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A landmark space minaret with a Cosmic lightshow inside & out, 5-story views overlooking Center Camp, and a curious secret at the top.
A landmark space minaret with a Cosmic lightshow inside & out, 5-story views overlooking Center Camp, and a curious secret at the top.
254 backers pledged $16,321 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Cosmic Praise: A Burning Man Honorarium Art Project for 2014 project video thumbnail
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$16,321

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Stretch Goooooooaaaaaals!
Stretch Goooooooaaaaaals!

 UPDATE:

We have almost hit our first stretch goal and are mere days away from the clock counting down! One final push towards the finish line....

Each stretch goal gets the tower closer to our team's full vision, but with the clock counting down we can't do it without the support and signal boosting by our amazingly supportive community! Keep the signal going!

Stretch Goals — and Why They Matter

Our Kickstarter’s $10K mark is actually the bare minimum we need to bring a lean version of this project to Burning Man: it covers trucking, fuel, and other logistics not funded by the grant program. But we will need to spend beyond that—about $15K total—to STRETCH the structure for our delightfully surprising high-traffic placement, which nobody could have foreseen during the grant process! Setting a 15K target is daunting in Kickstarter terms, so we'll take a leap of faith and call the rest Stretch Goals. Your Stretch funding through 14K will help us achieve vital structural improvements for the 6 o’clock plaza: Larger cupola to allow more visitors A double, spiral-helix ladder (instead of just one single-file) Fatter tower to support the enlarged cupola, and fit the two ladders A few more lights needed—to light the interior, and achieve the planned exterior effects Added safety features for ladder climbers But a little more will go a very long way! Our other stretch goals aren’t a stretch to imagine: Add a rotating, mirrored beacon to the spire, making the tower a functional lighthouse by night. Make the light show triggered by the real-time activity in the Spark Chamber itself -- and other wow! lighting enhancements. Galvanize all steel used in the structure, making it durable, and more beautiful. Surround the tower base with handmade benches to offer a contemplative gathering area. Any of these improvements will also help us bring Cosmic Praise and its components back to playa in future years—and maybe a town near you… …to infinity and beyond!

Thank you all so much for your continued support and interest!

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A monument for the ever-curious traveler of the Universe, Cosmic Praise is a 5-story minaret illuminating the invisible forces around us, providing a glimpse into the unseen sub-atomic world. It will be visible from all points in the City, a pulsating beacon towards discovery, or simply a way to mark your journey Home.

We’re thrilled to have received a Burning Man Honorarium Art Grant and placement at the 6-o’clock keyhole overlooking Center Camp—but we need YOUR help to make our dream of revealing the quantum world to the denizens of Black Rock City a reality.

View of Center Camp from Tower
View of Center Camp from Tower

It’s not just a tower… 


In Cosmic Praise’s observation deck lies a curious secret—a mid-20th-century particle physics detector called a Spark Chamber. Spark chambers allow you to actually see the tracks left behind by Cosmic Rays. Within a glass compartment of noble gases is a stack of 27 aluminum plates, each 1 cm apart. When passing muons ionize the gas between the plates, the high voltage “senses” the lower conductivity path and discharges across the gaps, giving rise to a series of sparks that reveal its track as it hurtles through the glass. Cosmic Rays—highly energetic particles spit out by Supernovae and other cataclysmic events throughout the Universe—invisible, ever-present shrapnel from the explosions of far-away stars. They can travel through space for billions of years, and finally, some of them at least, end up passing through the Earth, its atmosphere and everything else, including all of its inhabitants, including you!

Our Spark Chamber Design
Our Spark Chamber Design

“Most of these things look like toaster ovens.” — an anonymous physicist

Unlike “typical” spark chambers, Cosmic Praise’s other-worldly contraption is as much a work of art as it is a lesson in particle physics. (If you know of any other unique or attractive spark chambers, let us know!) Ours has several notable differences:

  • Round, symmetrical glass chamber
  • Component design derived from Persian architectural elements
  • Artist-designed braces and housing, in metal and wood, will complement the open air cupola where the piece is experienced
  • Visible from all sides
  • Experienced at the top of a 50-foot tower, not a lab or science museum where clothing is not optional
Tower Structure without the Lower Skirt
Tower Structure without the Lower Skirt

For extra coolness, we are placing this detector high up in a minaret so that you can climb above all of the dust and chaos below allowing you the opportunity to look inward at processes that involve the Universe, while at the same time being able to look outward on the works of Man. We are taking the architecture of religion—usually used to call the faithful to prayer and by adding some science—turning it into a call to the curious for the faithful who want to better understand the underpinnings of the Universe that they find themselves born in.

Looking up from the Playa
Looking up from the Playa

 The Divine Geometry of The Minaret


The unconventional tower base structure is a mathematically elegant and awesome-looking shape known as a hyperboloid of revolution, where straight lines make curved surfaces. In this twisted column, steel struts interlace in a hyperbolic curve, which will be exposed to display its beauty of form. The bottom of the structure will be skinned in canvas covered in designs inspired by Moorish tilings, and Feynman diagrams of the quantum mechanical interactions taking place within the Spark Chamber. It also is a nice spot to duck out of the sun or desert winds.

Plasma Cutting Structural Components
Plasma Cutting Structural Components

Cosmic Lighting and Effects 


The lighting on the tower will consist of several connected systems, which we intend to make triggered and controlled by the Cosmic Rays themselves—non-repeating patterns of effects set into motion by events that happened up to a billion light-years away. The lower skirt of light-reactive paint will be illuminated by color-changing LED spotlights. The tower itself will have 200-meters of RGB LED strips outlining the structure and responding to the detection and energy of the incoming Cosmic Rays. The spire will also have rings of lights ascending it, and possibly (should the stretch goal be met) a powerful 250W LED searchlight capable of casting a 500-foot beam of light.

Color Scheme for the Base Skirt
Color Scheme for the Base Skirt

We Need Your Help 


As recipients of a 2014 Burning Man Honorarium project, this artwork is made possible due to a grant from Burning Man. Thanks to the BMorg’s generosity, our large team of East Coast artists, fabricators, friends and Burners, have already begun construction. But the grant will only cover a portion of our costs and we need your help to bring Cosmic Praise to the Playa—primarily for transport logistics, and new structural enhancements made after learning of our 6-o’clock placement. Please, please help us fund this project and get it out to the Playa as our fully-realized vision of the union of art and science.

Doug makes Parts for the Observation Deck
Doug makes Parts for the Observation Deck

Yes! Helping Can Get You More Than Just Good Karma

Here’s a sneak preview of some of our reward gifts, with more items to be added soon. Thank you for your support, or simply for helping to spread the word. We cannot do this without you—every donation at any level really helps!

Our Galaxy of Rewards!
Our Galaxy of Rewards!

Stay Tuned!

As production continues we will add new updates and rewards right here on Kickstarter and on our blog. Join our Cosmic journey or talk back at us via Facebook and Twitter, or ask us questions in the Kickstarter FAQ section.

Risks and challenges

We are a dedicated team of hard-working, passionate, over-achievers and we are focused on making this project happen. That being said, there certainly are challenges, otherwise, why bother?

A major portion of the Cosmic Praise Kickstarter funding will go directly towards transportation costs from Boston, MA to Black Rock City, Nevada and back again. Turns out, renting a box truck for a month for a 5,000+ mile round trip is not cheap!

Being honored as the project chosen for the 6-o'clock plaza has its own challenges. Originally intended as a deep-Playa refuge for contemplation, the new location necessitated some structural changes to handle more people and subsequently more time, materials, effort and money are needed.

Thank you for your time and consideration... most of all thank you for helping bring art to the Playa. We couldn't do it without you.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Carry your Playa pride with you with our sticker and pin combo! Your name will also be enshrined on our project website.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Won't be making it out to Burning Man this year? We'll send you a custom, project postcard covered with dust... Wishing you were here! Your name will also be posted on our website roll of honor.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Leather or Pleather laser etched Cosmic Praise keychain/fob/pendant! Do with it what you will, whether it goes on the keys to your cupcake themed art car, on your hip or around your neck with the rest of your playa jewelry. Made with real life lasers and designed by Andrea Huber.
    Sticker and pin and website recognition included!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Raise your glass to the infinite and astounding workings of the universe with the Cosmic Praise pint glass! Whatever your poison may be it will taste all the sweeter from this finely crafted chalice, designed by eHawk Rivera (http://eveninghawk.com/). We will also engrave your name on our website.

    Sticker and pin included!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    "I Helped Bring Art to the Playa!"

    You made this possible, so say it loud and proud! This reward tier gives to you not only our awesome, exclusive to Kickstarter t-shirt featuring the pint glass graphic, but also comes with the sticker and pin combo for accessorizing AND your nom-de-playa screen-printed on our project web page...

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    If you like what you see, you can take it home and hang it on your wall! Two professionally shot 5x7 color photos of Cosmic Praise out on the Playa. Includes our fine sticker and your name imprinted on out project website.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    If you like what you see, you can take it home and hang it on your wall! One professionally shot 8x10 color photo of Cosmic Praise out on the Playa. Includes our fine sticker and your name imprinted on out project website.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Can't make up your mind between all of the completely sweet rewards thus far? Then don't choose one!
    All previous rewards bundled into one tidy package of Sticker & Pin, (P)leather fob, the Kickstarter exclusive "I Helped Bring Art to the Playa" t-shirt and Pint Glass. PLUS a postcard from the Playa! But wait, there's more! Your name will also be emblazoned upon the firmament of our project web site.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Cosmic Praise Brass Medallion
    These gorgeous custom made brass medallions are one of a kind, and due to the involved nature of their creation are only available in a limited quantity!
    Machined and crafted by Christina Hawkes out of brass, resin and a secret combination of cosmic sparkles, this piece is a truly one of a kind, jaw-dropping token of our appreciation, our thanks for your support and interest!
    Sticker and pin and website fame included.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Set of (4) Cosmic Pint Glasses! Delivered to your hands FOUR of the pint
    glasses which are also offered solo at the 35 dollar reward level.
    Inter-galactic Math skills not required to see the appeal... enjoy (4)
    pint sized thank-yous for the price of (2.857143).
    You'll also get the sticker/pin and fob thrown in as well!

    Due to shipping costs, we can only offer this reward for locals who
    can take delivery within 20 miles of Boston, MA.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Our only on-playa reward, for just a few Early Arrival citizens of Black Rock City BEFORE the City opens.

    Join the artists atop the tower for an intimate 2-hour cheese and appropriately-paired beverage reception, which finally culminates in watching from above, as BRC gates open and the very first waves of arrivals stream into the City.

    Recovering physicist Doug Ruuska will share his favorite fine cheeses and elegant accompaniments; along with cheesy explanations of physics, or life in the Antarctic, or really any topic. Watch the City be populated from a 6 o'clock bird's eye view, and also receive the sticker, pin and (p)leather fob!

    NOTE: Participants are responsible for ensuring your own Early Arrival status so that you may join us.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $275 or more About $275

    Your very own 3D-printed scale model of the Cosmic Praise minaret; ready for display in your home, studio, or Cosmic caravan! Made from highly durable polymer. Due to printing constraints, certain fine elements of the tower will not be visible in the miniature.
    Sticker, pin, t-shirt and website stardom included!

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    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    Light up your living space, favorite reading nook or gallery with actual pieces from Cosmic Praise's viewing gallery which will be used to create a wall mounted lighting fixture.
    Bring the art and love of the Playa into your home with this very limited reward!
    Comes with sticker, pin, t-shirt, fob & web famosity!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    This reward is so special, we can only offer three: This artist-designed and crafted table by Doug Ruuska is modeled after the tower's hyperboloid base, to further inspire joy and curiosity wherever your path may take it.
    Due to the nature of this reward, it is available inside the US only.
    Comes with sticker, pin, fob, t-shirt and pint glass! PLUS a postcard from the Playa AND your name up near the top of the list acknowledging our amazing donors.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Museum quality illuminated glass and metal sculpture by renowned plasma artist Wayne Strattman, with a custom-made Cosmic Praise centerpiece inside: a 3-inch tall, laser-cut, metal silhouette of the Cosmic Praise tower. This flame-worked glass cylinder is filled with plasma gas and features a mini Cosmic Praise tower within. When plugged in, the sculpture emits a plasma discharge from points on the tower to the enclosing glass cylinder. Comes complete with everything you need to plug it in and discharge away! See the artist's similar works at www.strattman.com/products/#plasmatubes . You will also receive the sticker, pin, postcard, fob, shirt, and pint glass and photons bearing your name will impinge upon the eyes of all who view our website forever more.

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    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Museum quality illuminated glass and metal sculpture by renowned plasma artist Wayne Strattman, with a display pedestal by Cosmic Praise artist Douglas Ruuska. This flame-worked glass cylinder is filled with plasma gas and features a tower within. When plugged in, the sculpture emits a plasma discharge from points on the tower to the enclosing glass cylinder. The piece is shown here at https://www.flickr.com/photos/112116993@N07/14612814742/ Comes complete with everything you need to plug it in and discharge away! See the artist's similar works at www.strattman.com. You will also receive the sticker, pin, postcard, fob, shirt, and pint glass and your name etched in the plasma of every viewers screen for a small eternity.

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    Pledge $4,500 or more About $4,500

    You Sir/Madam/Other are truly a First-Class, USDA Prime Patron of the ARTS! We will send you the actual, foot-tall spark chamber designed and fabricated by the artist that we used to prototype and test all of our electronics and gases for the Cosmic Praise spark chamber. An amazing table-top conversation piece, or, with the plans provided, you can make it into an honest-to physics, working spark chamber of your very own. Also comes with sticker, pin, fob, t-shirt and pint glass! PLUS a postcard from the Playa. AND your name of choice will be placed at the most honorable top of our list of amazing benefactors.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    You will receive artist Douglas Ruuska's ACTUAL BEARD. This long braided beard is legendary and has survived travels to Cuba, Antarctica, Nepal, and points beyond. Cultivated since a decade before the word hipster; the entire beard will be shorn from the chin, just for you. We will freshly groom and braid the beard so it's at its finest when you receive it. Videographic documentation will be provided with a statement from the Artist/beard incubator himself.
    Note that the Beard will be shipped after Burning Man; allowing Doug to host his annual Mr. Beard Rock City facial hair competition on playa without shame.
    You will also receive the sticker, pin, postcard, fob, T-shirt, pint glass... and likely worldwide news fame.

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Funding period

- (31 days)