French CORE: Stairway to Heaven

We are very excited that this year will be the first time for us to bring a bit of French flair to the playa as part of the Circle of Regional Effigies (C.O.R.E.). The French CORE project for 2013 is called Stairway to Heaven.

It is a road to the unknown, a vertical adventure with the purpose of enjoying the journey itself. It is an intentional, exploratory experience, where each step brings the participant new vistas and new encounters. Much like the elaborate structures built by cargo cults, it is our attempt to reach upwards to find a new level of knowledge and understanding of each other and ourselves. Each turn of the spiral staircase presents a possibility for new adventures, and with the end of the journey hidden around a corner. The journey, like life, is unpredictable and not a direct path from point A to point B. Each step forward also brings the traveler closer to the center, to the heart of the structure and perhaps even the core within themselves.


Not only does the spiral structure represent one’s journey through life, but it is also reminiscent of the escargot, or snail, a food very much associated with French cuisine. To complement the imagery of escargot, an empty cask of wine is found at the top of the structure. Wine is a vital part of French culture and society, and we will from time to time be present at the top of the structure to offer a taste of French wine to the adult participants who reach the summit.

The sides of the structure will be decorated with drawings, poems and other messages submitted by members of the French Burning Man community, and we will invite all the participants of Black Rock city to continue decorating the structure throughout the event. The structure will be equipped with a small sound system playing French music, both classic and modern, to further bring a taste of France to the playa.


Picture yourself 15 feet above the playa, taking a breath and appreciating the view with a glass of rosé or a tasty bit of French bread, hearing classic French music and celebrating the immediacy of the experience while enjoying a taste of French hospitality!