The Tactile Thing at Burning Man

I've heard, but not confirmed, that it may be "officially" named The Human Carwash.
All I know for sure is that it's usually on the northern (noisy) side of camp, along the innermost road, and that I liked it just as much in 1998, long before I'd get the chance to... take a date through it. (Note: if you keep dragging people to walk through the thing, eventually, someone will be as into it as you are).

In 1999, it was designed in 5 freestanding structures. Having destroyed my lens before finishing my first roll of film, I coerced Eric the Fruitbat into taking pictures of the Thing for me.

Gnat & JJ's pictures of the 1998 Tactile Gauntlet

(Good luck getting an overview picture without people stripping to run through it).

From right (closer to Center Camp) to left (closer to Leri Domes):

The first structure was entirely bb/dogtag/keychain strings. They hang very heavy. Even at peak daytime heat, they initially felt cool on your skin.

The second structure contained feather dusters and little rubber hackey-sack balls.

The third structure was new in 1999. The mylar part had been so popular that they built a freestanding Gazebo of Mylar. Standing here with your eyes closed it could sound very much like wind through the trees, a hypnotically foreign sound on the Playa. Unlike the rest of the Carwash, you could stop here without slowing down people who were behind you.
Ideal for playing R or X-rated Hide & Seek. (You have to assume at least half the people in the Gazebo are naked - no matter how cold it gets at night. In fact, I'd bet the percentage goes up after dark. Of the small percent of attendees I knew, a suspicious number of us took dates to the Tactile thing. So... perhaps not for the timid. Then again, timid people are pretty scarce at Burning Man).

The fourth structure had those shower scrubby poof koosh thingies and paintbrushes.

The fifth structure was new. It featured all kinds of plastic fruit, flowers and plants. Sometimes a nature tape played. It is probably the only place I've those motion sensitive croaking toads used unintrusively.

(1999 Fruitbat Photos)

2000 Update | Food Czar Planning | The Amazing Tactile Thing | 1999 Report | 1998 Theme Camp Ideas
Boston Burners

most recently updated 21 May 2000