Sol Diego

Burning Man Art Collective

Meeting Minutes 10 June 2014 Sol Diego Nexus/Synapse Redirection

Sol Diego Direction 10 June 2014

7:00 - 10:00pm at colab


Synapse Postponement Decision updates in emphasized text

At the 10 June 2014 Sol Diego Board Meeting, a decision was made for Synapse to no longer be targeted for this year's (2014) Burning Man.

Donating Synapse to Temple

The decision about whether or not to donate existing work to this year's (2014) temple at YouTopia was discussed, but a final decision was not made. The YouTopia Temple Team recently saw the Synapse gazebo floor, and said that they liked it as a template for the Temple design. Therefore, donating the work to the Temple team would make sense. The work product could be re-used, the expenditures would be repaid (to Sol Diego by YouTopia), and the possibility that Organ Donor could then be located in the Temple at YouTopia was raised.

Discussions with Temple Team about donating the work products of Synapse are scheduled to occur in the near future. (Temple Team received the donation with enthusiasm and plans to build the Temple using Synapse as a base)

Including Organ Donor in the Temple at YouTopia is advantageous for two reasons. Highly desired feedback on the design could be gathered, and two months are added to the schedule. Some members of Sol Diego Board described including Organ Donor in the Temple as highly likely.

There are two clear disadvantages to bringing Organ Donor to YouTopia. First, it will not burn there. Second, in the past, YouTopia has had a very high level of sound. Assuming Temple placement in the center of activity, having an acoustic instrument competing with sound camps results in the acoustic instrument losing out. Further discussion with Temple Team is necessary to determine if this could work.

Organ Donor team is currently evaluating whether to bring Organ Donor to the playa as a standalone project, as part of yet another project, bring it to YouTopia, or simply change the target to 2015 Burning Man as a larger standalone project or as part of another as-yet undetermined 2015 Burning Man project.

Background on Synapse Postponement Decision

The decision was arrived at after substantial discussion. With continuing blanks-instead-of-names for key leadership roles such as LNT Lead and Burn Lead, with the major postponement of the expected Kickstarter video recording, and with the less-than-expected turnout at build events at colab, Brandie proposed a postponement of Synapse in order to focus on community building and improved artistic definition of Sol Diego projects. There were several root causes for the proposed postponement. Primarily at fault was a compressed schedule due to Burning Man Organization (BORG) delays in defining changes to CORE. Drastic changes to the scope, nature, and schedule of the CORE project caused loss of momentum and loss of trust. Specifically, the CORE projects were replaced with what came to be called The Souk Project, and guidelines not published until late May 2014. Jessica, CORE lead pro tem, wasn't widely known in the community and she took on the project lead job in order to get the CORE effort off the ground for 2014. She was enthusiastic about the project concepts. She stepped down in January 2014.

Brandie, who took over as CORE project lead in January 2014, was well known and widely regarded. She was not entirely enthusiastic about the project concept, which changed due to announcements from BORG, and had hoped her proposal would spark other proposals the community could rally behind.

This was not the recipe for rounding up extra people in order to do something hard.

Members of the community, with Sol Diego organizational support, took up the Souk project. The Souk largely replaced CORE, but didn't engage previous teams in the same ways. Those interested in a large installation began work on Synapse.

Attempts to get an art grant for Synapse as an open playa project were unsuccessful. While a budget had been established, and funds were on hand, the lack of a grant reduced the amount of money available. Attempts to have work parties at colab were partially successful, with an average of 6-8 people per Sunday session. Progress was made, but this level of participation was deemed insufficient to continue.


We failed to recover from these adversities that were thrown our way. We did not fail in remedying the situation with a postponement, but we feel very disappointed in the outcome, and acknowledge any and all unhappiness in the community that may result from the redirection of energies to YouTopia 2014 and Burning Man 2015.

We started out behind the 8 ball in 2014 with a substantial number of key people deciding they didn't have the energy to do it this year. We didn't muster the extra enthusiasm that it would take to overcome the 2013 burnout. If we had a fully thought out art project and a wildly enthusiastic lead we would have had a better chance, but we didn't have that.

What we do have is a realization that a fully thought out art project and enthusiastic leads are what we need. What we need to achieve these two things in more time than we have before Burning Man 2014. By postponing large-scale art project participation to YouTopia 2014 and Burning Man 2015, we will get the time we need to build community, work on art installation concepts, and become a successful community of artists.

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