Theme and Interactivity

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The Kult of Kong & Playa Experience

Kostume Kult has been transforming and entertaining people on the esplanade at Burning Man since 2002, and this year we will continue that tradition. However, we have been working non-stop since right after the 2012 burn to ensure that our level of art and interactivity continues to improve as we set the bar higher for ourselves each and every year.

Our goal as a camp is to encourage, support, and provide opportunities for people to enhance their experiences at burning man and year-round through the magic of costuming. Costuming can empower people to be someone else, and to express themselves in a new way, and we want to gift this to people who may not otherwise try it. We gift costumes, but the key is to gift the experience of dressing in the costume and the experience of wearing the costume as the participants venture off to experience playa.

Kostume Kult is about individual participation in the collective image and about the creation of a landscape of art and creativity as a pack, each of us adding our own flair and style to the canvas of people that forms the Burning Man experience. In addition, we bring our own brand of theater and our touch of the ridiculous, as we present a theme and an art backdrop for this transformation which will entertain and delight.

This year, we present the “Kult of Kong” as we pay homage to the conflict between the primitive and the technologically advanced. Our esplanade frontage this year portrays one of the most recognized symbols of the confusion that the primordial being exhibits when encountering the unnatural majesty of the modern day city – King Kong rampaging through the New York Skyline. During the day, we will be giving away more than a ton of costumes, as we help people find something to transform themselves and their experience on playa. Participants will enter our costume transformation area through a large tower at the end of our multi-level cityscape, in the shadow of a massive King Kong art sculpture. After being dressed up and accessorized by our crew of stylists, participants exit out onto the runway which emerges from the center of the cityscape and they strut their new look as our MCs announce them to the crowd and our DJs keep everyone dancing. Crowds will be able to watch the show from the top of the cityscape, as well as from the shaded areas on the ground level.

We have added a dome this year just for crafting, and we will have the crew from Entwined making booty shorts, as well as tutu making sessions and other activities. We are also planning to open up the crafting dome to various groups outside of our camp for them to lead activities and crafting, so that we can afford various groups the opportunity to share their crafting and costuming ideas with the esplanade.

At night, our cityscape will glow with the light of a large programmable LED disc as well as numerous DMX controlled lights and high-tech touches. We will be having DJs and music for night time dance parties and the second floor of our cityscape will be a wonderful place to take in the splendor of the esplanade at night and to watch the sun come up. Our runway has always been a very inviting place for people to dance, and the addition of the dance cage underneath Kong’s large hand will make out frontage irresistible to ass shaking.

Our village will be home to four art cars, one of which has a karaoke machine onboard for mobile singing adventures. We are also home to a number of artists who are producing large art pieces on playa, including the Animus crew which will be producing the “flaming pachinko machine” installation. Kostume Kult also provides support for the New York CORE, including food for the crew producing the CORE installation.

Link to our online event listing:

Acculturation & Philosophy

Kostume Kult is more than just a theme camp, we are a year-round participatory arts group. Building community and exposing new people to the BM culture is something we have been doing since our inception. As part of our theme camp planning, we have camp meetings every 2-4 weeks from may until right before the event. We have a camp facebook group, google group, and wiki. Each year, our camp is made up of at least 30% virgins, and we are constantly bringing new people out to playa and exposing them to the Burner way of life. Through the constant meetings and communication with our camp members, we help ensure that everyone is prepared and knows what to expect. Inside the camp, we divide into pods so that there are smaller groups as well, so that people do not get lost in the large group. When we return from playa, we have decompression events for our camp as well as for the community at large, so that we can all continue to nourish and grow the community and relationships that we have developed through the shared experience of the burn.