by the immediacy of this experience, and even our evaporation pond with its tracer dye UV highlights will educate uninitiated on Burning Man Leave No Trace ethos.

We are confident that the newest members of our community will come away with a deeper understanding of the ideal of personal participation, through the experience of first seeing the tower from a distance, eventually making their way through our “obstacle course”, and in the end being rewarded with waiting refreshments.

And “everyone likes ice cream no matter who they are”.


  • Our floor plan calls for 100ft x 100ft lot facing East.
  • 40 camp mates cover 10 half-day hosting shifts with opportunities to lead ice cream and jello tasting, live music and DJ performances, and fluorescent make-up sessions (and search and rescue missions around the tower as needed).
  • 10 early arrival passes are needed for 3 of our subteams: from SF (tower), LA (dome), and San Diego (costumes/kitchen).
  • We plan 2 day construction schedule starting Saturday morning:
    • shades and hexayurts [nap], unloading, ground level dome and tower setup and staging
    • raising of the tower and dome, electricity and water hookup, lights and barbwire/signage