Desert Meets Default At Burning Man (excerpt) | KALW

Desert Meets Default At Burning Man (excerpt)

Feb 4, 2020

Hear the entire episode on the podcast >>

Burning Man is known for massive, Instagram-friendly art installations that are a stark contrast to the beige, desert backdrop. There are also many smaller projects, labors of love that easily get lost. In this installment, THE INTERSECTION discovers one.

"Hello Burning Man! This is Betsy. On the toilet."

To the naked eye, it looks like an old phone on a dusty table with a small sign that reads “Information.” Curious folks at Burning Man pick up the receiver and it starts to ring. What awaits them on the other end is totally unexpected.

The Phone Experiment™ is the creation of David Cooper, a coder-slash- comedian who lives in San Francisco. He was kind enough to give us access to more than 24-hours of recorded conversations that are at once funny and touching, intimate and outrageous. 

Want to hear how the story ends? Head to or subscribe to THE INTERSECTION wherever you get your podcast fix. 

THE INTERSECTION looks at changing cities through physical intersections. This time we’re doing something different: The city is temporary and the intersections are conceptual. We’re heading to a remote corner of Nevada for Burning Man

THE INTERSECTION is a co-production of David Boyer and KALW. 

Jonathan Davis is the associate producer. This episode was edited by Ben Trefny and Lisa Morehouse with an assist from Gabe Grabin. And engineered by Gabe for your listening pleasure with music from Erik Pearson.

The Phone Experiment is a project of David Cooper, who also runs a weekly call-in radio show from a coffee shop window in San Francisco. Find out more at

Subscribe to THE INTERSECTION podcast here or wherever you get you audio fix. And if you want to know more about the project, head to our website.