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An immersive, narrative, interactive, space apothecary haunted house installation, coming to Burning Man 2016.
An immersive, narrative, interactive, space apothecary haunted house installation, coming to Burning Man 2016.
179 backers pledged $14,738 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$14,738

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The Last Apothecary is a detailed, immersive, exploration driven, haunted house, headed to Burning Man 2016. It is a narrative about an outer colony space apothecary obsessed with Old-Earth, and also about the persistence of ritual, the space immigrant diaspora, and the obsessive nature of archiving and collecting.

(In even further summary - it is a very nerdy science fiction story room/haunted house, set out in deep playa, for visitors to root through and explore.)

We received a honorarium grant from Burning Man for this project, which covers a lot of our material and transport costs, but we still need to raise money in several other areas, such as our lighting, our interactive design elements, our sound and video, and props.

Here is what we are raising money for:

Lighting and Electrical: We are fixing some of our current lights and purchasing and installing efficient LED lighting for the installation, as well as installing and custom building practical interior fixtures.

Audio/Video: We are making some ridiculous and hilarious videos to help build out the world of the Last Apothecary, and displaying them on monitors throughout the installation. 

Transport: Moving this takes up a lot of gas money(as well as a month-long truck rental). 

Prop Fabrication: Resin and silicone isn't cheap. 

Lumber, Paint, and Hardware: We're gonna need more wood. 

Interactive Effects: Let's see how many Arduinos we can cram into this thing.

Crew Food and Beer Budget: The installation is being built by an all-volunteer crew. Please, let me feed and beer them.

The Last Apothecary is meant to be stumbled upon in deep playa, a strange and imposing structure that evokes nervous curiosity. Outside, it is an industrial space cargo pod, built from the sort of recycled container that would be presumably common as structural building material in the outer colonies of space. On the front door, which appears to be a stuck airlock door, a notice is posted condemning the place and its proprietor for unlicensed practice of medicine and structural faults.

Inside the Last Apothecary, the world shifts to warmth. The interior is clearly built to someone’s idea of an classical Old Earth apothecary, all clutter and warm wood and dim lighting reminiscent of 14th century Italian pharmacies and Chinese medicine shops. There is no attempt at masking the anachronism, though - there is a screen playing infomercials and strange video transmissions from a black hole, and there are posters and flyers around that promise to alleviate all sorts of space ailments.

Behind the apothecary counter, there is a large bank of small drawers. Each drawer contains a fascinating object - an amulet promised to heal small wounds from Egypt, vials of a green powder from Europa that cure nausea. The counter too, is strewn with artifacts that weave between truth and hoax, a box of palmistry hands that aren’t human, a phrenology bust that is more alien than man.

Props from the Last Apothecary
Props from the Last Apothecary

There are strange occurrences scattered throughout the apothecary, as is befitting a haunted house. Sometimes, simply standing somewhere triggers a siren, or flickering lights. Occasionally, the lights go out for just a second, and hastily scrawled protection runes glow in the cabinets. Things happen. You’re never sure why. There are whispers in the air. You’re never certain of what you just heard.

An artifact from the Last Apothecary, a Hand of Glory, of unknown origin.
An artifact from the Last Apothecary, a Hand of Glory, of unknown origin.

The Last Apothecary is designed and built by the Black Rock Civilian Defense Corps, a crew building universal narratives that envelope the audience-participant in immersive alternate realities, largely with a science fiction bent. Located primarily in Los Angeles, we consist of a motley bunch of theatre designers and educators, carpenters, mechanics, welders, game designers, programmers, filmmakers, and various other maker types. 

We built the Dusty Junk(Burning Man 2011, 2013 and 2014) and Omega 2 mutant vehicles (2015), and The Last Outpost(2014) installation. We've also won three trophies at the 75th and 76th Annual Niland Tomato Festivals.

Because this project is a very prop fabrication heavy project, we're releasing rewards that allow you to obtain your very own piece of the Last Apothecary! All of our props were designed and hand built by a crew member, and are replicas of the props that exist in the installation. You can learn more about our props, and the world they exist in, on our website

Cult Amulets, one of our small props available at all levels above $100
Cult Amulets, one of our small props available at all levels above $100
A hoax palmistry artifact, available at the Palmistry and Cabinet of Curiosities levels.
A hoax palmistry artifact, available at the Palmistry and Cabinet of Curiosities levels.
Some space ephemera, available at all prop levels.
Some space ephemera, available at all prop levels.
One of the props you may receive at the Cabinet of Curiosities level.
One of the props you may receive at the Cabinet of Curiosities level.
Another prop you may receive at the Cabinet of Curiosities level.
Another prop you may receive at the Cabinet of Curiosities level.

Of course, if you'd like a sticker, patch, or t-shirt, we totally have those too. Our shirts are printed on an option of American Apparel Fine Jersey Tees(#2001) or Hanes Beefy Tees(your choice). Our track jackets are on American Apparel California Fleece Track Jackets(#5455), for unisex sizes S-2XL.

Sticker and Patch design - colours to be determined
Sticker and Patch design - colours to be determined

Here is a chart that helps explain what you'll receive at each reward level. 

Thank you for supporting our work. We cannot wait to bring our brand of immersive shenanigans to the playa in August, and we're looking forward to seeing you there!

Risks and challenges

We've put several installations and mutant vehicles on playa, and are more than familiar with the harsh build conditions, tendency to go over budget, and stress that comes with such work. We're all still friends, and all our projects have made it to the desert. The project will happen.

It is possible that some rewards may be delayed, but we've gotten a really early start on designing and fabricating them, and have a pretty good feeling that everything will be delivered on schedule.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    SPACE STUFF - Access to the digital assets created for the Apothecary, including our Space Hobo Glyph, Comet Sans and Ptolemetica typefaces, high resolution clipart and images, audio files, .pdfs and CAD files for things we printed and made, and more. Most original work we share is already Creative Commons licensed, and we're happy to see you use it!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    SPACE MAIL - We'll mail you a physical postcard created for the Last Apothecary.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    STICKY THINGS - A few of our stickers. Honestly, they're really great stickers.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SPACE HOBO - A few stickers, a patch, a couple postcards, and a copy of our Space Hobo zine.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    SPACE EPHEMERA - You'll get a curated collection of printed props made for the Last Apothecary, including the retro space business postcards, the Space Hobo zine, art prints and posters, the Apothecary Logbook, information brochures, business cards, and more. We'll also include a patch and a few stickers. You'll also get everything in SPACE STUFF, so you can join in the fun and make and edit your own space props.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    SHIRT ON YOUR BACK - A Last Apothecary shirt. (You can also add a shirt to any pledge level by adding an additional $40).

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    14 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    TRACK JACKET - We're tired of ugly hoodies, so we're printing on track jackets, which are both more stylish and spacey looking. (You can also add a track jacket to any pledge level by adding an additional $70).

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SPACE DETRITUS - Keep a physical part of our story! Everything in SPACE EPHEMERA, but you'll also get a physical prop, like a specimen jar, one of our amulets, or something entirely strange and experimental. You'll also get everything in SPACE STUFF.

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    Reward no longer available 20 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    SPACE SALVAGE - For true Last Apothecary aficionados. A collection of props from the Last Apothecary, including everything in the SPACE DETRITUS level! You'll also receive an Apothecary shirt, stickers, a patch, and everything in SPACE STUFF.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    SPACE PALMISTRY - One of our Alien Palmistry Hoax plaques. We'll also add your name to the provenance documents of the palmistry hand display in the art installation, and give you all the printed props available in the SPACE EPHEMERA level.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    BOX OF (space) CURIOSITIES - A box filled with a selection of props from the Last Apothecary. You'll receive a minimum of 2 medium props(something like a palmistry hand, a questionable dental cast, or a parasite infested horn...), and a handful of small props(an amulet, specimen jars, etc...). We'll also give you all the printed props, stickers, and patches available in the SPACE EPHEMERA level.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    CABINET OF CURIOSITIES(IN SPACE) - For the true immersive Last Apothecary experience, but still delivered by regular Earth Mail. Everything in the PALMISTRY and SALVAGE levels(a ton of props, a shirt, a patch and stickers), as well as a large scale display-ready Hero Prop, and we'll package it all in an immensely entertaining crate or box that might be difficult to open. In addition, we'll work your name into our narrative, and send you pictures of documents and miscellaneous props that relate to your character.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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Funding period

- (45 days)