About this project
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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