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The museum itself is a small irregular structure rising form the Playa. Roughly square in it’s layout, it’s entrance is at the shorn tip of one of the corners. The walls are made of recycled cardboard boxes, arranged in layered patterns to create a sense of depth. The patterns are repeated all over the exterior walls and around the entrance, varying in size and shape as they curl around the structure.

At certain times during the day a docent will greet people outside the door and assemble a group for a guided tour. At least three people will be needed for the tour in order to activate the systems inside. They docent then invites the group inside.

The inside is in semi-darkness. The slanted roof provides both shelter and shade. Immediately across from the door are three exercise bicycles on their stationary stands. Wires and belts connect the bicycles to the stage positioned in front of the three bicycles.

In front of the bicycles is the stage itself, and the main attraction. On the small stage are several statues, all made of recycled materials and various recognizable items (Coke cans, etc..) Each statue echoes a well know classical sculpture, from Michelangelo’s David to Rodin’s The Thinker. Two statues stand out. They are both larger than the rest, and are mounted on separate stands.

The tour guide will instruct the visitors to mount the three bikes and start pedaling. Two of the bikes are connected to the larger statues. Operating a bike makes a statue rotate slowly by engaging a series of belts attached to the central pivots of the stands.

The central bicycle operates the lights and sound system. As a visitor pedals, a connected belt rotates a drum to which is attached to a series of wire brushes. When the wire brushes move forward, they pass through two metal pins, closing a circuit. As soon as the circuit is closed, electricity surges through and lights brighten and a tape player starts filling the space with music. The docent will then start the tour, giving the visitors an absurd but factual account of art history spoken through a bullhorn.

Pedal slowly and the lights pulse and flicker. Pedal fast and the flicker becomes so fast it disappears. And revealed in front of you, in full audio-visual glory, is the displayed artwork: a fake history of western art, as told through it’s garbage and detritus.

In “automated mode” when no tour guide is present visitors will hear a recorded tour of the Museum along with music when the cycles are activated.


A series of batteries, connected to a small solar panel, provide the electricity for the lights and sound. At night, a ring of string lights around the walls and four floor lights provides enough light to make the structure visible from the outside.

A similar string of light brings soft light to the interior of the space, so that any visitor can safely navigate the display without risk of injury. The majority of the light will come when the central bicycle is activated.

At nightime the Museum will be in “automated mode”.

mission statement

Burning Man is all about the experience. People attend to experience something they have never experienced before. It is our sincere intention to give a fulfilling and unique experience to those persons who find themselves at Burning Man, and for them to take home a memory that lasts a lifetime.

We want people to view our wonderful structure and generate ideas from it. We want to teach people about our ingenuity and about art history. We want people to learn about recycled materials and to witness their elegance when applied properly. We hope that this mostly automated structure will take on a life and personality of it’s own. We want people to laugh and to puzzle and say, “What the hell were these weirdos thinking”?



The LE MUSEUM DE MATERIEL RETROUVÉ has a six-person team behind the conception, proposal, fund raising and construction of the project. The Crew will also be the primary force behind the transportation, set up and tear down of the Museum. The Museum will be transported back to los Angeles and stored for display at future events.

The crew is a collection of experienced burners who have participated in performance, theme camps and artwork at Burning Man in the past. Previous endeavors include The Curiosity Cabinet of the Collective Unconscious, Talk Show Camp Show, American Snatch Beauty Contest, Playa Video & Pink Pleasure Palace.

The principles, Treiops Treyfid and Chris Nelson have skills that are uniquely appropriate to realize this project. Chris has worked as a set designer for many years and has built many structures. Treiops’ recent artwork has incorporated many recycled materials. View his website for samples.

Much thanks to all of the crew and our campmates. This project could not have been completed without you!

leave no trace
The structure and the displays are mostly made of large pieces that attach to one another. There are no small pieces that are removed or displaced during the normal operation of the display. Since the structure completely encloses the display itself, and the sculptures and systems are fastened to the structure, the wind will not be able to create MOOP out of the smaller sculptures, or anything else in the interior.

During the clean up, the wall panels are unscrewed from the underlying wood structure and placed in the truck. Then comes the wood frame itself, which is largely made of full lengths of 2×4. We will asign team members to look for small items such as nails, wire, etc.

Everything else is of a fairly sizable dimension, and fairly self-contained. Sculptures, bicycles, car batteries, lengths of wires, all go into the truck.

The clean-up crew is composed of experienced Burners, each of whom is very familiar with the rigorous work of MOOP patrol, and committed to its practice.

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