Sol Diego

Burning Man Art Collective

Meeting Minutes 11 January 2014 Souk Project Kickoff

11 January 2014 11:00 "Big CORE Meeting" at Golden Home, Carmel Valley neighborhood, San Diego, CA, USA Andrew Koorey , Jessica Lissner, Paul Williamson, Abraxas, Taylor Oldham, Sandy McReynolds, Kerrin Friese, Jeff Makey arrived by 11:00am

11:15am update commenced

Jessica (CORE project lead 2014) summarized the new rules. Projects will consists of designs that fit into a 6' by 6' burnable space, with either 10' by 10' or 12' by 12' space allocated for each project in a line of booths in a souk-marketplace-shaped ring around the Man. The idea is to create the sense of an open-air market with booths under a tent. Each region can apply to have a space. The rest of the rules will be announced in a week.

On Friday night at Burning Man the regional projects in this booth-ring will move to the base of the Man to be burned on Saturday night. Projects are strongly encouraged to be portable without significant re-assembly.

This rules change rendered the Lighthouse, which relied on a substantial amount of open-air space, a much more difficult concept to execute. Fortunately, Jessica had spent some time since the rules change announcement working on a modification of the lighthouse design for consideration as a souk project. Jessica brought an alternate proposal for a spanish-style arched structure that incorporated a pipe organ, narrative panels with archways, and the use of cutwork fabric as walls. This proposal kept the fundamental elements of the lighthouse, and effectively presented them in a reduced footprint.

JP (Shake House proposal lead) wrote:

"Wow big changes to the whole design concept. Seems to me that we are back to the drawing board completely at this point. I think that the Quake and Shake idea wont work in this setting at all. but the pipe organ will work in a setting like this. maybe like an organ selling booth or something, sound charms for sale kind of thing. have to work today so will miss the meeting. have a great brain storming session."

Brandie Maddalena(CORE Art Lead 2011, CORE co-lead 2012, CORE Art Co-Lead 2013), Nicole Hickman (San Diego Burning Man Regional Coordinator) and Alpy (CORE 2013 member and CORE 2014 former Co-Lead) arrived by 11:45 pm.

Taylor (CORE member) proposed a platform (aka the Taylor Tote) that a "lighthouse house" could sit upon. The platform would have wheels that could be removable. Holes for axles would be made through the body of the project. The entire project could then be wheeled off to the Man for burning. Taylor referenced the symbolism of the 16-spoke wagon wheels in Roma tradition, and suggested that incorporating concepts from the gypsy/Roma traditions would be in keeping with the 2014 Burning Man theme of Caravansary. Taylor emphasized the concept of "not imposing our will upon the environment". Making the structure as simple as possible was suggested as a design constraint and artistic goal.

On the surface, the idea of a very visually complex and layered bazaar panoply (as described by CORE members Sandy and Matthew) would seem, at first, to conflict with this idea, but Jasmine brought up the functional simplicity of stocking a booth by explaining the way that goods are often displayed. Using a dowel rod and knotted hemp rope, goods are hung by using a system that can easily be taken down and put in a bag for easy packing and transport.

Sandy and Matthew both strongly recommended the idea of being surrounded by lamps and sound, being at the center of a focal point, being a powerful and desirable design goal for the space.

Brandie extended the lighthouse booth concept to include a lattice of lanterns that could be quickly and easily hung (and removed) from the roof of a booth structure.

Brandie Proposed a lantern booth, with pipe organ column. The lanterns constructed from community submitted designs, executed in laser-cut or CNC routed construction and lit with the LEDs inherited from Starfish. The LEDs would be processor-controlled, and would light the lanterns from above. The lantern designs would be produced from community submissions. Designs would be based on what San Diego represented to the artist submitting. The Organ Donor part of the project would be consistent with the Lighthouse and the modified Lighthouse design from Jessica.

For the Organ Donor, MIDI file requests and song suggestions would be taken from the community for automated playback through the organ. Brandie mentioned that there was an additional community member named Colin that had expressed interested in helping with acoustic pipe design and construction.

Brandie articulated the idea that both the process and the object could create community and be community-driven.

There was discussion about dealing with the wind, and how best to manage the lanterns. The consensus was that while there might be some damage, it could be minimized by using the dowel-rope approach and keeping the lanterns very close to whatever roof we are allowed to have. Whether we are allowed to hang the lanterns from the provided tent, or will be able to build our own roof, keeping the throw from the lantern to the point of connection as short as possible will minimize damage from the wind. Brandie proposed making sure that we request being in the lee of the wind with respect to placement in order to minimize the potential damage to lanterns. When details about the tent structure are revealed, a lot of the design concerns with the wind will become concrete. Until then, wind management remains a design priority, but specific designs will have to wait.

There was discussion about how best to prepare the piece for movement on Friday. While the BMORG is expected to assist with moving the piece, and this would most likely be accomplished by forklift, there was a consensus that being able to move the project on our own through Taylor Tote architecture or some other sort of way would be well worth the design effort. Designing in the proper receiver for a forklift is not hard. Designing in the proper receiver for an axle/wheel assembly is not necessarily hard either. Matthew recommended that both should be incorporated, and that we should endeavor to be self-sufficient.

There was discussion on how best to prepare the piece to burn. Any walls, whether fabric or wood, would have to be pulled into the center, attached, and transported. The recommendation from the group was that there should be a sensitivity about this in the design. Jessica expressed concern about having too many lanterns and other community-sourced artifacts for collection and burning. Abraxas stated that the pieces would amount to a relatively small amount of volume, and could be moved with a small number of motivated people. Brandie stated that burn prep had traditionally attracted a large number of people, and that we would most likely experience a similar outcome with this project.

It was stated that the burning of the pipes was a desirable focal point. Paul cautioned that the burns may be too far away to really see, and that the projects may be simply piled at the base of the Man to serve as kindling. Abraxas (Organ Donor Lead) explained that prototypes would be burned to test basic burn behavior. The videos will be posted.

Jasmine (CORE Member) proposed an alternative construction method of using colorful fabric walls and roof. This Pavilion architecture would be entirely in keeping with the souk theme. Items would be hung from the walls and roof, and putting in doors would be simple. Brocade and tapestries would be the primary media.

Jessica responded by highlighting the arches + fabric constructions of her modified lighthouse proposal. Jessica's project had cut-outs in the fabric. A potential problem with cut-outs is that the wind will continue any tears. Abraxas offered the solution of opaque fabric with cutouts on a sheer fabric backing, adhered and sewn together to create the illusion of cut-outs without the holes.

There was discussion about the volume of the pipe organ, and whether it will be able to compete with the ambient noise level. This is yet to be determined, but efforts were made to both allay concerns and set expectations. Chamber organs, which Organ Donor will most likely most closely resemble, are not as loud as cathedral organs, but the organ will be audible under most circumstances. Rules about amplified noise and sound have not yet been announced. In the case that no noise at all can be produced, the Organ Donor will have to find another home. In the case that no amplified noise can be produced, the Organ Donor will fit right in.

Jessica expressed a concern about curation. One of the most powerful conceptual attractions about the Shake House was the incorporation of community-sourced artifacts for the cabin. However, with community-sourced lantern artifacts, curation and the necessity for exclusion become a leadership challenge. This aspect was acknowledged. With the limit on space, there is an upper limit on what can be accepted. Curation is a responsibility of the project as a whole and the project lead in particular.

A related issue was discussed in terms of the organ pipes. If the pipes are outsourced to the community, then pipes that look or sound differently than their rank-mates are likely to be submitted. Abraxas responded that functionality would be the selection criteria. A pipe that looks "bad" but sounds "good" would be accepted. A pipe that looks "good" but "doesn't make an acceptable sound" would be rejected for use in the instrument, but could be retained for possible use as an artifact or souvenir or fundraising item. A substantial amount of heckling of Andrew commenced.

There was discussion about the preference for the stall extending out into the street, as markets in Syria and other Middle-Eastern countries do. Both Sandy and Matthew emphasized and highlighted this aspect. If possible, according to the siting rules, the project will incorporate balconies, extensions, or other things that extend outward to attract visitors.

Jessica raised a concern about the project being able to have a ceiling of its own. If the tent is too low, then creating a false roof that we can hang objects from more sturdily will be difficult. This is a real concern that will only be addressed with additional rules clarifications. We expect clarification within a week. We'll be tracking this particular design constraint closely.

There was discussion on gifting. Gifts could be given. This requires organization and decisioneering. Sound and light related gifts would be preferred. It was suggested that seashells could be gifted, but this doesn't Leave No Trace at the seashore. There are other craft alternatives. While our project provides extensive experience gifting, the additional aspect of physical item gifting is acknowledged and under study.

Jessica raised an objection to Brandie's inclusion of seating. There will not be enough room if the central column ends up being anywhere close to the size allowed. This concern was acknowledged.

Abraxas raised a concern about the inclusion of organ pedals. She explained that pedals, while a very important aspect of try-partite organ music, would be a tripping hazard and difficult to incorporate in any structure where people are walking in and out. While there is a common alternative of coupling the pedal tones to the lowest note played on the keyboard, the option of somehow including pedals will be actively under study and included if possible.

Michael (CORE Junior Member) suggested that the multiple keyboards could be used in order to activate the different ranks, similar to how organs have separate manuals. This suggestion was accepted. Michael also expressed concern about how to successfully move the project from the souk to the Man, recommending a flat bottom to act as a sled if ground clearance was lost due to potholes and soft dust roads.

CORE Member, Bear Hugs suggested including a trailer hitch to make moving the project easy, in case the BMORG needed us to be self-sufficient. He also expressed concern about the LED brightness. Since we are re-using the LEDs from the Starfish, and he found the brightness to be less than desirable, he asked if it would be sufficient for our use within the souk. His concerns were acknowledged. The Starfish used the LEDs beneath wooden scales, and the brightness was necessarily reduced. The souk project will put the LEDs within laser-cut filigree lanterns, and the LEDs should appear to be substantially brighter. The LEDs in question are the same make and model as used on Caroushell, and the effect was very bright as the LEDs were on the surface, and not shaded by scales. The Starfish did this shading deliberately, to create an effect of colored scales. It was effective, but did reduce the brightness of the individual LEDs.

Jasmine suggested that the console and control for the Organ Donor be modeled after the 11th Doctor in the Doctor Who saga. His console was steampunk in style, and different interesting artifacts caused different things to happen. This was readily accepted as a design goal.

Jessica emphasized the opportunity for growing and experimentation beyond the bounds of this particular project. She expressed a desire for this project to be part of a larger community effort. This was readily agreed to by the group. Brandie and Abraxas strongly agreed, and expressed their hope that Sol Diego would fill this particular role going forward.

Abraxas discussed the possibility of an alternative to the pedal assembly that operates the lowest tones of a pipe organ. Instead of having a separate pedal assembly, there would be a "drop the bass" button that would couple the lowest played note on the keyboard or MIDI playback with a pedal tone note from the lowest rank. Whatever the lowest note was, an additional lower note (if available) would be played an octave down. The "drop the bass" would time out, and have to be "renewed" when the operator found it appropriate.

Other "toy box" functions are expected to be incorporated. Gamelan, cymbals, sound effects from theater organs, sound effects from the file system, and other not-yet-imagined easter eggs are all possible with this particular project. Having artifacts as surprise inputs to the sound system should entertain and engage participants.

It was suggested to have the controls change over time to provide surprises and variety throughout the burn.

Michael suggested making a false floor to hide the parts of the organ that become difficult to "make pretty".

Abraxas relayed the proposal of a sawdust-fed 3D printer that would "poop out" burner's 3D projects. A participant would come to the booth and drive the 3D printer with controls. The sawdust and glue would be heated and pushed through a nozzle. Participants could keep their projects (once they cooled).

Brandie discussed colab updates, and stated that Sol Diego was definitely able to get space. Rent was unknown at this time, but expected to be on the order of $250/month or lower.

Jessica announced that she was not going to be able to continue as Project Lead, but wanted to remain involved and help in any way possible. Brandie accepted the Project Lead position. Abraxas agreed to continue as Organ Donor lead.

Jessica was recognized and thanked for her substantial and meaningful leadership for 2014 CORE. Without her efforts to team-build, create momentum, successfully outreach, schedule meetings, publicize and organize, this project would simply not exist at the level it currently does. The project will greatly benefit from her continued involvement, and we will all do our best to live up to her expectations and trust. Alpy, Fin, and Andrew have also all been key members in these early and critical stages and certainly deserve recognition.

Following the main meeting, those interested in LEDs (Cliff, Andrew, Jessica, Paul, Abraxaas, Jeff, and Kerrin) examined the LED strands, discussed issues with the controller from last year, and agreed to meet in the near future to repair the 9 damaged strands and start work on code design for the 2014 project(s). In the case that LEDs are not a part of the souk market, then another Sol Diego project can be supported. There are 40 24' strands with approximately 16 programmable LEDs per strand. This is a substantial number of lights that can be deployed for minimal additional cost. Paul reported that he had a number of LED strands of the same make and model from Caroushell that could be added to the supply.