Sol Diego

Burning Man Art Collective

Meeting Minutes 21 February 2015

Sol Diego Arts Collaborative "Your Two Cents" Meeting

Two More Cents Banner Image

21 February 2015 12:00pm – 3:00pm


Part 1: Update on Past Projects and Identification of Proposed Projects and Directions for 2015

Brandie Maddelena opened the meeting by sharing the Sol Diego mission statement.

"San Diego region is the home of Sol Diego. Sol Diego is an art collaborative, whose mission is to fortify the San Diego Regional Burning Man community through art making, by utilizing, sharing and developing the unique skills of its members while following the Ten Principles of Burning Man.

Sol Diego achieves its mission by:

• Annually, creating a large-scale, interactive installation to represent the San Diego region at the Burning Man festival through CORE (Circle of Regional Effigies) project or as an independent art project.

• Outreaching within the San Diego Regional Burning Man community, to recruit new members and enrich our culture, through events such as YouTopia and Figment.

• Developing outreach to the greater San Diego community."

Past Projects

Brandie reviewed the history of Sol Diego with photographs of each of the major past and current projects.

2011 Quemaduras del Sol (CORE, burned)

2012 CarouShell (CORE, burned)

2013 Starfish (CORE burned)

2014 Souk (CORE, assisted by Sol Diego)

2014 Organ Donor (Sol Diego, ongoing)

2014 Isis Pyramid (Sol Diego, ongoing)

2014 YouTopia Temple (Sol Diego)

2014 Clay for Clay (Sol Diego, permanent structure)

Some of the aspects of the past and ongoing projects included climbability, programmable sequences of LED lighting, ambient sound effects, stained glass, modular structures, EL wire animation, CNC router laminated construction techniques, structures engineered to spin, large size, burn engineering, and artificial intelligence. All projects emphasize community building through construction.

Sol Diego shared the good news that the Isis Pyramid (David Timms as lead) has not only been selected as a Lucidity Festival structure, but it has been selected as the Temple for Lucidity. Volunteers to complete painting, upgrade and renovate the structure, and add to the LED lighting system were successfully recruited. The LED lighting meeting was scheduled for Thursday 26 February 2015. Paint sessions to be scheduled in the very near future. A number of tickets to Lucidity are available for volunteers. A subsidy from Lucidity has been offered, and negotiations are continuing in order to ensure that the structure can appear in excellent shape.

Sol Diego described the success of Organ Donor (Abraxas as lead), the interactive artificially intelligent pipe organ project, in its demonstrations at YouTopia 2014, Borrego Days 2014, and STEAM Fest 2015. Future demonstrations are anticipated and work continues on refining and developing Organ Donor Opus 1.

Sol Diego described the successful completion of the mosaic tile wall at Clay Park. This permanent structure, Clay for Clay (Brandie Maddelena as lead) was an example of engaging community art, with neighborhood children involved in hand-making photo tiles, hand-glazing, and hand-firing them in a kiln. Sol Diego membership provided support, labor, and expertise in navigating all of the requirements to install a permanent structure for the community in Clay Park.

The Colaser ( was highlighted as a community resource, with examples shown of some of the art produced on the laser cutter.

Sol Diego is committed to building community through large art. In many cases, the artifact is burned or temporary. The relationships that remain are the art.

Sol Diego assists members of the community that need help. We work hard, play hard, and take care of our own.

Possible Projects for 2015

2015 participate in FIGMENT art festival

2015 build a Burning Man 2015 Open Playa Project

2015 Assist Midway regional project effort

2015 investigate possible collaboration with RAW Space downtown for possible installation gallery exhibitions

2015 continue successful affiliation with New School of Architecture students

2015 approach additional schools to establish mutually beneficial relationships

2015 deepen existing partnerships with the maker community

2015 YouTopia Temple

2015 increase our media exposure

RAW Space downtown, in the Spreckels Theater Building, is former USO space that has been donated to ContactArts, our fiscal agent for 501(c3) status. This is a remarkable opportunity to have a performing arts space and an installation gallery. A large amount of work needs to be done to bring the space, almost completely unused for 60 years, up to current standards. This work is ongoing and provides an opportunity for Sol Diegans to add highly accessible performing arts and gallery space to San Diego that is very friendly to our particular style of art.

Find RAW Space on FaceBook at

Temple for YouTopia 2015 will most likely be a Sol Diego project. The New School of Architecture will be invited to participate in the design and build in order to continue the successful liaison with the students.

We expect to be interviewed for City Beat for an article in the mid-term future.

The possibility of an open playa project for 2015 Burning Man was discussed. In order to make this happen, a fundraising lead and events coordination lead are being sought. Venue, vendors, and performers have been identified.

A question from the attendees concerning transparency was asked. Past projects don't have a detailed accounting, but future projects will definitely have a transparent and standardized financial reporting process. The stated goal was to provide updated, transparent financial reports in order to show the community what any and all donated funds were being used for.

An attendee described Greanpeace's fundraising website, where one could "buy" part of a boat.

Details here:

This was a very successful campaign, and Sol Diego could indeed use this strategy for future fundraising efforts.

Another attendee recommended using the registry at Home Depot. This allows donors to pick and choose what they would most like to purchase for a project.

Part 2: Open Playa Project Brainstorming

Cat Toy

Lana opened the brainstorming session with a short video of a spiral structure spinning. Her project proposal involves building a structure that spins in the form of a DNA double helix. The theme of DNA is a strong one for our region because of the large research and development biotech community. The meeting dubbed this project "Cat Toy" because it was inspired by cats causing a toy to spin.

Quake House

Mark re-introduced his earthquake simulator proposal from 2014 pre-CORE-turned-Souk. He demonstrated a small model on springs that would shake when people outside the house rock it back and forth. He envisions many groups and individuals working to furnish the house with artifacts, dioramas, and other gadgets, doodads, and decorations that make noise or animate when shaken or tipped. Anything resettable, funny, or playful would qualify. Examples such as teasets that all tip over and then right themselves, chandeliers that wildly swing, toys that tip over, items on springs, automatons that respond to vibration, and so on. With some work, packets or kits can be distributed to many groups and individuals, and they can contribute to the decoration of the inside of Quake House. This offers a large opportunity for community building through distributed artworks, all culminating in a single installation.

The house can be LED lit, can have musical items, and can have all sorts of optical illusions based on motion built in. While the construction of a small cabin-type structure isn't hard, the real challenge is getting wide-ranging participation in the process of building decorations and gizmos for the house.

A Richter scale with wireless sensor was suggested, in order to quantify the shaking going on.

Preliminary Consensus

With the caveat that more ideas will be sought over the next 1-2 weeks in the community, the general consensus was that Sol Diego should pursue the Quake House proposal as the Open Playa Project. All participant ideas are greatly appreciated, and many ideas that might not be built one year, may be successful another.

Part 3: Discussion of the Midway

Burning Man Organization has established a performing arts area in and around the base of The Man. This year, the theme of Carnival of Mirrors has produced the concept of a Midway, with carnival grifters being transformed into burner gifters.

Ideas for Midway experiences as described by Boone would hinge upon small, contained, simple arcade games.

Scaled-up Lite Brite with big LED-clad pegs

Connect 4

Sit and Spin


Etch a Sketch

4 player 3D connect 4 with LED cubes as play space

3D snake controlled by drums. Drum circle drives the snake towards either goals or each other.

Simon Says


Claw arcade game where a burning man ticket seems to be unattainable prize

Jasmine, Boone, Bob, Arash, Kristin expressed strong interest. Sol Diego supports their efforts and will assist with helping them build a successful Midway installation. Brandie suggested contacting community members that are in the circus, as they would be a natural fit for this theme.

Directed tickets and art grants are already closed for 2015. While tickets will be available through additional small sales and STEP, there are no guaranteed tickets for Burning Man 2015 in relation to any of these projects.

Action items:

Post about Quake House (Abraxas, Jasmine, et al)

Define packet for Quake House gizmos (Abraxas, Mark)

A meeting at the conclusion of a short period for public comment was strongly recommended (Brandie to schedule)

Announcement of this meeting to be done before the Town Hall on 1 March (Brandie)

Places to be updated Very Soon with all sorts of Sol Diego goodness:!forum/sol-diego-san-diegos-core-project

And remember; don't "wash" the sausage while it's being made.