Deep Tea

Burning Man 2019
This moving art installation will provide sanctuary and warmth for those who go deep. A beautiful pixel-mapped tea kettle will appear next to the trash fence each night, ready for those who wander the playa and their minds. Frozen seekers of art and connection will find a moment of heat, tea, and camaraderie.

The project looks like a large tea kettle made of light, with clouds of bright steam rising up. Light wisps lead to balls of "steam", all attached to a ten-foot high pole coming out of the spout. Aluminum extrusions filled with LEDs trace the contours of the pot. The LEDs are pixel mapped and the interior holds a mirrored cabinet for supplies. On top of the kettle is a large table surface tea kettle for serving tea. There are stools placed around the kettle. This kettle is the brightest object at trash fence. Our collective invented a system of incorporating Red, Green, Blue, White, Amber, and UV LEDs on long runs. Using this many colors gives a quality and depth unlike art yet seen on playa. The colors emanating from Deep Tea will be pungent and powerful.
Beside the main cart is a smaller lighted cart styled as a tea cup, this holds the generator powering the piece, and back up gear.


Citizens of Black Rock City will find warm tea if they make it to trash fence late at night. The experience will feel like the tea party in Alice in Wonderland. Vagrants will arrive knowing not what to expect, but will find this beautiful kettle already inhabited by strange characters. Depending on the citizens' willingness to play, they might receive different types of tea or gifts. As the cart is on wheels, the way it appears nightly will feel miraculous.


Safety and engineering of the installation is the artists responsibility. What safety procedures or engineering strategies do you expect to have in place when it is installed on-playa?​
Our motto is Safe Tea First, Danger Tea Last. 
During construction we require safety equipment and closed toed shoes, for intense builds at least two people work together. 
For loading the uhaul we require one additional person per 50 pounds of lift.
Onsite we have all the gear (sawhorses, jacks, etc) to assemble the piece safely. All building is done in the shade in shifts with water and snack breaks, and leads alternate safety duty. 
As we move to our location each night, lights are on and we move in a tight group. The cables running from generator to art are loomed with fairy lights and reflective flags.
If there is high wind, imminent threats, questionable characters, etc, we shut off the power until a safe tea situation has returned. Only sober operators from our collective can operate the art. 
We follow FDA requirements for serving: clean water boiled in clean kettles then cooled 175 degrees before serving. We serve to those with their own cup, eliminating the risk of unsanitary cups. We give away gloves, so those with non-insulated cups can partake. Before serving we sanitize the tea pots, implements, water hand pump, and other items.
We will apply for the Nevada and BRC food permits.
We have first aid kits, fuses, and will waterproof the electrical systems.
We only operate at night to reduce risk of heat and sun related injuries.
Overall, we all work in production and know OSHA safety standards. In addition, we will hold safety meetings throughout the build.


Leave No Trace Plan
- We will assemble the art on tarps and sweep after for anything missed. Then we will complete a line sweep of the work area. As any building onsite would be limited to assembling metal components, we will bring a metal sweeper to collect any missed components after.
- We understand wood chips are the primary public enemy, therefore no wood cutting or building will be done onsite. We only use plywood in our construction. All wood parts of the art will be built pre-playa.
- Operators will work over a staked tarp to protect from any water contacting the ground. In case of spills we have towels for small amounts, or spades and a bucket to collect larger amounts that reach the playa dirt.
- No pieces of the art shall be left loose or hanging. Heating elements will be bolted down to the tabletop. Serving elements (teapots and kettles) will be made of steel to eliminate breakage and stored in the cabinet along with the sealed tea.
- All tea making materials stay with the art, nothing will be served to the patrons except brewed liquid tea. Used loose leaf tea will be dumped into trash bags inside the cabinet and we will have a bucket dedicated to grey water.
- We will have multiple moop-sticks with the art, and a moop bucket in our cabinet. We will bring doggie bags in case we find further feces on the playa this year. Each night after we are done serving we will do a line-sweep of the area.

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© 2019 by DARREN SARKIN. LOS ANGELES.